SINGAPORE - The importance of harmony in the face of divisions is timely and a serious focus, in light of recent attacks in Britain, Brussels and the Philippines, said Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat.
"When differences threaten to divide us, we have to remember our common goals," he said. "We want our home to be a place offering good opportunities to all, to each achieve our personal aspirations and do our best for our loved ones, and a peaceful place, rich with genuine friendship and neighbourliness, where bonds of care and love help us over the bumps in the road."
The Finance Minister was at the launch of the Harmony Train at HarbourFront MRT station, on Monday morning (June 26).
A collaboration between Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society (THK) and the National Youth Council (NYC), the train has been decked out in decals with messages promoting racial and religious harmony, and will run along the North-East Line throughout the month of July - which is both Harmony Month and Youth Month.
Last year, Mr Heng had to miss the launch of the Harmony Truck, a roving truck which had reached out to some 45,000 people, after he suffered a stroke just a few days before the event.
Logos of more than 100 brands and businesses, including Eu Yan Sang and Ben & Jerry's have also been inscribed on the inside of the train cabins, as a pledge of their commitment to racial and religious harmony in Singapore.
Mr Lee Kim Siang, chairman of THK, said in a statement: "The train designs are a reflection of the diverse races we have and act as a reminder that this diversity has brought us together as one Singapore."
In addition to the Harmony Train, the Harmony Month of July will also include THK's annual Inter Racial Inter Religious Harmony Nite, and a mural painting session, which hopes to bring together local and international students by transforming the Youth Park's Red Bus into a colourful mural, representing Singapore's diverse mix of races, cultures and religions.