Singapore embassy organises charity bazaar to build school dorm in Chongqing

Singapore's Ambassador to China Stanley Loh (second from left) accompanying Deputy Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office Liu Jianchao (centre) and Chongqing Vice-Mayor Pan Yiqin (in grey) at the charity bazaar at the Singapore Emb
Singapore's Ambassador to China Stanley Loh (second from left) accompanying Deputy Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office Liu Jianchao (centre) and Chongqing Vice-Mayor Pan Yiqin (in grey) at the charity bazaar at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing, on Oct 12, 2019.PHOTO: SINGAPORE EMBASSY IN CHINA

BEIJING - Laksa, chicken rice and durians all played a part in a charity bazaar on the grounds of the Singapore Embassy in the Chinese capital on Saturday (Oct 12).

Merchants gathered by the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (SingCham) sold these Singaporean favourites to raise funds to build a dormitory for a primary school in Chongqing.

The bazaar is the first in a series of events to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China next year.

Ambassador Stanley Loh said the embassy and its four Consulates-General in the country, as well as SingCham, are working with the Chinese central and local governments in the building project as part of China's poverty alleviation drive.

Describing the national poverty reduction effort as "a miracle", he said: "I've not seen any other country in the world that has achieved such tremendous success, but it also shows that China's leadership truly cares about the well-being of its people."

He added: "We're happy to play a very small role in contributing to that."

China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty and aims to eradicate it by next year.

The school, Anzi Town Primary School, is located in the remote mountains of Pengshui, one of the poorest counties in Chongqing.

A quarter of its students spend at least four hours travelling back and forth from school each day, and have to forego extracurricular classes in order to reach home before night falls.


Children in a classroom in Anzi Town Primary School. PHOTO: SINGAPORE EMBASSY IN CHINA

Funds raised through the bazaar and other means will go to building a dormitory for these students.

The embassy also partnered with SingCham and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation five years ago to build three hostels for primary schools in Ludian County in Yunnan.

The county was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2014 that killed more than 600 people.

SingCham chairperson Dorothy Seet said she hopes to raise 5 million yuan (S$968,650) through Singapore companies and business people for the new project. SingCham had helped raise 3.7 million yuan for the Ludian schools.

On Monday (Oct 14), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will also travel to Chongqing for the 15th China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation Meeting, his first as co-chair.

His counterpart is Chinese vice premier Han Zheng. The two sides will discuss existing and new collaborative projects and are expected to ink several deals.