Hokkien Huay Kuan should keep up support of Chinese cultural activities

The Hokkien Huay Kuan has been a key pillar in the cultural milieu of Singapore. One of its main mission statements is to "preserve and promote Chinese language and Chinese culture", and it has been doing a commendable job.

One area of support has been in allowing regular taiji classes to be held at its Sennett Road premises for the past four years through the closely affiliated Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre (now called Singapore Chinese Dance Theatre).

However, it is disappointing to note that it recently decided to stop these classes. This would allow the premises to be rented out instead to organisations that can afford to pay higher rents for other activities. These include rentals to international schools for students to attend ballet classes, activities which have nothing to do with Chinese culture.

To aggravate matters, the association decided to stop the taiji classes with no notice, despite already having accepted payment for the new term next year, leaving students no time to find alternative venues nearby.

I hope the Hokkien Huay Kuan, as a non-profit cultural foundation, can put its mission at the forefront of its strategy and continue to support Chinese cultural activities and not let short-term gains cloud its long-term aspirations.

It will also help provide opportunities for all, helping to reduce inequality for Singaporeans by preventing a situation where only the affluent and activities favoured by the affluent are allowed.

Jeremy Teo Chin Ghee (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'Hokkien Huay Kuan should keep up support of Chinese cultural activities'. Print Edition | Subscribe