Eurasian Association plans more help for the needy

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam with Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Joan Pereira and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher De Souza, at the Eurasian Association's fund-raising dinner last night.
Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam with Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Joan Pereira and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher De Souza, at the Eurasian Association's fund-raising dinner last night. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Group raises $500k for education, family support schemes, as it marks centenary

While membership has doubled over the past two decades, it is still a challenge for the Eurasian Association (EA) to recruit younger folk, said its president Alexius Pereira.

He told The Sunday Times last night at a charity fund-raising dinner for the association that it plans to do more for the vulnerable in the Eurasian community and expand its charity programmes.

"Many of our events and programmes are organised by our members who give their time to help the community. So we do hope more come on board," he said.

The association has 2,000 Eurasian members and about 600 non-Eurasian associate members.

Its fund-raising dinner at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach drew 290 guests and raised $500,000.

The proceeds will go to the EA's family support and education programmes targeted at helping the underprivileged, including students, families at risk and the elderly.

The association, which was launched in 1919 and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, was recognised by the Government in 1994 as a self-help group for the local Eurasian community.

It provides aid to students through scholarships, bursaries and mentorship programmes.

Dr Pereira said that while the association could help only about 25 students a year in the 1990s, it now assists about 2,000 annually.

It also has family support services that help disadvantaged families with financial assistance and enrichment programmes.

The EA also works towards preserving and raising awareness of Eurasian heritage and traditions.

The EA has several activities lined up to mark its centenary.

One is the Eurasian Festival at Our Tampines Hub on July 27, which will feature a cultural exhibition, traditional handicrafts and Eurasian cuisine and dances.

In September, the revamped Eurasian Heritage Gallery will open at the Eurasian Community House in Ceylon Road. The EA will also launch an official coffee table book in October documenting its history and milestones.

Eurasians are of mixed European and Asian descent and have been in South-east Asia for 500 years. They are typically descendants from countries such as Portugal, Holland and Britain. There were about 8,000 here before World War II and about 17,000 now.

While the Eurasian community may be one of the smallest ethnic groups here, it has contributed to building Singapore's identity, as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam noted at the charity dinner.

He said: "Indeed, the Eurasians have made an outsized contribution to Singapore, both before and after independence."

Prominent Eurasians include Singapore's second president, Dr Benjamin Sheares; Justice Judith Prakash, the first woman appointed as a Judge of Appeal; Mr E.W. Barker, the country's first law minister; jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro; and swimmer Joseph Schooling.

Secondary school teacher Hannah Hendriks, 26, joined the EA in 2012 because she wanted to be involved with the Eurasian community.

"Youth involvement is essential to the health of the community... It ensures a new generation will carry on the wonderful programmes to better serve the Eurasians."


Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'Eurasian Association plans more help for the needy'. Print Edition | Subscribe