Mother tongue crucial in anchoring Singaporean identity: Alvin Tan

Minister of State Alvin Tan lighting candles at Singai Tamil Sangam's prize-giving ceremony at Pek Kio Community Centre last Thursday. With him are (from left) Singai Tamil Sangam's vice-presidents Indra Krishnan and K. Karthikeyan, president Viji Ja
Minister of State Alvin Tan lighting candles at Singai Tamil Sangam's prize-giving ceremony at Pek Kio Community Centre last Thursday. With him are (from left) Singai Tamil Sangam's vice-presidents Indra Krishnan and K. Karthikeyan, president Viji Jagadeesh and Pek Kio CC Indian Activities Executive Committee vice-chairman Bhanumathi Ramachandra.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Mother tongue languages play a crucial role in anchoring the Singaporean identity and strengthening community bonds, forming a common thread that binds earlier generations with future ones.

For this reason, organisations like the Tamil Language Council (TLC) and Singai Tamil Sangam are important in the nation-building journey, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said in an address aired online.

His address was delivered at a prize-giving ceremony for Singai Tamil Sangam's micro-short film competition. The ceremony was recorded last Thursday and streamed over Facebook Live and YouTube yesterday evening.

"I am encouraged to see our community organisations coming together, working in partnership with the council, to explore new ways to present the programmes in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This truly reflects our collective ability to adapt and carry on with community engagement in the new normal," said Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

"I wish to thank the council, Singai Tamil Sangam and partners for your continued partnership and efforts in curating exciting programmes for our youth. I have no doubt your efforts will spark interest in the Tamil language, and promote the traditional Tamil arts and culture in Singapore."

The competition was one of 25 programmes at the Tamil Language Festival, which ran from Nov 28 until yesterday.

Spearheaded by the TLC, the virtual festival was open to people of all ages and promoted the language in Singapore. The council has organised the festival since 2007 with partner organisations.

For this competition, participants were presented with the challenge of producing micro-short films based on given topics, such as Tamil proverbs and texts from the Tamil literature classic Tirukkural.

Said Mr Tan: "This exciting task not only encourages our young participants to practise the language but also deepens their appreciation for the Tamil language, arts and culture through film-making. This is indeed a great way to ignite interest and impart our heritage, language and cultural values to our children and youth."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2020, with the headline 'Mother tongue crucial in anchoring S'porean identity: Alvin Tan'. Print Edition | Subscribe