Mother tongue plays crucial role in anchoring Singaporean identity, says Alvin Tan

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan addressing the winners at a Tamil short film competition on Dec 17, 2020. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Mother tongue languages play a crucial role in anchoring Singaporean identity and strengthening community bonds, forming a common thread which 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, said Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan in an address aired online.

Mr Tan's address was given at a prize-giving for Singai Tamil Sangam's micro-short-film-making competition. The ceremony was recorded on Thursday (Dec 17) and streamed over Facebook Live and YouTube on Sunday 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 in the Tamil Language Festival which ran virtually from Nov 28 to Sunday.

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, the 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."

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