SINGAPORE - Amid the photographs of scenic landscapes lay a sombre message from Singapore's Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who launched a fundraising photo exhibition featuring works by him at Far East Plaza on Thursday (Jan 31).
Titled Our Place in the World, Mr Tan hopes to use the event, held in partnership with Hope Initiative Alliance, arts @ work, Far East Organization and Far East Plaza, to help raise money for the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised communities here.
All proceeds - so far $600,000 has been raised - will go towards 13 partnering charities, including The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF), Care Corner Singapore, Centre for Fathering, HealthServe and The Turning Point, among others.
At a separate event, NTUC FairPrice announced it had donated $38,000 to aid the beneficiaries of STSPMF.
Mr Tan, whose exhibition showcases images during his travels over the last 20 years in countries such as Japan, Bolivia and Spain, said: "I realise just how much we have in common as a human race around the world. We may all have different roots, different journeys, different homes. But we do share a common humanity that ties everyone together. We are different, yet the same."
At the launch, which also served to mark Singapore's bicentennial year - the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore in 1819 - Far East Organization also announced it will set up the FEO-Grant SG 200 and will donate $2 million to it.
About $500,000 will subsidise the organising of charitable events at Far East Plaza to commemorate the bicentennial while from the remaining $1.5 million, the grant will give a matching fund of up to $100,000 to funds raised for charities and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs).
Far East Organization executive director Dorothy Chan said: "To achieve a multiplier effect, we are working with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and SG Cares to invite other agencies and organisations to provide some form of matching sum so as to spur the fundraising efforts of the charities during the bicentennial commemoration."
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who was the guest of honour, noted: "The Government has done more to support social mobility and integration, and build a more inclusive society. But we in the community - businesses, VWOs, private individuals - also have a responsibility to contribute.
"By stepping up to help those around us, we build a kinder, gentler, more gracious Singapore."
The display at Far East Plaza Level 2 Concourse will be open to the public from Feb 1-28.
The public can support the efforts through donations. They can receive a limited-edition exclusive metal print for a $10,000 donation, a premium photo book box set for a $5,000 donation, a special photo book box set for a $1,000 donation, or a postcard pack by giving $50.
Support the cause by visiting www.hia.sg/ourplaceintheworld for more information.