Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan marks 180th anniversary with $1.8m donation to SIT

SIT president Tan Thiam Soon (right) receiving the cheque from SHHK president Tan Cheng Gay in the presence of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. With them are (from left) former SHHK president Chua Thian Poh and Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) has donated $1.8 million to the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to support the university's new campus in the upcoming Punggol Digital District.

The clan association's president Tan Cheng Gay presented a cheque on Sunday (Nov 15) to the SIT president, Professor Tan Thiam Soon, during an event to celebrate the SHHK's 180th anniversary.

Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Tan said the donation, made through the clan association's Hokkien Foundation charity arm, is in line with the SHHK's philosophy of supporting the community and funding education since its founding.

Successive leaders of the clan association have always believed that "to have knowledge is to have the future", Mr Tan added.

In recognition of the donation, the SIT has named a lecture theatre at its current Dover campus after the clan association.

When its new Punggol campus opens in 2023, it will also unveil the "Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Collaboration Loop", a network of elevated pedestrian walkways and bridges connecting the university's academic blocks and other activity hubs.

During the event, which was held at the SHHK Cultural Academy and livestreamed on Facebook, the SHHK also announced that it will give support grants totalling $205,500 to 411 needy students, including seven children of SHHK staff and members and 404 students from its affiliated schools.

The students will each receive a $500 grant to help their families cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of the existing annual bursaries they are getting from the Hokkien Foundation.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the guest of honour at the event, also launched a commemorative book tracing the SHHK's 180-year history titled Transcending Centuries, a compilation of media articles and essays about the clan association and its associated entities.

Congratulating the SHHK on its anniversary, Mr Lee noted that the clan association has evolved together with Singapore over the years.

"To be able to adapt to the changing environment and keep the Huay Kuan thriving, that is an exceptional achievement," he said.

Mr Lee added that the SHHK has embraced Singapore's unique multiracial and multicultural identity by not only looking after Hokkien and Chinese Singaporeans but also providing support to Singaporeans of other races.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong also attended the event as a special guest.

Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, took over as chairman of the Chinese Community Liaison Group from Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung last Thursday.

The group is tasked with strengthening the Government's relationship with Chinese community organisations and deepening its understanding of the Chinese community.

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