5,000 overseas Singaporeans pay tribute to our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew at Singapore Day 2015
On 11 April, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu joined about 5,000 Singaporeans in Century Park, Shanghai for Singapore Day 2015. The event was an emotional reunion for Singaporeans in China who paid tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his contributions to Singapore. It was also an occasion for our overseas Singaporean to mark our nation’s achievements over the past 50 years and look forward to the future.
“I am heartened to see how our overseas Singaporeans, here in China and around the world, have rallied together to pay tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding Prime Minister. More than 5,400 overseas Singaporeans came together to hold heartfelt memorial events in 36 cities. Mr Lee’s passing has brought us all closer together as a nation. Let us hold fast to this spirit of unity and resilience as we work together to build on Mr Lee’s legacy”, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
DPM Teo also led all those present at the event to observe a minute of silence to the passing of Mr Lee. At the Remembering Lee Kuan Yew Marquee, attendees penned about 2,000 tribute messages, in memory of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
In a special concert, Singaporean artistes including Dick Lee, Tay Kewei, Li Weisong, Li Sisong and Rahimah Rahim gave tribute song performances. This was followed by a sing-along of a medley of familiar national songs. The concert ended with a poignant recitation of the National Pledge and singing of the National Anthem.
Singapore Day 2015 also provided an opportunity for Singaporeans abroad to network and update themselves on developments in Singapore. Participants enjoyed the familiar sights, sounds and smells of home as they walked through iconic landmarks such as Boat Quay, Asian Civilisation Museum and the Fullerton and tucked into their favourite hawker food such as Nasi Lemak, Indian Rojak and fried carrot cake. Attendees were also treated to a photojournalistic exhibition along a mock-up of the Singapore River, which featured 55 photographs of significant events or quirky moments that made headlines in Singapore from 1965 to 2015.
As Singapore celebrates SG50 this year, our overseas Singaporeans penned their good wishes for Singapore, and participated in interactive activities such as “Portraits of our People” and the “SG Heartmap”.
At an MOE STELLAR (Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading) lesson, Minister Grace Fu shared stories about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his contributions to Singapore in building a harmonious multi-racial society. The class was attended by overseas Singaporean children aged 5 to 12, together with their parents. Emphasising the important role played by overseas Singaporean parents in keeping their children connected to Singapore, Minister Fu said, “As Singaporeans, it is important to pass on the values of our founding fathers, to our children and future generations. It is even more important for Singaporean families who are living overseas to impart these values to your children. This would enable them to be more aware of our past, remain connected to Singapore and have a strong sense of national identity.”
This year’s Singapore Day also saw the strong involvement of overseas Singaporeans. About 130 overseas Singaporeans in China played an active part as volunteers, helping to man the tribute marquee, manage admission and usher participants. Their involvement reflected a strong Singapore spirit, and contributed meaningfully to the success of the event.
One of the volunteers, Nicholas Tan, said “After living in China for more than 10 years, I now realise how fortunate we are as Singaporeans. We are highly respected not just in China, but also in other countries around Asia. Singapore means a whole lot to me. It’s still a place I called home. Without this beautiful country and all it has achieved, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am deeply grateful for what my country has done. Singapore Day to me is filled with Food, Friends and Fun. It is a day that unites us Singaporeans. We come together to celebrate, indulge in our favourite foods and catch up on what is happening back home. No other country does this type of event for their citizens abroad, at least not at this scale. Hence, we are definitely thankful to be able to enjoy this experience. I have always volunteered my services to the Singapore community, and being able to do something for a fellow Singaporean is my key motivation.”
Background on Singapore Day
Singapore Day is a collaborative effort by the Overseas Singaporean Unit and its partners from the public, people and private sectors. It is held annually in major cities where there are a significant number of Singaporeans. Singapore Day 2015 is the eighth instalment of the event, which was previously held in New York (2007, 2012), Melbourne (2008), Sydney (2013), London (2009, 2014) and Shanghai (2011). This is the second time that Singapore Day is held in Shanghai. More details on Singapore Day 2014 can be found on www.SingaporeDay.sg and www.fb.com/SingaporeDay.