Opening Remarks by Minister Indranee Rajah at Celebrating Our Grands: A Song From Me To You 2022
Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development
Mr Ishak Ismail, Chairman of Families for Life Council
Mr Kho Choon Keng, President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI)
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a wonderful afternoon to be here with you all. When you are here at SCCCI, you really feel the weight of history. The Chamber was founded in 1906 and it has such a long history in association with Singapore. It is also closely linked to many of our families in Singapore.
When I was giving out the Pioneer Generation card during SG50 celebrations, one of the gentlemen I gave the card to was actually the great great-grandson of Mr Kim Tian. That is, Kim Tian of Kim Tian road. The Kim Tian family was still living near and around Kim Tian road. The original Kim Tian was a ship chandler, so he had been doing business here in Singapore.
Another family associated with the Tiong Bahru area that I look after, is the Tan Tock Seng family; not Tan Tock Seng himself, but his grandsons who were businessmen. Around that same time, the entire Tan clan had come back to Singapore together at the Tiong Bahru area. All the businessmen and businesses that came to Singapore in those early years, they settled here. They set up families; their families are part and parcel of our history and our nation. They are not only part of our past, but part of our future.
And that is why today’s event is so meaningful, with a song from me to you to grandparents, because if you think about it, our grandparents would have arrived at a point in life where they have done what they need to do for their careers. They are at a time when they can sit back, relax, enjoy things, hopefully a little bit more. And actually, the thing that they most look forward to, is time with their children and their grandchildren. If you look at it from their perspective, we, who are their children and their grandchildren, are actually their greatest legacy to Singapore, which is why this event is very meaningful, and I’m very glad to be part of it.
It also brings me to the topic of families, because here in Singapore, we see families as part of our social structure. It is families that anchor us, it is families that give us our sense of belonging. Families are the ones that we work for. But why do you go to work and work so hard? Why do you do what you do? It is not only for yourself, it is for your families - whether it is for your parents, your wife, your children or your husband. It is for the people who we feel that we belong to. And for that reason, we want to make sure that families are well supported, and that Singapore can be a place where families can grow and flourish. Not to mention, of course, that our total fertility rate could do with some improving. And that is why the Ministry of Social and Family Development has designated this year as the Year of Celebrating Families, to let families know how important they are, and hopefully to signal to families to appreciate one another.
The Forward Singapore exercise was launched recently by DPM Lawrence Wong. Forward Singapore looks to see how in today’s environment, which is uncertain, and coming out of a pandemic, how we can secure our future for ourselves, and most importantly, how do we refresh our social compact. A social compact by its nature, is what we promise to each other. It is what every Singaporean is saying we will do with each other. So it is not just the Government doing it alone, it is the Government with Singaporeans, and hopefully Singaporeans with other Singaporeans as well.
There are six pillars, Equip which is about education. Empower, is about jobs and the economy. Unite, is about Singapore’s identity. Stewardship, looks at sustainability, fiscal and environmental sustainability. Build, is about how we are going to build our homes and our city, and there is Care. Under the Care pillar, we are looking at various things, but one very important part of the Care pillar is families. So we are going to be looking to see how we can support families better, how we can make sure that as a whole society, we can strengthen families and provide them with a sense that Singapore is a great place to raise children, bring up families, where children are supported, families are supported, and no one is left behind.
That is why we have the brand mark “Made For Families”, because we want Singapore to truly be a place that is Made For Families where the whole of society works together to make sure that our families grow and flourish.
With that, once again, thank you for inviting me to be part of this event. Very happy to be here and I look forward to seeing the performances. Thank you very much!