20 July 2014

Punggol North Racial Harmony Street Parade cum Carnival 2014 at Punggol Field – Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, Grassroots Adviser to Pasir Ris – Punggol GROs, MP For Pasir Punggol GRC, Mr Teo Chee Hean

Host Adviser Ms Penny Low

Fellow Grassroots Advisers

Mr Teo Ser Luck

Dr Janil Puthucheary

Mr Zainal Sapari

Mr Gan Thiam Poh

Mr Ang Wei Neng

Er. Dr. Lee Bee Wah

Organising Chairman, Mr David Chian, and Committee members

Distinguished Guests,

Religious Leaders,

Grassroots Leaders and

          Good afternoon.
I am very happy to see all of you here at the Punggol North Racial & Religious Harmony Street Parade 2014!

2       It has been 10 years since the first Street Parade was held in Punggol North. Each year, residents have been entertained by the heart-warming performances put up by their neighbours, children, and friends. Today, the Street Parade has grown to 19 contingents, which involve not only our residents, students from our schools and ITE East and Central, and many more Singaporeans.

3      The theme for this year’s Parade is “wedding and ethnic celebrations”. These are happy occasions, where we gather with family and friends, and strengthen our social bonds. It is also meaningful to have our residents wear the ethnic costumes of the different races in Singapore in the Parade, as we gather as one community to celebrate the racial harmony that we have enjoyed for many decades. The colourful costumes are a good reminder of the rich cultural diversity that we enjoy in Singapore. We celebrate diversity, and respect the culture and practices of other races. At the same time, we focus on what we have in common, rather than what is different. This is how we remain united as one people, regardless of race, language or religion.

4     As we build up our national identity and spirit, Singaporeans also enjoy travelling and making friends with people from other countries. Singapore, too, has good relations with its neighbours in the region, as well as other countries around the world. Today, we also have residents wearing costumes from other countries, including Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. They help to add further colour and vibrancy to our Parade today, and to our society.

5     As we celebrate Racial Harmony Day on 21 July each year, it is a good reminder for us never to take for granted the peace and harmony we enjoy in Singapore. Some of us here today would have experienced the racial riots in the 1960s, and remember how lives were lost, homes and property were destroyed, and our social fabric was severely weakened.
We must all work hard to strengthen our community bonds, so that we can enjoy many more years of peace and stability in Singapore.

6     Thank you, Punggol North residents, for inviting me and my fellow Grassroots Advisers to join in your festivities today. We also appreciate the presence and participation of our Muslim friends, even during this Ramadan month. We wish all our Muslim friends a peaceful and blessed month of Ramadan, and Selamat Hari Raya. I wish everyone and your families an enjoyable afternoon at the Parade, as you take part in the many different activities here today.

7     Thank you!