Sikhs have long tradition of serving community, says Singapore PM

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| Singapore | 28 Nov 2015 | Asia Samachar | 
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong snapping photographs of a bhangra performace at a dinner with the Sikh community on 28 Nov 2015 - PHOTO./ASIASAMACHAR
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong snapping photographs of a bhangra performace at a dinner with the Sikh community on 28 Nov 2015 – PHOTO./ASIASAMACHAR

Sikhs have a long tradition of serving the community, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“In the early days, you provided free food and shelter to travellers and new arrivals in the langar halls of Gurdwaras. The tradition has endured throughout the years,” he said in a speech at a dinner with the Sikh community today (27 Nov 2015).

He noted that Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road ‘serves the most number of meals, close to 7,000 meals’.

At the event, Lee launched a book entitled Singapore At 50 – 50 Sikhs and Their Contributions book, featuring 50 Sikhs to document the Sikh’s contribution to the community.

It also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Singapore Sikh Education Fund (SSEF) which administrates Punjabi as a second language in Singapore.

“Today, Sikhs are making contributions in many fields. Whether it is academia, business, civil service, education, judiciary, law, medicine, politics, sports, uniformed services and other professions, Sikhs are amongst the leadership,” he said in his speech.

Among those mentioned in his speech were Surjit Singh Wasan who chaired the Sikh Advisory Board for three terms and Gurdial Kaur who was awarded the President’s Award for Teachers for three consecutive years between 2012-2014.

Lee said in line with Singapore’s ‘consistent support for the community, we will look positively at the Sikh community’s growing needs to see what how we can be helpful’.

The newly launched book was published by the Young Sikh Association, Singapore (YSA).

PM Lee taking a group photograph with Sikhs featured in the Singapore At 50 - 50 Sikhs And Their Contributions, along with the panel of reviewers. - PHOTO/ASIASAMACHAR
PM Lee taking a group photograph with Sikhs featured in the Singapore At 50 – 50 Sikhs And Their Contributions, along with the panel of reviewers. – PHOTO/ASIASAMACHAR

The publication, which has received funding from the SG50 Celebration Fund, honours 50 notable Sikhs who have contributed to Singapore’s development and nation-building across various fields.

The 50 Sikhs have been selected from about 250 nominations by an independent panel chaired by Yale-NUS College executive vice president for academic affairs Prof Tan Tai Yong.

With this being Lee’s first visit to the Sikh community after nearly nine years and with the dinner marking one of the last SG50 celebration events for the year, this is truly a landmark occasion for a minority community and for the nation, noted the organisers.

“By gracing the Sikh community with his presence, Mr. Lee is honouring a minority community in Singapore for their contributions and achievements. This is testimony to the meritocratic and multiracial system of Singapore, which the event celebrates in this momentous year,” according to a statement by the organising team.

At the dinner, SSEF also  honoured its teachers and staff who have been with the organisation since its inception.

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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