Enhanced cultural co-operation between Singapore and China

15/10/2007

Speech By Mr Lee Boon Yang, Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts, At The Singapore Season In China 2007 Singapore Evening On Friday, 12 October 2007 At 7:00pm At The China World Hotel, Beijing

Guest of Honour , Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore , Mr Wong Kan Seng
Senior Chinese government officials
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Good evening and a very warm welcome to all of you to the Singapore Evening.

2.     This gala dinner marks the opening of the Singapore Season in China. W e are delighted to present this month-long programme in Beijing and Shanghai for our Chinese friends to experience Singapore arts and culture as well as provide a platform for business networking.

China-Singapore Cultural Relations

3.    Singapore and China have a longstanding and fruitful relationship spanning economic, business, arts and culture, both at the government-to-government and people-to-people levels.

4.     On the cultural front, China has participated in many events in Singapore over the years. These include regular Chinese participation in the Singapore Arts Festival, the Huayi Festival and the Chingay Parades. Our museums and galleries also showcase Chinese artists regularly. For example the recent solo exhibition by internationally-acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist, Zeng Fanzhi at the Singapore Art Museum was highly successful. In general, I can say that the Singapore audience has high regards for China ’s rich arts and culture.

5.     Last year, cultural exchange between our two countries was elevated to a new level with the signing of the Singapore-China Cultural Agreement at the Joint Council on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) Meeting in Beijing . This significant milestone provides more opportunities for bilateral collaborations in areas such as the arts, heritage, library, media and the creative industries.

6.     The Singapore Season in China is an important follow-up of our enhanced cultural cooperation. It is presented in conjunction with two of China ’s most prestigious international arts events – the Beijing Music Festival and the China Shanghai International Arts Festival. Hence some of the Singapore Season’s programmes are collaborations such as the concert by Singapore Chinese Orchestra which will involve Beijing ’s Choir of China Song and Dance Theater. The Singapore Art Museum will partnered the National Art Museum of China to co-present “Encounters and Journeys” to promote Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. I believe these partnerships will lead to further exchanges and productive dialogues among the artistic community from Singapore and China.

7.     The Singapore Season will also see collaborations extending beyond the arts and culture. We held a Singapore Seminar this morning for about 200 Senior Chinese Executives to update them of the new opportunities and relevance of Singapore as a springboard for their global business strategies. Today the Singapore Media Development Authority and the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the field of media. This MOU signals mutual commitment to strengthen our bilateral relations in the media field and will strengthen ongoing collaborations involving Singapore media companies and their Chinese counterparts on film, animation, digital and High Definition (HD) production and post-production. China and Singapore also agreed to co -organise each other’s film festivals, starting with the first Singapore Film Festival that will commence in Beijing tomorrow.

Singapore Evening

8.    Allow me now to bring you back to this evening’s programme .

9.     Singapore Evening is a celebration of Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage and creativity. Themed Kaleidoscope, it will showcase Singapore’s arts, design and cultural delights and cuisine in a multi-sensory extravaganza. Tonight’s show is the combined efforts of about 100 artists and performers, including Singapore’s talents in music, design and culinary art. We hope to show you the creative side of Singapore with its unique fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, and the traditional and modern aspects of Singapore.

10.     As we gather here to enjoy Singapore music, cuisine and fashion, we should not forget the less fortunate in the society. Hence, I am pleased to note that CapitaLand Hope Foundation – the Season’s Charity Sponsor – is contributing RMB 600,000 (S$120,000) to fund the living, education and medical expenses of underprivileged children at the Beijing Disabled Persons Rehabilitation Service & Guidance Centre. I commend CapitaLand Hope Foundation for this kind and generous gesture for a most worthy cause.

11.     When the curtain falls on the last performance of the Singapore Season at the end of the month, it will signal the end of the performances. More importantly, it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in our arts and cultural partnership which will bring Singapore and China even closer together.

Conclusion

12.     Singapore Season in China has been made possible through the strong support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Culture in China, and the Chinese Embassy in Singapore. Thank you for your support. I thank our partners, namely, the Beijing Music Festival and the China Shanghai International Arts Festival and many other Chinese cultural organizations for contributing to the Singapore Season. To the many Singapore companies and individuals who had generously sponsored the Singapore Season and this Gala Dinner, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. In particular, I thank the six presenters of Singapore Season, namely, Far East Organisation, Keppel Corporation, Lee Foundation, Oei Hong Leong Foundation, SembCorp and CapitaLand. I would also like to thank the media and of course, the artists, performers and chefs. To each and everyone who has made the Singapore Season in China possible, thank you.

13.     Last but not least, I thank Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Wong Kan Seng, for gracing tonight’s event as our Guest of Honour and our distinguished guests from the Chinese government.

14.     Finally, I would like to extend an invitation to the people in Beijing to attend and enjoy the performances, exhibitions and other events during the Singapore Season.

15.     On behalf of the Singapore Government, thank you for joining us here tonight. Please enjoy a pleasant evening.