Remarks by Minister S Iswaran at the 13th Singapore Senior Citizen Calligraphy Graduation Ceremony
Professor Tan Siah Kwee,
President of the Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore,
Members of the Singapore Calligraphy Centre Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
下午好! Good afternoon!
I am very happy to join you on this special occasion – the 13th graduation ceremony for the Singapore Senior Citizen Calligraphy University Centre, or 书大 as it is more commonly known. I extend my warmest congratulations to all the graduands on having successfully completed the programme, after months of training and hard work. Chinese Calligraphy reminds us all of Singapore’s rich cultural tapestry. And this is also what makes Singapore unique, allowing us all to appreciate each others’ culture and heritage.
I tried my hand at Chinese calligraphy several years ago under Prof Tan’s tutelage for one of the Society’s fundraising efforts for the Community Chest. It gave me a first hand experience of the technical skills of the art form, its aesthetic value, and its meditative dimension. The experience gave me a valuable opportunity to better understand and appreciate our Chinese community’s illustrious heritage; and how calligraphy can also help train the mind to concentrate - not only on the use of precise phrases to express one’s message, but also how one guides the soft brush when writing Chinese calligraphy. To be skilled in Chinese calligraphy calls for speed, strength and agility. Interestingly, these very qualities are also important in today’s age of technological disruption.
You are graduating at a significant time for our country, for it coincides with the commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial. As we explore the journey that our island nation has taken over the centuries, it is fitting that we also celebrate and preserve our heritage so that we may pass these skills, culture and unique traditions, such as calligraphy, to future generations of Singaporeans.
I thank the Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore and its leadership for its ongoing work in running this programme for seniors, as well as for its efforts in preserving and promoting Chinese calligraphy. The Society and 书大 have once again trained another cohort of calligraphers, who, I am confident, will help invigorate and nurture this invaluable art form.
Congratulations once again to all of the graduands. I wish you all the very best. 谢谢大家Thank you.