Speech by Senior Parliamentary Secretary Yatiman Yusof at the Great Eastern's Fourth "Life Is Great!" Photo Competition Prize Presentation Ceremony

13/08/2004

Good Afternoon

Ladies & Gentlemen

I am very pleased to be here, again, at Great Eastern's Life is great! Photo Competition Prize Presentation Ceremony. This is my fourth year. And it has been great!

Mr Michael Wong Pakshong said that Great Eastern's Life is great! Photo Competition has, in its unique way, inspired and moulded the spiritual development of Singaporeans. I cannot agree more with him.

When the proposal to build the $600 million Esplanade was unveiled, many questioned the need for having such an expensive development in a small country like ours. Some felt that the quality of our citizens was not up to the mark.

Today, the Esplanade is the pride and joy of our people and country. It is also becoming an icon for performing artistes worldwide. With the support from the government and corporations, it is now an internationally renowned art centre, fulfilling the spiritual and artistic needs of our people.

What message do we get from here? It is this - that arts can be taught and promoted. In this instance, I would like to commend Great Eastern for its efforts in spending resources and time, for four consecutive years, to organise the Photo Competition. It has lived up to its role as a responsible corporate citizen in helping to promote our local arts, by creating a platform for our photographers to showcase their talents. We need more corporations like Great Eastern to follow suit.

I have been invited to grace Great Eastern's Life is great! Photo Competition Prize Presentation for the past three years. This year, I was even invited to chair the panel of six judges. It was a tough competition and I am very encouraged to see the high standards of our local photography. Given time, we can expect to see more photographers like John Clang, Leslie Kee and Tay Kay Chin who are now internationally acclaimed names. Their works are collected by museums such as the European House of Photography in Paris. They can also be seen in magazines such as the New York Times and Vogue.

In fact, Great Eastern's tagline "Life is great!" itself is already a big window to artistic expressions. The economic situation of the country has been going through ups and downs. I feel that it is an art to be able to adopt this as part of our life philosophy, whether in good times or bad. "Life is great!" is a very positive and optimistic concept. When times are bad, we can use it as a motivator to help us press on. When times are good, it energises us and helps spread joy to people around us.

The theme "Life is great!" gives ample room for photographers to interpret and to express their creativity. The process of interpreting the theme and coming up with that creation is in itself an art. I am glad that the Photo Competition has been able to attract people from all walks of life.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Great Eastern on the success of this event. And my heartiest congratulations to all the winners today.

I hope that all of you will have an enjoyable afternoon. Thank You.

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