Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Sam Tan Chin Siong at the Mercy Relief Observance of the 1st World Humanitarian Day

20/08/2009

SPEECH BY MR SAM TAN CHIN SIONG, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY & MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AT the MERCY RELIEF OBSERVANCE OF THE 1ST WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY AT THE SINGAPORE REPERTORY THEATRE ON 19 AuGUST 2009 AT 7.45 PM

My distinguished host, Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi, Advisor to Mercy Relief

Mr T K Udairam, Chairman of Mercy Relief

Board members, staff, volunteers, donors and supporters of Mercy Relief

Eminent religious leaders

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening

I am delighted to join you this evening for the Observance of the 1st World Humanitarian Day and Launch of the 'Little Mercy' Web Games. This meaningful occasion is definitely of great significance to the international humanitarian community. It is also an occasion for us to commend the good work done by humanitarian workers, especially those from Singapore, and to recognize their dedication and commitment to the cause.

2.     The efforts of Mercy Relief in various humanitarian missions are welcomed and deeply appreciated by the local communities. However, such efforts require the continual support of the public. I am therefore heartened to note that Mercy Relief has also been very active in raising the awareness on humanitarian issues and spreading the humanitarian spirit amongst Singaporeans. One good example is the 'Cultivating a Grateful and Gracious Society' campaign that was launched last year to raise awareness amongst Singaporeans on the plight of those living in disaster and poverty-stricken countries in the heartlands, schools and private institutions.

3.     I am pleased that Mercy Relief has taken a step further with their community outreach efforts with the launch of the 'Little Mercy' Web Games via the interactive digital media. The 'Little Mercy' Web games, developed jointly by Mercy Relief and Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Interactive Design and Media, enable gamers to role-play as humanitarian workers and respond to requests such as helping to rebuild towns or providing assistance to victims. By role-playing as humanitarian workers, we hope that the younger generation will be able to have a foretaste of humanitarian work and hopefully, encourage and spur them to volunteer or perhaps consider a career in this field.

4.     The interactive digital medium is also a suitable platform to communicate with the younger generation, as knowledge and information can be imparted and shared in a fun and engaging manner. The 'Little Mercy' Web Games is also a good example of locally produced digital media content, which the Media Development Authority of Singapore and the Interactive Digital Media Programme Office had been actively pushing for. More importantly, I would like to commend the talented students and staff from the Nanyang Polytechnic who have devoted their skills and time to create digital contents for a social cause. I applaud both organisations for this successful collaboration.

5.     As we commemorate the 1st World Humanitarian Day, I would like to once again commend the many volunteers for your passion and commitment to this meaningful cause which brings faith and hope to mankind.

Thank you.

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