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Mr Tan Lee Huak, President, Singapore Buddhist Lodge and Vice Chairman, Singapore Buddhist Lodge Education Foundation,

Mr Tan Wan Chye, Chairman, Singapore Buddhist Lodge Education Foundation,

Dr Isa Hassan, Vice-President, Jamiyah Singapore,

Mr Ling Kin Huat, 1st Vice-Chairman, Taoist Federation Singapore,

Members of the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, parents and students, a very good afternoon to all! 

1. I am very happy to be part of the Bursary Award Presentation Ceremony for tertiary students today. I am glad that the Singapore Buddhist Lodge has been placing great emphasis on supporting needy students in their education, helping them fulfil their dreams and aspirations. Over the past 38 years, Singapore Buddhist Lodge had disbursed over $18 million to more than 36,000 students, regardless of race or religion.

2. It is also heartening to know that the Singapore Buddhist Lodge has been working closely over the years with the Jamiyah Singapore, the Hindu Endowment Board and the Singapore Taoist Federation when it comes to the selection of students for its Bursary Award. This allows the groups to leverage on one another’s strengths to help fellow Singaporeans and demonstrate the value of our multi-racial and multi-religious society. 

3. Many beneficiaries of this Bursary Award have done well in life and have contributed back to society. Amongst them are my fellow parliamentary colleagues, Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health, and Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sembawang GRC. 

4. Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin had volunteered in the grassroots movement for more than a decade prior to being elected as an MP.  He has also been active in education and social causes over the years, for example the Association of Muslim Professional’s “Ready for School” Programme for underprivileged children. We are now colleagues in the Ministry of Health, working together on ways to promote health and help Singaporeans fight against diabetes and other diseases.  

5. As for Dr Lim Wee Kiak, who is a well-respected eye surgeon, he has volunteered his time to initiate many eye care programmes for the community, such as eye screening for residents in old folks’ homes, free cataract surgery for the needy and programmes to provide free spectacles for children from needy families.

6. Today, 263 of you will be receiving your Bursary Award. I hope that all of you can take a leaf from the good examples set by our former recipients, including Parliamentary Secretary Amrin and Dr Lim. When you succeed and do well next time, please do not forget the support you had received from the community, and give back what you can to help others who are less fortunate in our society.

7. Now, please allow me a say a few words in Mandarin.

8. 很高兴受邀出席今天的助学金颁发典礼,与这么多学生们共享获颁助学金的喜悦。

9. 居士林素来乐善好施,人人皆知,不但每天提供免费素食,多年来也年年颁发助学金,从不间断。居士林从1979年起开始颁发助学金,帮助众多学子度过求学路上的经济困难。居士林在已故老林长李木源先生的带领下,在2000年设立了 “居士林教育基金” ,将颁发助学金的工作“体制化”。

10. 根据统计,至今已有超过 3万6000人获颁居士林助学金。不少受惠的学生已完成学业、事业有成,并在各自的岗位上回馈社会。

11. 李老林长深信,助学就是在播种善念,而改变个人命运最好的方法在于加强教育。一个人唯有上进和努力,才能改变自身的状况和局限。老林长也认为,为善不分种族和宗教,应该一视同仁,因此居士林的助学金,不止颁发给佛教徒或华族学生。只要家庭情况有需要的,居士林就不会拒于门外。

12. 我很欣慰得知,尽管居士林目前正在翻新扩建寺庙,刚接任不久的新理事会并没有因此而减少颁发助学金。让我在这里向居士林全体同仁表示敬意和谢意。

13. 最后,我希望在座的学生们不要忘记,助学金来自居士林善信们辛辛苦苦赚来的血汗钱。你们一定要善加利用,努力读书,有朝一日事业有成后,回馈社会,帮助其他有需要的人;“取之社会,用之社会”。居士林的恩惠,也希望你们铭记在心,饮水思源。

14. Let me conclude in English by extending my heartiest congratulations to all our award recipients.  I wish you and your family success and happiness. 

15. Thank you.

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