Good evening everyone. First, let me thank the organisers for inviting me to this wonderful and very meaningful occasion to start the New Year.
As some of you know, 2014 is the International Year of the Family, so what better way to start the New Year than to join you all in a celebration of the institution of the family in Singapore. Thank you very much for having us, and thank you very much to PA and also the Family Life Champions of the 5 constituencies - Boon lay, Clementi, Pioneer, Yuhua and Yew Tee - for organising this very meaningful event to celebrate the institution of the family.
As all of you know, whether we are rich or poor, whether our country is rich or poor, at the end of the day, after a hard day’s of work when we go home, what is most important to us is our family -- a warm and wholesome family that we can share our joys, trials and tribulations, ups and downs, in whatever we do. Regardless of how rich we are, how poor we are, and no matter where our position in life is, the family will always remain the cornerstone of our Singapore, and we hope that in time to come, this will continue to be so.
So for this year, in the International Year of the Family, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, together with our partners in the People’s Association, and we hope many other corporate bodies will come forth and organise many events to celebrate the family as the central institution for Singapore, and we want to continue to affirm the role that the family plays in our country. I look forward to working closely with many of the Family Life Ambassadors, the People’s Association and other corporate bodies to come together and celebrate the family as the core institution for Singapore this year.
As we go forward, many of our families will become smaller, but not withstanding that, we must always go back to our roots where we celebrate the family, not just as our individual family, but also as an extended family where we take care of our uncles, aunties, our distant relatives, some of whom may not have a family like ours. We must reach out to them, then in this way, we can build a truly inclusive society for the whole of Singapore.
We look forward to working with you and before I end off my speech, let me once again congratulate all the couples before us today who will be renewing their marriage vows and showing us the way of how a long lasting marriage works after 50 and 60 years.
I have a little acronym for marriage which I have always used when I speak to other people. “M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E” - Marriage actually stands for “Managing a relation requires intense and genuine efforts”. So for all of you who have survived 50 and 60 years, I hope that you will continue this journey in making the marriage really work to the testimony for everyone to see.
Thank you very much.