[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Monday, November 26, 2007

[Teo Ann Huay Kuan]

1. Two weeks ago, I visited New Delhi for a day to talk to the Indian Foreign Minister about the situation in Myanmar. After the meeting, our High Commissioner brought me for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant run by a Chinese family who had lived in India for a few generations. When the eldest son saw me, he said, "I am a Teochew. You've come to eat rice (have a meal)." I was pleasantly surprised and replied that I am also a Teochew. But I wasn't sure whether the food would be good. We ordered three pomfrets that night, one for the soup cooked with radish, and two steamed with ginger and soy sauce. Someone told me it was hard to get salted vegetables in India. I must say the food was very good and the pomfrets were absolutely fresh. With a full stomach, I slept well on the overnight flight back from Delhi to Singapore.

2. For any group of people, culture is important. The strength of a people is very often dependent on the strength of its culture. Because China is a very large country, there are differences in regional cultures. The Wenzhou people from Zhejiang Province, for example, have a strong entrepreneurial culture. Sometimes they are described as the Jews of China. Many years ago, a trader from Wenzhou did business in Africa and settled in Gabon. He married an African woman and his son is now the Foreign Minister of Gabon, with the surname 'Ping' (for peace). We are good friends and he told me how on his first visit to China, a delegation from Wenzhou went to Diaoyutai to meet him when he was on an official visit. Since then, there are over one or thousand Wenzhou people who have migrated to Gabon contributing to the local economy. When President Hu Jintao visited Africa a few years ago, he received a warm welcome when he landed in Gabon. When Gabon Foreign Minister visited Singapore visited Singapore early this year, Singapore's Wenzhou Clan Association hosted him to dinner.

3. The Teochew people also have a strong culture which helps them to do well in business, in intellectual work and in the arts. Among the Teochew people, the Teo Ann people have the longest history going back to the period when Han Wengong of the Tang Dynasty spent 8 months in Teo Ann. The most successful Teo Ann person today is of course Mr Li Ka-shing. Never forgetting his roots, he continues to do a lot of good work in the Teochew area. The Medical School of Shantou University which has been completely financed by Mr Li has become a leading medical school in China. Recently, Mr Li made a $100 million donation to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Adminstration in Singapore.

4. In Singapore, the Teo Chew people have always played a major role in Singapore society in all fields - in business, in government, in the armed forces, in the universities and in the cultural field. Among them, many are Teo Ann people. I am naturall proud to be a member of this community. But what is important is not how rich or successful we are but how much we are able to contribute to our society. In this regard, I would like to thank Ngee Ang Kongsi, the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, the Teo Ann Huay Kuan and other Teochew organisations for their good work. I congratulate members of the Teo Chew Huay Kuan on its 43rd Anniversary and wish everyone good health and every happiness.

潮安会馆庆祝成立43周年纪念晚宴,豪晶酒店, 晚上8时
主宾 杨荣文外交部长演讲词






Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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