SPEECH BY MR HAWAZI DAIPI, SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION & MINISTRY OF MANPOWER, AT THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL WU-WO TEA CEREMONY ON SATURDAY, 21 AUGUST 2004, AT HOTEL NEW OTANI, PHOENIX BALLROOM, AT 8.00 PM
Mr Lee Zhi Qiang, Chairman, 9th International Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony Committee
Mr Chua Ming Yi , Vice-Chairman, and
Ms Edna Goh, PBM, Vice-Chairlady of the 9th International Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony
Ladies & Gentlemen
1. Good evening and welcome to the 9th International Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony. We are honoured to be the host once again for this prestigious event that is held only once every two years. Hosting of this international tea ceremony is in line with our country’s desire to promote the appreciation of arts and culture.
Theme of “Harmony”
2. The theme for today’s event is “Harmony”. Shi hai zi nei jie xiong di – meaning, everyone from different parts of the world coming together in harmony. As we all know, the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony is one where everyone, regardless of race, culture or social rank, comes together to make, serve and drink tea. The term, “wu wo”, means selflessness, and promotes the concept of cooperation and appreciation of one another’s cultural and social practices. It is envisaged that when you are guided by the principles of the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony, you will be able to achieve a state of selflessness and harmony with your fellow participants as you engage in the ritual.
3. Tea, in whatever form or taste, is about the second most popular beverage in the world after water. Tea drinking is often a social affair. When people of different social ranks, races, cultures and nationalities gather together for tea, you can say that such social tea drinking helps to cultivate human relationships and promote harmony and understanding among the community.
4. Similarly, this international tea ceremony that you are about to participate in will serve as an excellent opportunity for everyone to appreciate the diverse racial and cultural backgrounds of your fellow participants from all over the world. I hope that this concept of “wu wo” has aroused your interest in participating in the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony.
Different types of tea preparation in Singapore
5. In multi-racial and multi-cultural Singapore, tea is prepared and consumed in a variety of ways. For example, there is “teh tarik” and “sarabat tea”, or tea with milk and ginger, which are often served at coffee shops and hawker centres throughout Singapore. There is also gourmet tea which is served at cafes. I hope our foreign participants can take some time off their schedules to sample the different types of tea we have here in Singapore.
6. I wish all participants an enjoyable and fruitful tea ceremony, and to our foreign delegates, I wish you a pleasant stay in Singapore. Thank you.