Remarks by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, at the Launch of the Flame for the First Day of the Singapore leg of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame at CHIJ Toa Payoh Seconday School on 7 August 2010.

I am happy to join you this morning in Central Singapore North and here at CHIJ Toa Payoh to launch the first leg of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame in Singapore.

The Olympic Flame is one of the most recognised symbols of the Olympic Movement, heralding the sacred truce and the coming of an Olympic Games. In our case, it is all the more significant because the Flame heralds the start of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

During the Singapore leg of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame, 19 schools and Institutes of Higher Learning are hosting the Flame launching ceremonies and evening community celebrations. And over the next six days, 2,400 torchbearers will bring the flame to the different corners of the island to celebrate the coming of the Youth Olympic Games. Of these, over 800 are students from the national schools and Institutes of Higher Learning. They have been selected because they embody and exemplify the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

Equally important are the supporters for these torch bearers. 249 schools will participate in the Cheer the Flame programme – their students and staff will encourage and cheer the torch bearers on as they run past along designated stretches. Community groups – Residents’ Committees and sports groups among them – are also cheering the flame on.

Singapore schools and our students have been actively involved in Singapore 2010 for the last two years. Since January 2009, all students have been learning about Olympism and the Olympic Movement through the Olympic Education Programme. Many have taken part or helped in organising activities to celebrate Singapore’s hosting of this historic event.

All schools are also involved in the Friends@YOG Programme, learning about the arts, culture, and sporting achievements of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the different countries that they have been twinned with. Over 2,800 students and teachers will get a chance to interact with their twinned NOCs’ athletes as booth hosts at the World Cultural Village.

As the Games start, over 6,000 students will be volunteering in the different aspects of the Games, and some 5,000 to 6,000 students are expected to visit the Youth Olympic Village as part of the schools’ learning journey. Many more – about 87,000 students – will watch the games live and cheer their twinned NOCs on.

Through this inaugural Youth Olympic Games, Singapore and our youth are making the future. We set the path and standards for others to follow. As a member of the community, you can get involved, and make an impact in your own lives as well as that of others around you.

Singapore 2010 will be a vivid display of the passion of our young, and their ability to make a difference. Young Singaporeans will have an opportunity to connect and share their own unique Singapore story with youth from other parts of the world. This is Singapore’s moment. This is your moment.

Now, let us start the Singapore leg of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame.