Speeches

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education, at the Launch of the Singapore 2010 Friendship Fabric in Collaboration with Singapore Youth Festival on 12 August 2010 at the International Convention Centre Level One

Dr Francis Chong,
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee,

Ms Sum Chee Wah,
Director, Education Programmes Division, Ministry of Education,

Principals,

Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Boys and Girls,

Good evening.

With only two days to the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG), I am sure we are all very excited in Singapore. Many schools and students have been following the YOG closely and participating in the various pre-Games activities. Some as early as 2007 when we first started our bid for the Games. Even as we speak, many of our schools and students are participating in the exhilarating Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame. 249 schools are involved in the Cheer the Flame programme to encourage and cheer the torch bearers.

Be it primary, secondary or tertiary institutions, I am glad that all of our schools in Singapore are being involved in the YOG in one way or another.

In the lead up to the Games, more than 120,000 youths have been involved in the Singapore 2010 Create Action Now! Or CAN! Festivals. Many students have taken part in the Singapore 2010 Friendship Camp, Youth Sports Conference and the Olympic Education Programme. Through the Friends@YOG Twinning Programme, more than 250 of our schools have been twinned with schools from over 130 NOCs. Over 20 schools have also taken the initiative to visit their twinned schools or host them for cultural exchanges.

I am heartened by how youths in Singapore have come to embrace the YOG as their event. The YOG activities provide invaluable opportunities for our youths to develop an interest in sports and societal issues; it also introduces them to the Olympic Movement and Values.

Today’s event is being held in collaboration with the Singapore Youth Festival 2010, a Festival Partner for the YOG. With 11 music and dance performances from our schools, our young performers have lent much colour and verve to today’s event with their dynamic performances.

The Friendship Fabric is an art exhibition made up of individual fabric art pieces created by students as part of their journey towards the YOG. Creating the fabric art pieces has been an enriching experience for our schools. Let me share an example. Dunman High School is twinned with Sierra Leone. The students chose to create an art piece on Sierra Leone. As they knew very little about the country initially, they researched on Sierra Leone’s culture, environment and people, and learnt quite a bit about the country in the process. I am sure many schools have had similar experiences, learning about their twinned NOC and then translating that learning into art.

I am glad that 332 schools came forward to create a fabric art piece for their twinned NOC. This is their contribution to the Games and their way of sharing what they have learnt about their twinned countries. Each piece of fabric art is unique and represents a sincere gesture of friendship. Together, they show the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect, and the bonds that have developed among the various students, the schools and the NOCs.

This is our way of giving a warm welcome to our friends from around the world. I would like to thank everyone — the students and teachers who have participated in making this Friendship Fabric. The Friendship Fabric is open for viewing by the public and I invite everyone in Singapore to come to the Convention Centre to appreciate the creation of our youths. Come and see the picture of the world, as seen through the eyes of our youths.

Thank you.