Speech by Minister for Education Mr Chan Chun Sing, at the Fairprice 'Share-A-Textbook' X Fit Hackathon Launch Event

Published Date: 26 October 2021 11:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO, FairPrice Group

Supporting schools and partners of FairPrice Share-A-Textbook 2021

A very good morning to everyone.

2. First, a big thank you to Mr Seah and the FairPrice team – not just this team but the many teams before – for bringing us on this journey into the 39th year.

3. I would not be surprised if some of us in the audience have benefited from this Share-A-Textbook initiative. I was certainly one of them. Not all of us have the privilege of always getting the textbooks that we need, and it is such projects by FairPrice and other community partners that have allowed us to continue our education and benefit from the kindness of others. In time to come, we must look to build up an entire generation of people who are always willing to pay it forward.

4. Second, the Share-A-Textbook initiative is a simple initiative that embodies our societal values. We recycle the textbook that have been used, by passing them on to the next generation. However, it is a simple initiative with deep meaning, which has always resonated with me. This is because in the process, we inculcate in fellow Singaporeans many positive values, such as caring for others. Taking over a set of old textbooks, using them and being prepared to pass them on inculcates in us a sense of responsibility. It is a commitment to do our best to take care of others, and to define success beyond what we achieve for ourselves. And these are very important values that this simple initiative has instilled in us over the years.

5. This brings me to my third point. This year, FairPrice is launching the FIT (Food, Innovation and Technology) Hackathon. Many of us in the room might wonder what this has to do with the Share-A-Textbook initiative and the connection between these two initiatives. I see FIT Hackathon as embodying the same values as the Share-A-Textbook initiative —- bringing about success not just for ourselves, but to allow the next generation to do even better.

6. This is the kind of enduring spirit that defines Singapore. In fact, in Singapore, we can be very proud that we have been embracing sustainability since independence, way before the environmental movement gained momentum in recent years.

7. We have planned meticulously for the use of every inch of our land, air and sea to make sure that we leave behind something better for the next generation. From three reservoirs, we now have 17 reservoirs with two-thirds of our land area becoming water catchment areas so that the next generation will have much less to worry about water sustainability. In this generation, we are thinking of how to crack the energy puzzle for the next 50 years. And if we can find dependable sustainable energy sources, we will have less to worry about water or food. This is where the FIT Hackathon comes in — uncovering new solutions. We may be a small country, but we can learn from other countries that also face land constraints.

8. The Netherlands has become a food basket of Europe. How did they do it? They achieved this because they have conscientiously invested in food technologies, and energy and water management all these years. They can be a good example of what we might aspire towards. In solving the energy problem, we will alleviate our food and water challenges, and in time to come, we can even export our expertise, products and processes to other countries. This is certainly an exciting future, and our efforts will embody the enduring spirit of building for the future, that FairPrice is passing on from generation to generation.

9. And on that note, I thank FairPrice for their efforts over the years, including the Share-A-Textbook initiative, and the FIT Hackathon that we have initiated this year. Congratulations and well done to the FairPrice team! I would also like to take this chance to thank their partners who joined them in these ventures, because this goes beyond the hard work of FairPrice alone. I am heartened that in Singapore, we look to mobilise the whole society to come forward, be it the volunteers, our schools, or corporate partners. All of us are in this together because we share the same mission — to leave behind a better Singapore for the next generation.

10. Thank you.

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