Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, SIF Chairman, At ShiOK! Nite

Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth,
Distinguished guests,
Partners and Friends,

Good evening and a very warm welcome to ShiOK! Nite. Thank you for taking time to join us at this important and joyous occasion. 

We are especially grateful to our programme partners and alumni, who have specially flown in to join us. They include representatives from the Indonesia Bright Foundation, Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi from Thailand, and Think City from Malaysia. Your presence is a strong proof point that the SIF’s work in enabling collaborations for good, resonates with the local and international community.

I hope that after tonight, all of you will go home energised by ideas and insights gained from your interactions with each other. And for those who participated in the SIF Connects! Visits over the last two days – excited by possibilities for innovative solutions and sharing of concrete ideas to address common societal issues.

Building friendships is at the heart of what we do here in the Singapore International Foundation, or SIF. ShiOK! Nite, which is held every two years, brings together our friends and partners from home and beyond our shores. This is an occasion to reunite and renew our friendship – in the hopes of inspiring more ideas for collaborations and fostering greater cross-cultural understanding.

This year, we are proud to showcase the ‘Picture a Better World’ photo exhibition. The photos displayed captured many precious moments between our Citizen Ambassadors and their overseas friends working together in SIF projects. We are also exhibiting the artworks from our ‘Art of Sustainability’ project, created by Singaporean artists who have worked hand in hand with their Shanghainese counterparts – a cross-cultural partnership that harnesses the power of the arts to create positive social impact – and in this case, towards sustainable urban living.

Tonight is also the first time we have had the privilege to welcome all six SIF Overseas Representatives to Singapore. The position of the SIF Representative is a voluntary role in which appointed individuals help us to identify and create concrete opportunities for more cross-border collaboration in addressing today’s pressing global issues. We have Ms Kavita Choudhry and Mr Sathish Raman from India, Ms Kanlaya Kampan from Thailand, Mr Moch Nunung Kurniawan from Indonesia, Mr Chris Davies from the United Kingdom, and last but not least, Mr Matthew Herrmann from the United States.

In consonance with celebrating the power of friendships on ShiOK! Nite, it is very apt that International Volunteer Day is coming up very soon on 5 December. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise the long-term contributions of our Singapore International Volunteers, or SIVs. Through SIF’s sustainable development projects overseas, this special group of Citizen Ambassadors has demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication in helping to effect positive change and uplift lives. Because of their collaborative efforts, great strides have been made in areas such as enhancing palliative care services in Indonesia, leveraging the power of arts for good in India, and enabling access to clean water in villages in Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.  We also treasure the partnerships we have with other friends of the SIF – friends who have contributed in numerous significant ways. Without their support and contributions, our work in the SIF would not have been possible. We will hear a bit more about these individuals shortly!

In closing, on behalf of my Board and colleagues, let me thank each and every one of you for believing in and supporting the SIF’s work in connecting communities; enabling collaborations; and effecting positive change. I hope the conversations tonight among friends will unlock opportunities for greater synergy and partnerships. Thank you and have a ShiOK! evening!



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