Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Senior Minister Of State For Finance And Transport, At The Cinderella Ball 28 February 2009 At Shangri-La Hotel28 Feb 2009
Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
We all love fairy-tales, especially the happy endings. Fairy-tales are uplifting as they give us hope and the promise of a better life. I am therefore very happy to be able to join all of you at the Cinderella Ball. I would like to commend the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) and the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) for putting together this lovely fairy-tale. At a time when there's bad news all around, this event can surely help lighten the mood and bring some cheer to all of us tonight.
2. The Cinderella Ball is not just a fairy-tale, it is an important event as it champions two worthy causes: (i) the protection and preservation of women's rights to empower us with the necessary skills to enrich our lives, supported by SCWO and (ii) the appreciation and understanding of classical and contemporary ballet, supported by the SDT.
Promoting and Improving the Status of Women's Lives in Singapore
3. Since its inception in 1980, the SCWO has served as the national coordinating body of some 56 women's organisations in Singapore. In so doing, the SCWO has brought women's rights and needs to the forefront of society, reducing prejudice and discrimination that women face in their daily lives. It is mainly through the good work of SCWO and its member organizations that women in Singapore have achieved equal standing as their male counterparts in society and the workforce - for instance, it is not uncommon today to see women in positions of power and prestige in the corporate world.
4. Despite the success that women have achieved to date, we still continue to see cases where women are marginalized by ignorance and lack of education. And where such gaps exist, SCWO's various member organizations are ever-ready to step in and bridge the divide, constantly striving to improve the social standing of women in Singapore.
Making Dance Accessible to All Singaporeans
5. Since its beginnings, some 20 years ago in 1988, the Singapore Dance Theatre has contributed significantly towards Singapore's cultural development. Over the years, it has consistently built up its standards and continued to wow audiences with its ability to showcase both the grace of ballets such as "Swan Lake", and the spectacle of contemporary ethnic productions such as "Reminiscing The Moon", which was commissioned for the Esplanade's Opening Ceremony in 2002. Such landmark performances in SDT's repertoire have left an indelible mark on the minds of audiences, putting Singapore on the global map as a venue for world-class performances.
6. The SDT has also made dance more accessible to Singaporeans by bringing international performances into our lives, especially for those who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to watch such acclaimed performances.
7. The various free or low-priced educational and outreach programmes, that the SDT organizes for students and the general public, also render the appreciation of the art form very accessible and allow for closer interaction and engagement between fans within the ballet scene in Singapore.
8. The work of both the SCWO and the SDT is impressive and commendable, shaping Singapore's social fabric in different ways. And during this economic crisis, their work is even more important. We need SCWO to continue to work with their member organizations to help women who have been affected by the recession, for instance those who have lost their jobs during the recession.
9. We also need the SDT to brighten up our lives during this period of economic gloom, by continuing to showcase entertaining performances and lively workshops that are accessible to all Singaporeans.
10. I encourage all of you to give your support to both these organizations so as to let them continue their good work. Their work can only be successful if they have adequate support and resources to fulfill their missions. Your contributions toward the Cinderella Ball this evening will help both SCWO and SDT to persevere in their mission. Enjoy the evening and let's keep the fairytale alive in our hearts.