Speech by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs at The Opening of The Karnival Pasar Kota, 27 January 2005, 5.15 Pm, Malay Heritage Centre, Istana Kampong Gelam27 Jan 2006
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs,
Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mayor of Northeast CDC and Chairman of the Management Committee of the Malay Heritage Foundation
Your Excellency, Mr Mochamad Slamet Hidayat, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Singapore,
Mr Ahmad Khalis, Member of Parliament for Hong Kah GRC,
Mr Othman Haron Eusofe, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC,
Dato' Mohd Zain Abdullah, President of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
Mr Mohd Zaki Ma' Arof, Chairman of Karnival Pasar Kota
Dr Ameen Talib, Chairman of the Kampong Gelam Business Association
Mr Ramli Puteh, President of Ain Society
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you this evening to open Karnival Pasar Kota or City Market Carnival. This is an important event in the Kampong Gelam district.
2. Kampong Gelam can be likened to a pot of good teh, brewed with the finest tea leaves, retaining its original taste and improving in its body and flavour over time. Let me explain.
3. Istana Kampong Gelam was built more than 160 years ago and the place where we are all standing on was the historical seat of the Malay royalty in old Singapore. This place also has an interesting blend of Arab, Javanese, Sumatran and Indian influence.
4. Today, Kampong Gelam is a conservation district, with much of its ethnic charm. The Sultan Mosque here is one of the oldest in Singapore and visitors from all over the world are enticed to get a taste of its history. Like a good pot of teh, Kampong Gelam has retained its strong and unique flavour up to today.
5. But Kampong Gelam has not stopped at this. It has advanced, growing in richness and flavour. In the last few years, especially, this district has become more vibrant, with many new eating establishments and other businesses starting their operations here. With more events like this carnival, families will find Kampong Gelam a great destination. No one ever gets tired of quality teh. How can one enjoy good teh, and Kampong Gelam has one of the best teh tarik in Singapore, unless he comes over and takes a drink himself? Just hearing about it and smelling it is not "sedap" enough.
6.Thus, I commend the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry or SMCCI, for taking the lead to organise this event to attract locals, expatriates and tourists to take a sip of this unique place.
7. In order to recreate and relive the business activities once held here, this carnival also brings together more than 50 stall holders. In line with the national drive to encourage a greater spirit of entrepreneurship, this carnival provides a platform for young entrepreneurs from NUS and NTU to have a first-hand experience in business. Some stall holders here are also single parents and beneficiaries of Malay and Muslim self-help groups. Such a move shows strong social conscience and a determination for independence that will move communities forward.
8. Events such as this certainly add buzz to Kampong Gelam and draw people to come and enjoy the unique blend here. A good cup of teh is best enjoyed with a group of people. It is with this in mind, that the organisers had decided to hold this Karnival over this weekend, so that Chinese Singaporeans can come and enjoy the Malay cakes and cooking during the Chinese New Year festivities. It provides an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate together, as the Muslim New Year (Muharam) starts after sunset on Monday.
9. May I wish the organising committee and all participants a fruitful time during the 4 days of Karnival Pasar Kota. Thank you.