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Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the Zu-Lin Temple 33rd Anniversary and Grand Opening on 19 November 2022

19 Nov 2022
Chairman of Zu-Lin Temple, Mr Ho Kwok Choi,
Abbot of Zu-Lin Temple, Venerable Seck Kwang Phing,
My Parliamentary Colleagues past and present,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good morning. Let me say a few words in English, and then I will continue in Mandarin later. I am happy to be here on this occasion, to open the newly rebuilt Zu-Lin Temple and to celebrate the Temple’s 33rd Anniversary. 
2. All of you know, the renovation took close to six years, but looking at the new temple, and I had the chance to take a quick tour just now, I can say that it was definitely worth the wait. The temple is twice as big as before, and it now has an iconic 12-metre-tall bronze Guanyin statue.  So let me extend my congratulations to the leadership, staff, supporters, and craftsmen – everyone who has contributed to this incredible rebuilding project. Well done!
3. I am also happy that Zu-Lin Temple has continued to do its part for the community, by providing funding for scholarships and bursaries, as well as donating generously to various charities. Today, the temple will be donating $135,000 to 18 beneficiaries. Some of these beneficiaries are from other religious organisations. Their representatives, as well representatives of other faiths, are also here to mark this special occasion together with Zu-Lin Temple. I think we should give them a big round of applause for their efforts.
4. Over the years, this sort of inter-faith engagement has become almost an instinctive practice across all our religious groups.  It is something we should continue to nurture and strengthen, because this is what makes Singapore truly special. It is enshrined in the founding ideals of our nation – to be a multiracial and multireligious society; a Singapore where everyone is equal, regardless of race, language or religion. Even just now when we saw the young boys playing the drums (onstage at the event), we saw it was a multiracial (performance) team. 
5. Here in Singapore, all the major faiths of the world are present. We are neither a Christian country nor a Buddhist or Taoist country, nor a Muslim country, nor a Hindu country.  We are a secular country where Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and people of different faiths can live side by side peacefully and harmoniously. So we come together to celebrate each other’s major milestones, and we support each other’s charitable works and causes. This is what Singapore is about, and we continue to advance this very important cause.
6. We are able to enjoy this happy state of affairs only through many years of patient effort and hard work.  Just look around the world, and we know what we have today in Singapore is something precious and rare.  So we should continue to make the effort, to foster more interaction between the races and religions, and widen the common ground we share together, so that we can build a more cohesive society we are all proud to call home.  
7. Finally, let me extend once again my sincere appreciation and thanks to all the members of Zu-Lin Temple for your efforts in inter-faith dialogue and engagements.  I am confident that the Temple will continue to serve your devotees well, strengthen religious harmony, and support the disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the community. 
8. Let me continue with some remarks in Mandarin. 
9. 很高兴今天能够和大家一起庆祝新加坡竹林寺的33周年重建落成典礼。对竹林寺来说,这是一个意义重大的里程碑,恭喜竹林寺。
10. 旧的竹林寺在2016年4月被拆除,2021年底完工,前后用了将近6年的时间。重建后的寺庙有6层楼高,比之前大两倍,看起来也更加雄伟壮丽。尤其是寺庙外,有个12米高的观音镀金铜像,成为了新加坡西部的一个新地标。
11. 重建后的寺庙也增加了不少新设施,让竹林寺有更大的空间举办更多活动,并更好地为信徒和各个群体服务。
12. 这项重建工程能大功告成,必须感谢多年来在幕后付出的很多人,竹林寺的理事、职员、支持者和工匠们。我在此恭喜所有参与竹林寺重建工程的人员,功德圆满,恭喜大家。
13. 竹林寺成立于1989年,经过历届理事、法师和信众的努力,已经成为新加坡一个重要的宗教和慈善团体。除了弘扬佛法,竹林寺也通过各种方式积极回馈社会。
14. 今天竹林寺将捐出13万5000元,给18个机构和团体,这样的善举完全体现了佛教里的慈悲和奉献精神,同时也协助把新加坡打造成一个更具有包容性的关怀社会,非常感谢竹林寺的付出。
15. 大家都知道,新加坡是个多元种族、多元宗教的国家,种族和宗教和谐是我们立国的重要基石之一。政府这些年来也经常举办跨宗教对话会,来促进各族群之间的信任和凝聚力,也让全体国人意识到这个课题的重要性。
16. 我们能够有今天的和谐社会,各个宗教和群体都付出了巨大的努力。我很高兴竹林寺也是其中之一,你们在维护新加坡宗教和谐方面的努力,是非常值得嘉奖的。
17. 新加坡是我们的家,需要大家共同努力、不分你我挺身而出,才能上下一心,克服未来的挑战,建设更美好的未来。
18. 最后,我恭祝新加坡竹林寺香火旺盛,也祝愿在座各位幸福快乐,阖家安康。