By Yaacob Ibrahim
SPEECH BY DR YAACOB IBRAHIM,MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES,
AT THE GURDWARA CUP OPENING CEREMONY,
2 JUNE 2005, 6.00 PM (SINGAPORE KHALSA ASSOCIATION FIELD)

Mr Inderjeet Singh, MP
Mr Balbeer Singh, President of the Singapore Khalsa Association
Dr S S Cheema, President of the Malaysia-Singapore Sikhs Sports Council
Organisers and participants of the 54th Sikh Festival of Sports
Honoured Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am happy to join you this afternoon to start off the 54th Sikh Festival of Sports.

Allow me first to welcome to Singapore our visiting delegations from the seven Malaysian states, as well as those who have come from Indonesia, Thailand and Australia. I welcome you to participate in this historical sporting event that saw its birth in colonial times in Malaya but remains relevant, useful and appreciated even today.

The pioneers among the Sikh community who initiated the Gurdwara Cup 54 years ago would indeed be proud that their sons and daughters, especially the members of the sporting fraternity in Malaysia and Singapore, have sustained the spirit of friendly sporting competition, as a meaningful way to renew and strengthen community ties during this annual event. It is also commendable that the Gurdwara Cup organizers in Malaysia and Singapore have, over time, also extended participation in the Gurdwara Cup to include members of the Sikh diaspora living in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.

I would also like to extend my congratulations to the President of the Singapore Khalsa Association, Mr Balbeer Singh Mangat, for the crucial role that the Singapore Khalsa Association plays in coordinating and steering Singapore's participation in this event, which helps nurture and strengthen people-to-people ties among Sikhs on both sides of the Causeway.

The SKA also plays an important role in multiracial Singapore, through its support for various local social and sports programmes. It is crucial that every community in Singapore, no matter how small its numbers, continues to nurture activities that strengthen bonds within the community, as well as reach out to members of the larger Singaporean community.

The Sikh community, continues to be a prominent contributor and participant in Singapore’s national life, way out of proportion to its small numbers, and so too in Malaysia. This is a tribute to the hard work and foresight of your forefathers. And through activities like today’s, I am sure such a spirit will continue to be nurtured by your younger generations.

It therefore leaves me to wish all participants, and your families, a pleasant time in Singapore. Do take time to visit other parts of Singapore, renew your ties, and make new friends.

May the games be played in the true spirit of sportsmanship and community-bonding.

On this note, it is my privilege to declare the 54th Sikh Festival of Sports open.

 

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