Welcome Address By Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive, National Library Board At The Launch Of "Diverse Languages, One Identity: A Guide To Conversations In The Chinese, Malay And Tamil Languages", Tue 20 Apr 2010, 5:30pm At The National Library Building

Release Date : 20 Apr 2010

Professor Lee Sing Kong, Director, National Institute of Education,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. Good evening, everyone, Da Jia Bang Wan Hao. Selamat petang. Anaivarukkum vanakkam. Thank you for joining us to witness the launch of “Diverse Languages, One Identity: A Guide To Conversations In The Chinese, Malay And Tamil Languages”, published by the National Library Board (NLB) and National Institute of Education (NIE).

2. NLB is pleased to be involved in this very meaningful initiative – to promote the learning and speaking of the mother tongues among the different communities in Singapore. The various mother tongues in Singapore are a result of our migrant and multi-cultural heritage. By knowing more about our multi-cultural roots, we are better able to understand what it means to be a Singaporean.

3. For this purpose, the National Library has held several major cultural exhibitions to date, reflecting on the diverse ethnic communities in Singapore. We organised the “Aksara: The Passage of Malay Scripts” exhibition in 2006, “KaalaChakra: Early Indian Influences in Southeast Asia” in 2007, “The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian” exhibition in 2008 and now, the “Rihlah – Arabs in Southeast Asia” exhibition which was launched two Saturdays ago. All of you would be welcomed to view this exhibition at the Exhibition Area, level 10 of the National Library Building.

4. NLB recognises the value, literature, history, culture and art of the three vernacular languages in Singapore and you would find that the National Library strives to serve these various communities through its Chinese, Malay and Tamil collections. Over the years, the collections in these three languages have grown into a comprehensive collection focusing on language and literature, history, business and arts, and other social sciences subjects.

5. This year, NLB was also tasked to form a Language Secretariat Council to oversee the four language promotion campaigns, after having run the Speak Good English Movement and Speak Mandarin Campaign in previous years.

6. Through this publication today, we believe that raising inter-ethnic linguistic awareness can facilitate communication, foster stronger bonds and understanding among our friends from the different ethnic groups in Singapore. Besides teachers and students, members of the public and even tourists who are interested in our spoken mother tongues will find this book useful in learning the common conversational phrases in Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

7. In closing, I would like to thank NIE for this excellent partnership and particularly Associate Professor Goh Yeng Seng, Head of the Asian Languages and Cultures department of NIE for his significant contributions towards this publication. Do get a copy of this book and let the mother tongue conversations begin! I wish you a pleasant evening ahead. Thank you. Xie Xie. Terima Kasih. Nandri.