Opening Remarks by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information, at the Unveiling Ceremony of the Little Prince Sculpture at Punggol Regional Library on 11 July 2023

Her Excellency Minh-di Tang, Ambassador, Embassy of France in Singapore
Mr Nicolas Delsalle-Mun, Director-General, Fondation Antoine de Saint Exupéry pour la Jeunesse
Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board
Mr Arnaud Nazare-Aga, who did the sculpture we are going to unveil today
Colleagues and friends,

1.                It is my pleasure to join all of you for the unveiling ceremony of the Little Prince Sculpture here at the Punggol Regional Library. On behalf of the community in Punggol, welcome to our neighbourhood. 

2.                The Little Prince is a classic tale. It has touched the hearts of readers worldwide. It has been translated into over 480 languages, including Singlish and I just inspected the Singlish copy there, I can “double confirm” it is very accurate. This captivating tale invites us to embrace our imagination, unravel the mysteries and beauty of the world that surrounds us. 

3.               And NLB offers a collection of over 60 translated and adapted versions of this story. It is therefore fitting that The Little Prince sculpture finds his home in the library’s World and Us Zone, featuring reading materials from around the world. Some of these materials have been very generously donated by our friends from the Embassies, the High Commissions and international libraries. We hope that Singaporeans and local residents, through this very vibrant international collection,  we hope that we can inspire  children and their families to read and discover about the rich histories and cultures of places well beyond our shores here in Singapore, that we engage with and that inform us about so many things. 

4.                Singapore and France have very warm ties. We continue to share in strengthening cultural interactions between our countries. And we have a very popular annual France-Singapore Festival vOilah!,  that celebrates the cultural exchange and collaboration between our two countries. And it is only one example of our many joint efforts. The National Library Board also collaborated with the Embassy of France last year to screen several French films at our public libraries, as part of vOilah! – these were very well-received. 

5.                Beyond this cultural collaboration, Singapore and France also share excellent relations in other domains, including for trade, defence, education and research. We will continue to do more together in emerging areas such as digital innovation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Just last year, we signed the France-Singapore Digital and Green Partnership (DGP), where together we will develop projects on a wide range of digital and green issues, smart cities, cyber and EduTech. 

6.                To conclude, I thank the Fondation Antoine de Saint Exupéry pour la Jeunesse  and Mr Arnaud Nazare-Aga for their generous contribution of the Little Prince sculpture and books to the Punggol Regional Library. I would also like to thank Ambassador Tang and the Embassy of France in Singapore for supporting the event this afternoon. I look forward to strengthening our collaboration and bringing more learning opportunities on history and culture to all the patrons of Punggol Regional Library and our residents here.  

7.               Thank you very much and I wish all of you an enjoyable afternoon.