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SHA's speech at opening ceremony of "Spotlight Hong Kong" in Singapore (English only)(With photos)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, at the opening ceremony of the "Spotlight Hong Kong" in Singapore this evening (February 2) (English only):

Dr Lee (Boon-yang), Ms (Jennie) Chua, Ms (Wailee) Chow, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. While I have been to Singapore many times, I shall remember tonight - the "Spotlight Hong Kong", which marks an important milestone of cultural co-operation between Singapore and Hong Kong. On behalf of the people of Hong Kong, I bring to Singapore and to her people, our warmest greetings, and our very best wishes.

     This "Spotlight Hong Kong", a nine-day mega cultural festival, will feature the works of 120 Hong Kong artists in 36 shows across six genres including dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts and literary arts. This event is in reciprocation of the "Spotlight Singapore" which was held in Hong Kong in January, 2006, and proved a resounding success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Lee and his Ministry for their supports in making this meaningful event possible.

     In the 21st century, the power and influence of a city hinges not entirely on its military might or economic strength in its traditional sense. The defining force has shifted gradually to cultural depth that a city is able to generate. We need to build a community that is creative, cohesive and resilient through arts and culture, through preservation of our heritage and through articulation of our historicity, so as to provide us constant source of inspiration to propel our communities to thrive and advance in the face of fierce competition from the different parts of the world.

     Indeed, competition is no longer one between country and country. Cities have become the dominant players. A single city alone is seldom sufficient to compete on its own. Alliance is called for. A cluster of cities with similar vision and strength in economic and cultural terms is the answer to this challenge. We need cultural co-operation to foster a closer and more vibrant city alliance, one that provides ample room for mutual respect, appreciation, inspiration and cross-fertilisation. This is where I see Hong Kong and Singapore are heading. Since the signing of our Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Co-operation in 2004, the two places have been actively contributing to each other's cultural and social calendar, and promoting the appreciation of each others' arts and culture scene by our citizens, and hence enhancing better understanding of our cultural variations and similarities.
     Ladies and Gentlemen, Hong Kong and Singapore share many similarities and common aspirations. Despite having limited natural resources of our own, our people, have respectively created the miraculous economic success that the rest of the world envied. It is against this background that the two places are receptive towards other civilisations and supportive of pluralistic cultures. I am convinced that Hong Kong and Singapore have a shared vision and common goal. Let us invite one another into our dreams that life is celebrated through cultural pursuits, and our people are enchanted by the arts, enlightened by cultural differences and enriched by social diversity.

     May I wish the "Spotlight Hong Kong" in Singapore every success, and all of you a most enjoyable evening. Thank you.

Ends/Friday, February 2, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:44


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