SINGAPORE: Mr Lawrence Wong, who will helm the new Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) from November 1, said he was excited about the opportunity to engage and work with Singaporeans.
In a posting on FaceBook, Mr Wong —— who is currently Minister of State for Education and Defence —— said the mission of his new ministry was to build cohesion and a strong sense of national identity as society becomes more diverse.
Mr Wong said he looks forward to meeting with many young people, the arts and sports groups, as well as the civic and community volunteers in the coming months to get their ideas and views on how to keep Singapore strong.
The MCCY will do its best to support the respective goals and aspirations, he said.
Mr Wong said: "Singapore also stands to benefit from taking a more holistic approach to culture and the arts, community engagement, and sports and youth affairs.
"Culture, for example, can greatly enhance the experience of community involvement. Sports is a natural channel for personal fulfilment and community bonding. In the same way, community engagement is important to making both culture and sports readily accessible to every person."
Mr Wong added: "Having a single ministry serving these different spheres of public life will encourage synergies that benefit one and all. Let us all join hands and work together to forge our shared future!"
However, first reactions from those in the Singapore sporting community have been that of disappointment.
"I am a little bit disappointed that the ministry itself does not have the word ’sports’ in it," President of Singapore Rugby Union Low Teo Ping said.
"But I think we can definitely share the same spotlight as arts. ... Together (we) can definitely evolve a culture that is necessary for Singapore to ... develop and build on and at the same time have a tremendous effect on community development."
Nominated MP Nicholas Fang, who is the President of Fencing Singapore and the Singapore Modern Pentathlon Association, said: "We will be watching the situation and how it develops in terms of sports, now that we are being grouped together with arts under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
"I think it will be a real shame if they (sports and arts) then became simply tools to achieve a broader goal, even though the broader goal is a respectable one."
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