SINGAPORE: A series of family-oriented events and activities have been planned for 2014, as Singapore marks the International Year of the Family.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said the aim is to promote family bonding.
The series of events kicked off on Wednesday with a ceremony that saw 21 couples renew their marriage vows on the first day of the New Year.
Madam Ong Leng Leng and her husband, who have been married for 27 years, are among those who renewed their marriage vows.
The event was witnessed by friends and family, including two of their three children.
The event, Love Date @ Orchidville, was organised by grassroots leaders from five divisions in the South West District.
The theme of the event was “Celebrating Marriages and Promoting Family Life in the Community.”
Madam Ong, a make-up artist, said: "Whatever programmes the family has, the family must support. Even my in-laws joined me in this event, and that shows the support they have for me."
The event also marked the start of the Year of the Family, a concept mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his New Year message.
It is held in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
Guest-of-honour, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing, said families are the cornerstone of Singapore society.
Mr Chan said: "Whether we are rich or poor… at the end of the day, after a hard day's work, when we go home, what is most important to us is our family. A warm and wholesome family that we can share our joys, trials and tribulations, ups and downs in whatever we do."
A special float will feature at the Chingay parade as part of efforts to celebrate families.
There will also be activities and social media campaigns on public holidays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day.
Those will be done in partnership with grassroots organisations.
And for singles who might feel left out, there will also be opportunities for them to possibly meet their significant other.
Phang Koei Hiong, Family Life Champion at Yew Tee, said: "We just do speed dating, for them to get together, and mingle around, and get to know each other. Whether they want to go further, is up to them."
The public can get up to date with the latest family-themed events and activities at iyf2014.sg. - CNA/nd
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