Updated: 07/22/2014 01:43

Singapore has much to celebrate, but there are also areas that need to be worked on

Photo: CNA

Photo: CNA

Singapore has much to celebrate about the state of harmony here, but there are also areas that need to be worked on. 

This, according to Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on Racial Harmony Day today. 

Speaking at Elias Park Primary School's Racial Harmony Day celebrations, Mr Heng highlighted the results of a recent study done by the Institute of Policy Studies, and OnePeople.sg, a national body focussed on building racial and religious harmony. 

According to the study, Singapore can do more in building interest in intercultural understanding and interaction. 

"We have to continue to build strong bonds in our community - bonds of trust, friendship and understanding - to meet the challenges of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous global environment we face today."

He added that everyone needs to be an advocate of racial harmony. 

And in this spirit, schools will distribute Orange Ribbon Kits to all Primary 4 students, to encourage them to make and give away orange ribbons in the name of racial harmony. 

Each kit contains material for 6 ribbons. 

Students can wear one of the ribbons, and give the rest away to people from different ethnic groups. 

They can also include a personal note, encouraging the recipient of the ribbon to wear it. 

Elias Park Primary student Kevin Yong tells us he's a proud advocate of racial harmony - especially to the kindergarten children he's been playing host to for the day. 

" I made four orange ribbons and sent most of them to the K2s. One of the notes inside, I wrote that we shouldn't say inappropriate remarks to other races. We should treat them like the same race just like anyone does."

His classmate Milan Arjen Jeyamohan agrees, and went one step further to commemorate the occasion, with a special Racial Harmony Day rap. 

"It's like all the 4 races, Chinese Indians Malay and Eurasians, we should all come together, and shouldn't be like the racial riots. Sometimes we can have arguments, but after that, we'll come back together, and that's how life should be."

Schools celebrate Racial Harmony Day on 21 July every year, the anniversary of the 1964 racial riots. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the riots.

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