Written by: Chiang Xin Ni Nicole (22S73)
Photo by: Students' National Education Council
QnA Session with our Guest-of-Honour Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law
In partnership with Anglo-Chinese Junior College and NUS High School, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) organised a student-led National Education (NE) symposium. This year’s theme was “Strengthening the Singaporean Identity - Regardless of Race and Religion.” Its aim was to enable students to deepen their knowledge of different beliefs, be clear of the difficulties and chances that our multi-racial society faces, as well as foster harmony through common values. In order to do so, four key topics — global trends, education, youth and the impact of digitalisation — and their impact on race and religion were examined.
Due to the pandemic, the symposium was held in a virtual format. Different schools led discussions on interesting issues regarding race and religion. For example, the symposium covered what could be done, so that youths today can cultivate their racial and religious identity, while fostering a strong Singaporean identity. In addition, participants examined the impact of specialised schools on these issues in Singapore. Through such discussions, participants gained a deeper understanding of how various decisions affected other communities in different ways. The engaging modes of discussion and passionate speakers were effective in sparking conversations.
Various esteemed guest speakers were invited to share their insights. Mr Gurmit Singh, council member of the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) started off the symposium by sharing on the importance of religious harmony. To wrap up the symposium, Guest-of-Honour Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, made his closing speech by stressing the need for everyone to play their part to grow our common space and maintain common understanding amongst Singaporeans from different backgrounds. Both guests held a Question and Answer session, which provided meaningful answers to the students’ questions.
In all, this NE symposium enlightened the participants on the impact of current actions on race and religion, and facilitated meaningful discussion. In this digital age, social media could potentially cause conflicts over race and religion to be blown up on a much larger scale than before. The message that we cannot take our current peace for granted was imparted strongly to the attendees. Hence, the NE symposium is ever more crucial in order for us Singaporeans to Strengthen our Singaporean Identity - Regardless of Race, Language or Religion.