A Chinese Language and Culture Fund was launched in Singapore Wednesday, aiming to raise the level of competence in the Chinese language and promote the Chinese culture among Chinese Singaporeans, especially the younger generation.
Initiated by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) in October 2004, the fund will financially support creative projects and activities organized by local educational institutions, companies or organizations in line with the above-mentioned aims.
Kwek Leng Joo, Chairman of the Administration Committee of the fund and former President of the SCCCI, said at a press conference that the fund is set up timely in the context of the rapid economic growth in China.
"You can not communicate and do business successfully with your Chinese counterpart if you do not know the Chinese language and culture well," Kwek said in Chinese.
It also echoes a series of measures taken by the Singapore government in the past two years to promote the teaching and learning of the Chinese language, according to Kwek, who expects warm response to the initiative.
So far, the fund has received donations of over eight million Singapore dollars (about US$5 million) from 17 local foundations, organizations, private companies and individuals.
The two leading Chinese organizations as initiators aim to raise a total of 10 million Singapore dollars (about US$6 million) for the fund, the sum the government has been committed to matching on a one-for-one basis.
About 78 percent of Singapore's population are ethnically Chinese.
(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2006)