“We must treasure the harmony we enjoy,” said PM Lee, noting how race and religion have sadly become divisive fault lines in many countries and that we must never let it happen in Singapore.
In a Facebook post on Racial Harmony Day on 21 July, the Prime Minister shared a photo of celebrations of the day at New Town Primary School last year.
He said in his post, “We worked long and hard to arrive here, and we must work even harder to preserve this peace for future generations.”
Wishing people a ‘Happy Racial Harmony Day’, PM Lee highlighted how schools in Singapore have been commemorating the occasion by by dressing in ethnic costumes, putting up skits, and recalling our shared history of interracial relations.
“Such scenes,” he said, “are unique to Singapore – we embrace our diversity and celebrate each other’s customs and cultures, but also remember the times when tensions between the ethnic and racial groups boiled over into conflict and violence.”
DPM Heng Swee Keat, in his own Facebook post commemorating the day said, “it’s delightful to see all of you post photos of your little ones decked out in traditional clothing to celebrate our different races.”
He shared photos of celebrations at a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots kindergerten where the children were dressed in traditional clothing.
He continued, “Of course, harmony is about much more than what we wear on the surface – it’s really about the respect for one another that we carry inside us, and the ways we behave to show that.”
Racial Harmony Day remembers the race riots of 1964 which DPM Heng says “is an affirmation of our commitment to being a society where all races and cultures can live in peace and harmony.”
“Let us never take our precious racial harmony for granted,” he said.