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Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat for SICCI's Charity Golf Dinner Tournament

Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat for SICCI's Charity Golf Dinner Tournament

Chairman of The Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI), Dr. T Chandroo,
SICCI Board of Directors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to join you today at the inaugural Charity Golf Tournament organised by SICCI. SICCI will be turning 95 this year. Even as SICCI continues to grow in strength, I am heartened to see that the Chamber is passionate about promoting corporate social responsibility.

2. This spirit of giving back to the community has always been strong among our Indian business leaders. One of the Indian pioneers of Singapore, Naraina Pillai arrived in Singapore in 1819, accompanying our founding father Sir Stamford Raffles on the latter’s second visit to Singapore. 

3. Pillai started out in the civil service but soon saw a business opportunity after observing the rapid rate of houses being built in developing Singapore. He established a brick company and became the first recorded Indian brick business owner and first Indian building contractor here. His business soon expanded to textile and cotton goods, but was hit by a fire disaster that burnt down his bazaar and landed him in debt. Nonetheless, Pillai was able to rebuild his business soon after. 

4. Besides growing his business, Pillai was also keen to serve the growing Indian community in Singapore. He put in a lot of effort to build a Hindu temple. His vision and determination culminated in the construction of the Sri Mariamman Temple at South Bridge Road in 1827. The temple still stands at its original location today and has been gazetted as a National Monument. To commemorate Pillai’s contributions to Singapore in our bicentennial year, which marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Raffles, his statue is one of the four standing together with Sir Stamford Raffles at Parliament Place until the end of the year. 

5. I am glad to see this spirit of giving back to the society flying high with today’s Charity Golf Tournament. This is important because businesses exist within the context of a society. Besides building shareholder value, businesses also have a social responsibility towards the community and environment in which they operate. Corporate social responsibility is not a box-ticking exercise. It should be organic, dynamic and proactive. SICCI’s Charity Golf Tournament is a good example of this. 

6. Today’s tournament aims to raise a substantial amount for the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF). CCF is a non-profit organisation with a mission to improve the quality of life for children with cancer and their families through enhancing their emotional, social and medical well-being. CCF provides children with cancer and their families much-needed support in their battle against the life-threatening illness. Your contributions today will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of these children and their families.

7. I strongly encourage more businesses to do their part as responsible corporate members and give back to the community even as they strive to grow their businesses. Besides having birdies and eagles, it is important to also keep our spirit of giving back to the community flying high. 

8. On this note, I would like to thank SICCI for organising this event and for all of you here who are passionate about giving back to the community. I would also like to extend my best wishes to SICCI on the occasion of its 95th anniversary. 

9. Thank you.
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