1 First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to Mr Ng Keng Hooi, AIA Group Chief Executive & President, Mr Tan Hak Leh, AIA Regional Chief Executive, Mr Patrick Teow, AIA Singapore Chief Executive Officer, Mr Trevor Xie, Founder and Director, Children’s Wishing Well and, Mr Danny Chan, Director, Children’s Wishing Well.
2 I want to start by thanking all of you today for coming here today, for the AIA Charity Golf Dinner. It is the fourth year that you’re having this dinner and this year, there’s a worthy purpose once again — raising funds for the Children’s Wishing Well to support children and families in need.
3 Now, each of you will know, whether you’re a parent yourself, whether you have kids in your family, or even when you were growing up yourself. You know that every child has a story. Every child has a story. And we know that in the story of life, we don’t get to choose our parents. We don’t get to choose when we will be born. We don’t get to choose the situation that we find ourselves in when we’re just starting out. We don’t get to choose that.
4 But what we can choose, each of us — what we can choose, is the kind of future we want to build. We can choose what kind of society we want to build. We can choose what kind of community we want to be. And, tonight, each of you by coming to this charity golf event, by supporting this charity, by supporting this act of community — you have made that choice as well. To make a more inclusive and caring community. Because it takes all of us. It takes all of us to make our society more inclusive. It takes all of us to send a message that when we look out for one another, when we draw strength from one another, that is how - together - we make a community better; how we make places better; how we make neighbourhoods better.
5 That is also how we make a stronger Singapore, a more cohesive Singapore: that everyone of us can call home. That again is something each of us can choose to do and how we help communities, how we give of our time, our resources and our heart.
6 And, corporates like AIA have a role too, as you’ve shown these few years, in driving social responsibility projects. Because when you reach out into society, when you reach out into communities, when you reach out through your employees — it’s not just about what we call CSR (corporate social responsibility). It’s about shaping stories – shaping the stories of beneficiaries, shaping the Singapore story. And when you work with social service agencies and charities, it helps you touch more lives in a collective way, as you’ve done tonight and over the past few years.
7 When I talk with my friends from Children’s Wishing Well, we also see that Children’s Wishing Well has evolved how you engage and connect with beneficiaries. You believe in what we call an empowering narrative, when you introduce new programmes in communities. And, again, narratives matter because stories matter. Every child has a story. And the narrative you speak shapes that story. The story of a life. So I was very encouraged when I heard that Children’s Wishing Well sees our people not as “what’s wrong”. Not “what’s wrong”, but “what’s strong”.
8 And this has to be the way forward. Looking at someone and saying “what’s strong” because, as all our friends from Children’s Wishing Well know — in each of you, you have strength. Both what is strong in you today and what you will become even stronger in, tomorrow. The strengths that you can nurture and discover, for tomorrow.
9 I’ve seen this when I meet some of the kids from Children’s Wishing Well and meeting some of the kids in Clementi who are also beneficiaries. And one example of a new project that Trevor and Danny and the team are doing at Children’s Wishing Well is by replacing the traditional dry groceries supply programme with something called “FRESH” which stands for “Fresh gRoceries for Every Students’ Home”. It’s a supermarket shopping trip — some of you may have joined in as well — where volunteers go with our kids to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, within a budget. And our kids get to choose their own food and at the same time, listen to our volunteers, hear about nutrition, budgeting, decision making. And there’s something very special about that because it’s not just about the groceries. It’s also about walking together, learning life skills which will help long after the groceries are done.
10 And as each of you who has walked with our kids knows, when volunteers walk together with our children, it transforms two lives: the life of the child and it transforms the volunteer. And I think all our volunteers understand that instinctively.
11 And so I’m very happy to learn that the funds tonight will go towards this as well as many other programmes like the student bursary awards — helping 100 families from Children’s Wishing Well in light of AIA’s 100 years in Asia.
12 On this note, I want to thank AIA, Children’s Wishing Well and our sponsors for all your efforts. I also want to thank all our kids from Children’s Wishing Well for being our little heroes in our community. We really salute you — let’s give them a round of applause!
13 And I hope that everyone here continues to give and show your support, so that together, we can look into each person’s heart, each person’s story — and say: It’s not about what’s wrong. It’s about what’s strong.
14 Just as we make our kids stronger, we make each of our hearts stronger. And that’s how we make our little country Singapore just that little bit stronger.
15 Thank you very much and I wish you all an enjoyable evening. Thank you very much. Thank you.