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Speech By Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple Annual Scholarship and Bursary Awards Ceremony on Sunday, 5 January 2020

TOPICS: Awards

Mr VR Alagappan, President of Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple

Patron Mr Shriniwas Rai, Trustees

Mr Anbarasu Rajendran, CEO of SINDA

Award Recipients

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

1             It is my pleasure to join you to present the Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple annual scholarship and bursary awards this year.

 

2              This is the 24th year of the awards, and I understand that the Temple disburses about $75,000 in scholarship and bursary awards every year to students in need, regardless of race or religion. This embodies our spirit of national solidarity, and is aligned with the Commitment to Safeguard Religious Harmony, which the Temple affirmed last year. I commend the Temple for upholding our treasured values, and for reaching out to families from other faiths.

Community Support to Help Our Students Excel

 

3             I am also heartened that many organisations and individuals have contributed to the Temple’s Scholarship and Bursary Fund over the years. The fund was started in 1996 by the late Mr S Rasiah, a former vice-president of the Temple. To this day, his family continues to make contributions to the fund. In 2015, another temple devotee Mdm Alamelu Arunachalam contributed about $500,000 to the fund in honour of her late parents Mr Arunachalam Chettiar and Mdm Mangayakarasi Achi.

 

4             Besides financial assistance, the Temple also partners organisations like SINDA and the Hindu Endowment Board to conduct regular supplementary classes for students to help them in their studies. Through these classes, students bond with volunteers from various backgrounds who make the time to mentor and help them to achieve their potential.

The Importance of Paying It Forward

 

5             Such community support is invaluable in helping our students achieve their hopes and dreams, and many of them pay it forward by helping others.  One of them is 24-year-old Mr Ginesh S/O Kasi. Ginesh received the scholarship in 2014 and 2015, and it helped to support his pursuit of a diploma in electrical engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic. Ginesh is now serving in the Republic of Singapore Navy as a platform technician and intends to study accountancy in the future.

 

6             Ginesh has gone on to help others in his community. He has been an active volunteer with the Temple for the past 12 years. In addition to regularly helping with the major temple activities, he mentors the children who attend religious classes in the temple. I encourage all the student recipients today to similarly do your best, pursue your aspirations, and help to lift others in our society.

 

Conclusion

7          Let me conclude. For more than two decades, the Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple has worked with donors, volunteers and partners to organise this annual award, which has benefitted thousands of students. This shows the good that a community can achieve when it comes together. My warmest congratulations to the 206 students from primary to tertiary levels who will receive scholarships and bursaries today. May it help you to go further and do better.

8          I wish you all a Happy New Year. Thank you.

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