Singapore: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city state belongs to all those living here that includes permanent residents and employment pass holders and was a special place to celebrate annual festivities amidst diverse groups.
Addressing a community celebration of the Indian New Year last night, Lee said: "Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here, all participating in one big Singapore family... So that we feel that this is a place which is special, which belongs to all of us and where we all celebrate one another`s festivals and happy events together."
Dressed in red Kurta, Lee joined 600 residents at a community club of his constituency, tried his hand at a Thanjavur painting which was on cultural display and watched performances by classical Indian dancers.
Lee said the event was an embodiment of the theme, "Rhythms in Unity", as well as on a larger scale where everyone participates as one big Singapore family.
The Indian New Year fall on April 14 but some communities celebrate on different dates as per celebrations held in different parts of India. Singaporeans usually use weekends to celebrate on a large scale amidst multi-cultural society with one of the big celebrations held annually in the PM`s constituency.
Indian makes up about 9 per cent of over 5 million Singaporeans and those living here. Chinese accounts for 74 per cent and the Malays form 13 per cent of the population.
Past reports have noted Singaporeans having discriminated against newly arrived migrants. But Lee`s government has emphasized the importance of new migrants for boosting the city state`s economic growth and future prosperity.