Singapore Soka Association Celebrates 40th Anniversary
On July 7, 2007, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a Youth Festival at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Various SSA cultural groups and volunteer staff numbering 2,500 drew on their unique talents to put on a spectacular show for an audience of 10,500. The festival began with a traditional lion dance, combined with a martial arts demonstration. This was followed by a spirited baton performance and a children's choir singing selections from The Sound of Music. The young men's brass band and the young women's fife and drum corps combined for a moving rendition of a classic Chinese song. Next, the Sunflower Dance Ensemble provided a romantic interlude with their performance of the Italian ballad "Nella Fantasia." The energy and passion of youth was conveyed as hundreds of young men and young women took the stage and performed dynamic choreographed formations. The celebration also included a video retrospective on the history of SSA.
Friends of SSA and distinguished guests from various civic organizations also attended the event, which paid tribute to SSA pioneers and members for their sustained, dedicated efforts that built the foundation of the Singapore organization. To mark the occasion, the People's Association and the Ministry of Defense presented SSA with Certificates of Appreciation. Beyond Social Services bestowed a Certificate of Commendation on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and the SSA Youth Division. Dr. Fatimah Lateef, member of Parliament and director of Mercy Relief, also presented a gift to SSA for its peace building efforts and friendship.
With only one dress rehearsal, the festival was put together in two months. Unique to the festival was the way in which the different SSA culture and performing groups combined and supported one another. Many of the performances were backed by live music and choral singing provided by the Soka New Century Orchestra, the Rainbow Chinese Orchestra and three SSA choral groups. The combined efforts of the many groups, made up of men and women, young and old, gave the festival a heartwarming, family atmosphere.
Sister Janet Wang, Director of Mercy Relief Board and Canossian Sister, St Anthony's Canossian Convent, commented, "Congratulations to all SSA members on your 40th Anniversary; I really hope that the young SSA members, who tonight have shown such vibrancy and enthusiasm, will continue to uphold the underlying values of SSA: working for peace, unity and harmony; living and supporting the values of life, compassion and friendship. These are very important values that are all based on love. So I'm very happy to participate in tonight's event and I feel honored and privileged to receive the SSA Goodwill Award. I think that such occasions help to bond us closer together."
[Adapted from an article in the July 25, 2007 issue of the SSA Times, Singapore Soka Association, Singapore. Also reported in the July 23, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan.]