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SCMA's speech at the Opening Ceremony of 'Culture in Motion' variety show (English only)

    Following is the speech by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, at the Opening Ceremony of "Culture in Motion: A Celebration of Racial Harmony" variety show today (December 9):


Consuls-General, Consuls, leaders of our ethnic minority groups, ladies and gentlemen, and friends,


     On behalf of the HKSAR Government, I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you for joining us on a Sunday for a celebration of ethnic and cultural diversities in Hong Kong. "Culture in Motion" used to be celebrated on a culture by culture basis. Today we have a cross-cultural celebration of the different ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong. This marks an important day in our calendar of annual celebrations.  I would like to mention that Hong Kong has been so successful all these years because we are a very international city.  Hong Kong lays claim to being both east and west at the same time. The presence of so many different ethnic groups among us adds to Hong Kong’s cultural diversity. And that is why a celebration such as this marks the success of Hong Kong. 


     Here in our community we can lay claim to the best of both worlds. We have Asian work ethics and we have western professionalism. And in Hong Kong we can continue to expand on our international horizons if we can draw on the cultural diversity that Hong Kong possesses. And that is why, Consuls General and ladies and gentlemen, we, the Hong Kong Government, welcome all of you to become a full member of our Hong Kong community, to contribute to our cultural diversity and to make Hong Kong more successful in the years to come.


     Now, over the years, we have taken different initiatives to promote cultural integration and to enhance racial harmony.  This time last year, we put to the Legislative Council the Race Discrimination Bill.  It has been making progress and we hope that in coming months, we can secure sufficient support in the Council to get this Bill passed into law, to have this piece of legislation implemented, and to offer even better protection against racial discriminatory practices.


     Aside from new legislation, we have various programmes which we promote over the years and which we work on together with you to enhance our services to different ethnic groups.


     I am very pleased to see the team of people who work at the airport to provide the Mobile Information Unit to serve new arrivals and poor people who need information. Our Race Relations Unit works very closely with this group and provides other services. We have public education programmes. We have a hotline for enquiry. We also mount publicity campaigns throughout the year to ensure that people in Hong Kong will respect the contributions which different ethnic groups make to Hong Kong and will work according to the free and open society which Hong Kong represents.


     Before I close, I would like to share with you two periods of personal experience.


     When I was a child, I lived in Stanley -- my father was a clerk in the Prisons Department -- as it was called in those days.  There were many Prisons Officers who were of Pakistani and Indian origins.  I and my brothers had friends among the Pakistani and Indian children. We swam together, we played football together, we played marbles together.  We know you. You are a very friendly community. And that applies, I believe, not just to the Indian and Pakistani communities, but to all the other ethnic minorities which have a presence in Hong Kong. You have all contributed to Hong Kong’s success.


     And during the 1990s -- my second piece of personal experience, I went to Canada to establish the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto to represent Hong Kong.  During my few years there, I witnessed the energies, commitments and resources which Canada invested over the years into promoting cultural diversity and racial harmony. Different ethnic origins add to the rich cultural mosaic which Canada represents.


     Here in Hong Kong, over the years, we have promoted racial integration into our community and cultural diversity. We have a joint mission. We should make the younger generation among us, people of different ethnic origins, full citizens of our Hong Kong community so that in the years to come, they can contribute to our cultural, social, economic and political life. And it is only through such joint efforts that Hong Kong will continue to shine as an international metropolis and Asia’s world city.  Thank you very much.


Ends/Sunday, December 9, 2007