Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State (Health) at the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADEAF) Family Day 2014, 31 May 2014

Dr Christopher Low, SADeaf President

Mr Francis Tang, Chairman of SADeaf Family Day 2014 Organising Committee

Ladies and Gentlemen

Boys and Girls

1.         First of all, a good morning to one and all!

2.         It really gives me great pleasure to be here with all of you today, you and your family members in “Family Fun Day 2014” at Resorts World Sentosa.

3.         I hope that you will really enjoy yourselves today and spend more time with your family. Indeed, it is a good opportunity, especially as many of us have very hectic lifestyles. In addition to taking time to relax and to spend time with your family, it is very important also, to look after your health. If you have good health, you can take care of your health, and you can then take care of your loved ones and family. And how do we take care of our health? By taking a balanced diet, balanced meals, and exercising regularly, by not smoking, and going for regular health screening.

4.         So to encourage Singaporeans to lead a healthy lifestyle, our Ministry of Health has launched the Healthy Living Master Plan. The idea of the Healthy Living Master Plan is to make healthy living accessible, easy and effortless for everyone. So how do we do that? We do that by providing healthier food choices at the hawker centres, in schools and the workplaces, and we also make the exercise facilities available at the workplaces and in the community. So it will be easier to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

5.         With good health, you can also achieve your goals and aspirations. So I am reminded of Mr Isaac Liang, whom I read about. He was born deaf, but he has great talent. He is now a very well-known and sought after illustrator-artist. I also hear of Ms Lily Goh, who just got the prestigious Singapore Woman Award. She overcame all her challenges and made a difference to the lives of people in the deaf community both in Singapore and overseas.

6.         So we want to continue to celebrate people like Isaac and Lily, and build an inclusive community. We will continue to develop policies and measures to strengthen our support for people with special needs. In Budget this year, we announced more subsidies for children with special needs through the early intervention programme, as well as enhanced subsidies for transport, more tax relief for parents with children with special needs. And now, MediShield covers congenital and neonatal diseases. And with MediShield Life, everyone, all Singaporeans, even with pre-existing conditions, will be covered. In healthcare, we have developed the Healthcare 2020 Master Plan, to make healthcare accessible, affordable and of high quality. No Singaporean will be denied access to healthcare because he cannot afford it.

7.         For the deaf community, I understand that for people with hearing impairment, they rely on text messaging, online communications or their accompanying caregivers to talk to their doctors and other healthcare professionals at the healthcare institutions. To further help with communication, our hospitals also use staff who know sign language, pocket talkers, pictorial communication books and language cue books to communicate with people with hearing impairment. This is in line with our objective to provide more quality care and we will continue to see how we can improve to provide good quality care to everyone.

8.         Last but not least, I wish to thank the sponsors, especially Resorts World Sentosa and Lee Foundation, and all the private sponsors for making this event possible. I also wish to thank Mr Francis Tang, the Chairperson and his organising committee, for this wonderful initiative to create a "Family Fun Day” for everyone, and please give them a round of applause.

9.         I hope this spirit of community inclusiveness, and emphasis on family and community bonding will become more widespread, more pervasive. Together with fellow government agencies, my Ministry and many more stakeholders, will endeavour to provide stronger support for all Singaporeans with disabilities to keep social mobility up.

10.       In this way, we can build a caring nation, an inclusive nation and a nation of opportunities for everyone. So I wish you a most enjoyable day and weekend ahead. Thank you.

 

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