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Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance at the opening of i Light Marina Bay 2018

  Published: 09 March 2018
I am very happy to join all of you here again for the i Light Marina Bay festival. I believe we have many friends from overseas here, so a very warm welcome to Singapore as well. 

i Light started in 2010, and this is our sixth edition. Every year the event gets bigger and better. This year’s showcase is on an even larger scale. And this year for the first time, we have installations on display extending beyond Marina Bay to Esplanade Park. 

In many ways, i Light Marina Bay represents our commitment to keep Marina Bay a special place for all Singaporeans. We want Marina Bay to be known not just as a place with beautiful architecture, but also one with buzzling activities for everyone. That’s why Marina Bay is also host to many events that Singaporeans have come to know and love. We have the National Day Parade here, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown every year, the River Hongbao which had just concluded, and of course, i Light Marina Bay has now become part of our annual calendar as well. 

We want Marina Bay not just to be a centre of commercial activity, but also a destination with something for everyone – a place where people can come to enjoy, to jog and cycle, to have a picnic, or to have a stroll to admire our beautiful skyline. We want Marina Bay to evolve as a place for all Singaporeans to co-create and shape together – a place that will continue to be distinctive and special in our Little Red Dot. 

It is fitting that this year’s edition of i Light Marina Bay focuses on community participation towards sustainability, and as you may have heard just now, several installations have a collaborative element, using recycled items which were contributed by members of the public.  

We’re also very happy to showcase the work of young designers from our local institutions, including an interactive artwork by a group from Nanyang Technological University, and another one by students from Raffles College of Higher Education. All the artists are here, including those from Singapore as well as many from abroad who are here to support us in this event, so let’s give them a big round of applause to thank them. 

It is also very heartening that the i Light Marina Bay has also become a platform for international collaboration. Last year, our Singaporean artist Lee Yun Qin went on to present her i Light artwork at festivals in the United States of America and Poland. And later this year, Singaporean artists William Kwan-Terry and Kenny Chia will present their artwork at the LUX Light Festival in New Zealand.  Singaporean artists are going overseas, and we too are welcoming artists from abroad. We welcome such international collaboration and exchanges. 

I am sure the installation will highlight the message of sustainability. As all of you make your way around the bay to enjoy the installations, don’t just look at the aesthetics, but think about what they convey in terms of sustainability.   

Beyond awareness, we also want to practise sustainability, to demonstrate it with our actions. This is why we are once again running the annual campaign as part of i Light Marina Bay, for organisations in Marina Bay to save energy by switching off non-essential lighting and turning up air-conditioning temperatures. We are famous in Singapore for having very low indoor temperature, so turning up the air-conditioning temperature by one to two degrees will still be very comfortable, while saving energy at the same time. I am happy that 67 organisations have pledged to participate this year, and are committed to our mission of keeping Marina Bay an eco-friendly district.  

Finally, I am happy to announce that we will have a special edition of i Light Marina Bay next year. As I have said, this is an annual event, and we usually have to wait one whole year for the next year’s edition, but in 2019, we will have a special edition in January. You don’t have to wait the whole year, and this is to kick-start the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration.  

The year 1819 was a turning point in Singapore history, where Sir Stamford Raffles landed and he shifted the trajectory of Singapore’s development, into one very different from what it used to be. That’s why we are here today. Incidentally, I understand researchers say that Raffles landed in Singapore in January 1819, and that’s why we are kick-staring the bicentennial commemoration with the i Light Marina Bay in January 2019.   

To commemorate the bicentennial, we will expand i Light Marina Bay next year into the historic Civic District and Singapore River precincts. I look forward to having light installations illuminating the entire Singapore River. I think this is especially appropriate for us to do this for the bicentennial celebration, because for hundreds of years, the Singapore River was where people from all over the world were first drawn to our shores, to find opportunity, pursue a better life, and sink roots here. The river today continues to be a diverse and bustling meeting place, and this is a testament to Singapore’s enduring appeal and strength as a centre for Asia and the world. 

I look forward to your support for next year’s event, and I hope many more will come forward to be part of next year’s i Light Marina Bay, to help us tell the story of who we are, and how far we have come together. 

In conclusion, let me thank everyone who was involved in this year’s festival. Because of your hard work, we have made this event possible, and the results are here today for all of us to enjoy. 

On that note, I am happy to declare i Light Marina Bay 2018 open, and I wish everyone a delightful evening with your family and friends. Thank you very much.