Antigay Letter from Siow Chai Pin (Ven)
|A very warm greeting to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at this Christmastide!
It is after much prayer and with a heavy heart that I send you this open letter.
Celebrate Christmas In Singapore Ltd (CCIS), though registered as a company, is a Christian non-profit making inter-denominational (independent churches included) setup supported by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS). The purpose and objective are to proclaim the real reason of celebrating Christmas to our fellow residents in Singapore . That is Jesus Our Saviour Is Born. Contrary to the popular belief, this national event started last year in 2004, is Church initiated and led and not mooted and financed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The fact was that a group of church leaders approached STB in early 2004, seeking for assistance to help us to secure Orchard Road as our main venue to celebrate Christmas in Singapore . The CEO of STB, though a non-Christian, graciously agreed to help. Without the support from STB, CCIS would not be able to put up stages in the Civic Plaza in front of Ngee Ann City , the plazas in front of Paragon and Tong Building . The closure of Orchard Road for Christmas celebration would be impossible and the floats driving through the heartlands would not be possible too.
This year Celebrate Christmas In Singapore are also being organised in Chinatown, Queenstown, Bukit Batok and Yishun with the help from the local churches and community leaders such as mayors, MPs, CCC, local businessman associations etc. In a real sense, we have brought the message of Christmas to the people all over Singapore .
In a national event of this scale, inevitably we might have overlooked certain things and have made some mistakes as we are all part-timers and so shorthanded. If we have offended you or hurt your feeling in anyway, rest be assured that it is unintentional and we sincerely apologise and pray that you would forgive us in the love of Christ.
We cannot take for granted that CCIS will continue in the years to come. Out of 95 participating churches and organisations, 73 have contributed to date. Our budget for this year is $800,000 which is low compared to Chinese Chinggay’s $2 millions. But to date we have only received about $320,000. We cannot expect STB to bail us out for it is not their baby in the first place. The Buddhist sect, SUKA, has already asked STB for the use of Orchard Road . The gay activists, have also approached the authorities for an international gay parade at Orchard Road on Christmas Eve. [emphasis mine, not Ven Siow's] If we, the Church in Singapore , give up our right of presence in the public at Christmas, the Christmas Tree may be called the Holiday Tree in future as it is already happening in USA . Even the name Christmas Season may be changed to Holiday Season as it is what happens now in Birmingham , UK .
I am by nature an introvert who prefers to shy away from the limelight and enjoys working in the backstage. I am hoping that someone would take over the CCIS co-chairmanship which I am holding currently. The CCIS Chairman Rev Oh Beng Khee is Chinese educated, so am I. Our networking is somewhat limited to the more Chinese speaking churches which are weaker than the English speaking churches in Singapore . I pray that more English speaking church leaders will rise up to the occasion and continue with the race. I give you my words that I will continue to give CCIS my fullest support and continue to be a member of CCIS Executive Committee if invited.
Please feel free to forward or circulate this open letter of mine to all those whom you think may be concerned.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Yours sincerely in Christ and co-worker in His harvest field,
Siow Chai Pin (Ven)
Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese of Singapore