18 Sep 2021 Posted in [Speeches]
Mr Ivan Ho, President of the Singapore Pawnbrokers’ Association (SPA);
Prof Chong Tow Chong, President of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD);
SPA Committee members,
- I’m very honoured to be here today with you.
- SPA’s centenary celebration is taking place after much delay due to COVID-19. Congratulations on having this centenary – 100 years – it’s a huge milestone.
- Holding a successful book launch during a pandemic is not easy. The fact that you can do this shows the Association’s resilience and its ability to adapt to the circumstances.
- And you have raised $500,000, very impressive in these times, with the support of your excellent donors. Thank you very much for your contributions. This money will go to an endowment fund to help SUTD students in need. This is the way our society progresses: we focus on education, the different parts of the community come together to help. Again, you are showing very traditional values. I thank SPA for this fundraising effort, and your commitment to helping society.
SPA has played a key role in the development and growth of the pawnbroking industry over the last 100 years:
a. You have helped the industry remain relevant and sustainable.
b. You have helped pawnbrokers modernise over the entire 100 years, as times have changed. Today, the next challenge is going digital, digitalising the pawnbrokers, so you are helping in that.
c. Over the years, you have also helped to raise the standards in the industry. You developed a code of business ethics, you emphasised the need for corporate social responsibility.
d. And importantly, you have also served as a bridge, a link between the Government and the industry. You have given us feedback from the pawnbrokers on what works, what doesn’t work, and you have helped to communicate to pawnbrokers government policies and approaches.
Particularly during this pandemic, you have been a very important partner for the Government and for the industry:
a. You communicated industry’s feedback to my Ministry, on safe distancing rules and other measures.
b. You worked with the industry to help them put in place these measures, which were introduced as we tackled the virus.
c. You came forward to waive one-month interest on pledges pawned, in respect of the Circuit Breaker period. That really helped people on the ground reduce the financial burden on them, for those truly in need.
- SPA’s role during this period has been significant. I appreciate that SPA and the pawnbrokers co-operated and worked closely with the Government, my Ministry, in implementing these measures and other measures.
- The pandemic has also, of course, shown the importance of going digital. We have been working closely with SPA and pawnbrokers on this. For example, on the renewal of pledges, we suggested allowing the renewals to be done online. Of course, we had to make sure there are sufficient safeguards put in place. The industry saw that the number of requests for online renewals rose during the pandemic.
- The Law Ministry will continue to work closely with SPA and the pawnbrokers to support your digitalisation and transformation.
- Congratulations again on your centenary, and also the launch of your commemorative book! We wish SPA continued success.
- 100 years ago – if you can think back, when SPA was first formed – if you had asked any of them there what the world would be like and what Singapore would be like, it would have been impossible. No one thought that the British Empire would ever cease to exist.
- Today, 100 years later, it is an independent Singapore, a completely changed Singapore. Your children, my children, they’ve all grown up in a very different Singapore. Some of you here probably still remember British rule, but many don’t.
- Now, we can’t say what life is going to be like in Singapore in another 100 years. It will be a very different Singapore.
- But associations like SPA can continue to do well, as long as we all remember one basic point: we have to continuously change in order to keep up with the times. You can never talk about, “it was like this yesterday, it was so good yesterday”. Yes, but yesterday is gone; tomorrow is here, and we have to keep changing. As long as we keep changing, Singapore will survive, the pawnbroking industry will be good, and SPA will celebrate another centenary in another 100 years. We won’t be there, but it can succeed, provided the values are there.
- Congratulations! Thank you.
Last updated on 18 Sep 2021