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The Sino-Singaporean cultural exchange event, “Calligraphy, Tea Culture and Silk Road Photography”, was held at Reignwood Hamilton Scotts, one of central Singapore’s key Asian landmarks, on February 19, 2019, the same day as this year’s Chinese Lantern Festival. The event was co-hosted by the Chinese Culture Promotion Society, the Chinese Tourism Development Alliance and Reignwood Culture Foundation with the support of VOSS. Well-known Chinese and Singaporean luminaries in the fields of culture, finance and trade participated in the event in celebration of the traditional Chinese holiday.

Building a platform for cultural exchanges between China and Singapore

The Silk Road Cultural Exchange Center was established on the same day with the goal of building a platform for non-governmental cultural exchanges between China and SingaporeChina’s cultural counsellor in Singapore Que Xiaohua joined hands with Belt and Road General Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong) co-president and Reignwood Group chairman Yan Bin to unveil the stone plaque in commemoration of the founding of the center.

Counsellor Que said, “Through showcasing traditional Chinese culture, such as the Chinese tea ceremony and traditional Chinese medicines, the event promotes cultural exchanges between China and countries targeted by the Belt and Road Initiative, of which Singapore is a key target, helping create a receptive environment for the implementation of the initiative.”

“We bring Chinese calligraphy and tea culture to Singapore, an attractive investment destination within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, as a means of promoting China as a country of beauty and one that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. The establishment of the Silk Road Cultural Exchange Center is expected to strengthen the friendship and promote cultural exchanges between the Chinese and Singaporean peoples,” stated the chairman, Mr. Yan. “As a Chinese businessman, I would like to make greater contributions to the ongoing promotion of cultural exchanges between the Chinese and Singaporean peoples and to the common economic development of both countries as well as to the formation of the Marine Silk Road.”

Investment drives trade development

Over the recent years, focusing on the key mission of their joint participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, on a practical level, China and Singapore have engaged in collaborative efforts across various fields with the ultimate goal of achieving mutually beneficial prosperity. According to available data, China has been Singapore’s largest trade partner for six consecutive years, while Singapore has been China’s largest new source of foreign investment, also for six consecutive years. The initiative, a new model of international economic cooperation, provides additional impetus to Chinese companies contemplating investment in the targeted countries. Investment drives trade development, while promoting development in those countries has become a new and important trend.

During the event, organizer Reignwood inked a strategic cooperation agreement for its VOSS natural mineral water project with Octopus Group, a leader in the trade of consumer packaged goods across Southeast Asia. The two parties plan to increase their investments with the aim of jointly expanding the SE Asian market for the mineral water.

In 2015, Reignwood acquired VOSS, an international bottled water brand that originated in Norway, and in 2016, put in motion a project to establish a plant in Zhuxi County, Hubei province, with total investment exceeding 1 billion yuan(approx. USD 150 million) and an annual production capacity of 250,000 tons. Through a combination of environmental protection, good manufacturing practices and education, the group has been supporting poverty alleviation efforts. Reignwood has been awarded the Poverty Alleviation Award of the Year by the 13th People’s Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for VOSS water’s clear taste and the success of the “VOSS water for poverty alleviation” campaign.

Cultural exchanges facilitate the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative

The Silk Road Tour – Belt and Road Photography Exhibition, Tea Culture Exhibition and Calligraphy by Masters Exhibition were staged during the three-day event held from February 19 to February 21. Chinese artist Jiang Kun and Shaanxi Provincial Calligraphers Association secretary general Wang Gaimin, among other famous Chinese calligraphers, participated in a contest during which they demonstrated their calligraphy skills and capabilities in choosing the most meaningful characters to place on the New Year couplets that they had to create impromptu. New Year couplets are a collection of black or gold-colored Chinese characters written on strips of red paper that are then affixed to both sides of the front door of a home. The characters express happy and hopeful thoughts for the coming year. During the Tea Culture Exhibition, the 18-step tea art performance sponsored by VOSS water products, and an interactive activity, where participants drank water from a winding canal that had one wine cup floating on it as a supplication to reduce the likelihood of future misfortune. The performance helped showcase the unique mineral and floral flavors characteristic of Chinese tea, as well as the spiritual and aesthetic qualities that are associated with water in Chinese culture. Guests were given an opportunity to take part in a professionally curated display of Chinese culture with a focus on art appreciation, calligraphy and a healthy competitive spirit. In addition, leading luminaries in the world of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) from China and Singapore were invited to participate in a TCM-based health regimen-themed seminar designed to raise awareness of the importance of personal health and wellbeing.

Exhibits displayed at the photography event included Belt and Road-themed works by world-renowned photographer Michael Yamashita, as well as the micro replica of the East Indiaman Gotheborg, a sunken ship that once carried goods along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. The Silk Road Tour – Belt and Road Photography Exhibition is now in its 18thedition. During the past two years, Reignwood Culture Foundation has twice held the exhibition in Singapore. The foundation had also made it part of Singapore Regional Business Forum 2016 hosted by the Singapore Business Federation, yielding the event much praise.

Good mountains and good water give birth to good tea, while the whole is about nature. Staying true to one’s authenticity and integrity is a fundamental part of one’s contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative. The Calligraphy, Tea Culture and Silk Road Photography event strengthened the friendship and promoted cultural exchanges between China and Singapore. Designed to stimulate trade development through investment, the event also helped build a framework for joint discussions, sharing of ideas as well as the development and implementation of mutually beneficial projects. The two countries look forward to many future opportunities for collaboration in line with the objectives of Belt and Road.