Venerable Abbess Manshin, President Bernie Siew, MPs Hon Nicky Wagner, Poto Williams and Dr Duncan Webb, Community Board Members, Helen Broughton & Aaron Campbell, and Consul General Wang, members of the interfaith community, especially Imam Ibrahim - As-salāmu ʿalaykum - we understand why it was hard to come - thank you for coming and opening your heart to us today - we feel your pain and we will walk with you and our Muslim brothers and sisters for as long as it takes.
Thank you to the Buddhist Light International Association SI and Fo Guang Shan for the invitation to join you again today for a ceremony that is deeply meaningful in light of the events of the 15th March and the weeks that have followed.
I have said that we will not be defined by what happened on that day; we are defined as a city and a nation by the outpouring of grief, love, compassion and kindness that followed.
And together we have stood in awe of the capacity for forgiveness and love expressed by those who have lost the most. We have been humbled and inspired.
And look how that has echoed across the world. Peace has triumphed over violence, unity has triumphed over division and love has triumphed over hate.
And as you do every year, you have invited us to celebrate compassion, the joy of giving, peace and love in the context of the anniversary of the birth of Buddha, represented as it is by the shared values that underpin all faiths as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Your prayer today asked us to be respectful of each other regardless of race, creed or colour. We can commit to that in our hearts and minds and we can live that every day
Thank you for opening your doors to us all, and for making those values real in your deeds.