Singapore Soka Association

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Singapore Soka Association or SSA is the Singapore affiliate of Soka Gakkai International (SGI)[1] SGI is a 12 million strong multi-ethnic Buddhist association in 190 countries and territories globally promoting and practicing the Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Singapore Soka Association is a Buddhist society established to promote understanding and practice of Nichiren Buddhism. The organization was officially registered with the Registry of Societies in 1972. SSA became a registered charity in 1985.

Koh Kian Boon was the first general director and under his leadership the rapidly expanding association grew to be one of Singapore's active grassroots-based bodies contributing to the newly independent nation's community and social fabric, most notably through the participation in the annual National Day Parade[2] and Chingay Parade[3] performances.

Soka[edit]

Soka in Japanese means to create value. The name reflects and affirms the Association's commitment to create value in society through its community movement for peace, culture and education.

Soka Renaissance[edit]

Together with SGI, SSA embarked on a program titled Soka Renaissance, a period of reformation which aimed at developing a more humanistic and embracing organisation. Its stated goals included emphasizing enlarging spheres of mutual trust, friendship and positive engagement first within the association and as well engaging in numerous dialogues and exchanges with various youth, religious, educational, arts and community groups.

Organisation[edit]

Membership[edit]

SSA is currently led by Mr Tay Eng Kiat who took over from Mr Ong Boon Chai in 2011, and is organised into the adult arms of the Men's (MD) and Women's Divisions (WD), and the youth arms of Young Men's (YMD) and Young Women's Divisions (YWD).

The youth arm also involves the Student Division (SD), consisting of students from the tertiary and pre-university institutions, the Future Division (FD), consisting of students from the secondary schools, and the Primary Division (PD), consisting of primary school students.

Collectively, the YMD, YWD, SD, FD, and PD are known as the SSA Youth Division.

SSA Youth Division[edit]

The 7000 strong SSA Youth Division [4] seeks to provide Singapore youths with platforms to engage in activities and services that foster leadership, responsibility and service to community, guided by its core values of respect for the dignity of life and value-creative living.

The Division's members operate the Soka Youth Centre in Pasir Panjang catering to youth outreach activities, notably its weekly Friday Rendezvous concerts, development programmes[5] and projects[6].

In July 2005, the Division was conferred its inaugural Singapore Youth Award (Team) 2005 for Community and Youth Services in recognition of its role in fostering the spirit of youths serving the community. [7]

Centres[edit]

Reflecting the grassroots appeal of the global SGI, SSA members and friends gather in community buildings known as Soka Centres. It has eight Soka Centres[8], distributed throughout the island state. Each provides a place of worship, and its own specific function: one is a Women's Centre, one a Youth Centre, one a Training School, one a Cultural Centre, one a handicraft/ costume/ prop making centre, one a memorial cum columbarium, one a kindergarten and one the overall headquarters.

The association takes pride in the fact that its headquarters was officially opened in January 1993 by the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong. This was an event unprecedented in SGI.

The centres also provide venues for inter-faith exchanges, educational seminars, arts and performances, and other roles such as being disaster relief collection centres during the Indian Ocean Tsunami which struck in December 2004.

Schools[edit]

The association also runs the Soka Kindergarten [9], an affiliate of the Soka School System [10], which commenced in January 1993, and comprises a multi-ethnic student enrolment.

External links[edit]