Members of the Board of Governors,
Mr Low Wong Fook
Principal, Singapore Polytechnic,
Distinguished Guests,
Parents and Graduands,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

1.      It gives me great pleasure to join you at this joyous occasion.  My heartiest congratulations to you on your successful completion of your course of studies from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Singapore Polytechnic. To arrive at this stage of your journey in life, you would have worked hard and made quite a few sacrifices. I also congratulate the parents who are here with us today. You have made it possible for these bright young people to achieve this success.

2.      Today as you proceed to the next lap of your life journey, allow me to share with you some thoughts.  I would call these the three Cs. These are:

          1. Confidence in yourself,
          2. Courage to aim high and take on new challenges, and
          3. Continue to remain relevant.


Confidence in Yourself

3.      The first C – Confidence in yourself.

Your course of studies has provided you with relevant skills and knowledge. I believe too that the polytechnic education has equipped you with the requisite attitudes, qualities and skills to navigate in a rapidly changing environment. These include communication and thinking skills, ability to learn independently, teamwork and sound values.

4.      Moreover, in the process, I am sure; you have learnt to know yourself better. You are aware of what you are good at; these are your strengths, and the areas that you need to improve upon; these are your limitations.

5.      As bright young people, you have the whole future ahead of you. It is now up to you to make it as bright and exciting as you want it to be. Do not be constrained by your limitations. Rather, focus on your strengths and continually hone and sharpen them. Believe, and have confidence in yourself.

It is said - you can succeed if others do not believe in you. However, you cannot succeed if you do not believe in yourself. 

6.      You need not look far to draw your inspiration. Here, amongst you, I was told, there are two special students. Although they are hearing-impaired, they attended the same lectures, did the same practicals and tutorials like any other students. Yet despite their disability, they have succeeded in completing the diploma in Computer and Network Technology as other students have, because they believed in themselves that they could.


Courage to Aim High and Take on New Challenges

7.      The second C is Courage to aim high and to take on new challenges. As you take the first step in the next stage of your life journey, chart your journey with the destination in mind. Decide what you want out of life and what you wish to become say, 5, 10  or maybe 20 years from now.

8.      Imagine and picture in your mind, this illustrious person that you want to be. Challenge yourself to aim high to become this illustrious person. I assure you that there is still plenty of room at the top; it is at the bottom that is crowded. However, wherever you are in your vocation, be humble, remember to count your blessings and celebrate the moment. Treat everything that crosses the path of your journey as stepping stones towards the achievement of your ambitions and goals.

9.      Muster the courage to embrace the unknown.  George Bernard Shaw wrote, “You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" Sometimes in life, you need to question the status quo. There will be times when we need to challenge the known and embrace what could possibly be. 

10.    Let me share with you a story.  In the late 1800s, in the Northeastern region of America, there was a thriving ice industry. The late 1800s were the days when there was no refrigeration, as we know now. To prevent perishable food from spoiling, you need blocks of ice.

11.    The ice industry then consisted of companies, which could be called ice harvesters. Just as farmers would harvest their crops and market them, the ice harvesters would cut huge blocks of ice from the lakes that were frozen over in winter. They then transported and sold these blocks of ice around the world. By the time the ice-carrying ships reached countries like India, some of the ice would have melted, but there was still sufficient amount of ice that remained frozen. That was enough to make a profit.

12.    You could have probably guessed that soon, other companies appeared on the scene which put the ice harvesters out of business.  The first of these companies were the icemakers, companies that invented mechanical icemakers. Wherever these icemakers were located, ice could be made at any time of the year. You no longer have to depend on frozen ice from the Northeastern part of America.

13.    The icemakers themselves soon faced the same doomed fate as the ice harvesters. With modern refrigeration, the icemakers became redundant too.

14.    Back to the ice harvesters. Why were they put out of business? They did not have the courage to challenge the known, and embrace the unknown. Instead, they chained and locked themselves to their own outdated methods and did not adopt better and newer technology. They thought of more powerful saws to cut frozen ice, better storage so that the cut blocks of ice would not melt so fast, and faster ways to transport the ice. These were all useless in the face of the impending competition.


Continue to Remain Relevant  

15.    The third and final C – continue to remain relevant. You are graduating at a time when the Singapore economy is experiencing healthy growth. The economic outlook remains positive, and you are in a good position to seize the opportunities that await you.  You could not have asked for a better time to graduate than now.

16.    However, I know that you are fully aware too that the world is experiencing continuing changes brought about by globalisation, rapid advancements in technology and the emergence of new knowledge-based economies.  As such, you cannot be complacent.  Just as you must have the courage to embrace the unknown, you will need to embrace lifelong learning to continue to remain relevant and contribute to the workplace in the years ahead. I am confident that you will be able to do this, as I am pleased to note that lifelong learning is imbued amongst SP graduands, in line with the polytechnic’s mission statement.

18.    As graduands from a school that will mark its 50th anniversary this year, you join the ranks of many who have graduated from this school.  Draw inspiration from your  alma mater as to how it continues to remain relevant over the years, and responds to the ever-changing demands of the industry for manpower training - be it for the electrical and computer control engineering, computer and network technology  or aerospace sectors of the industry.



19.    To the graduands today, you have an exciting future ahead of you. Seize the opportunities and meet head-on the challenges that may come your way.  You will not falter if you equip yourselves with the three Cs – confidence in yourselves, courage to aim high and take on new challenges, and continue to learn to remain relevant. Your polytechnic training has given you a head start in life.

20.    Once again, my congratulations to all graduands. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Last updated/checked on 24 May, 2007