Speech by Mr Theodore Chan Eng Chye



SPEECH BY MR THEODORE CHAN ENG CHYE
PRESIDENT
SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS

AT THE POLYTECHNIC’S 53RD  GRADUATION CEREMONY
FRIDAY, 17 MAY 2013, 2.00PM (SESSION 5)

 

Mr Tan Choon Shian (Principal & CEO Singapore Polytechnic),

Mr Lim Cher Yam (Senior Director, Architecture, Design & Environment Cluster)

Mr Daniel Tan (Director, School of Architecture & the Built-Environment)

Lecturers and Staff,

Parents and Guardians, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, and most importantly, our newly graduated Diploma Holders …

  1. I’m indeed very happy to be addressing you today, especially the new Diploma Holders … this day really belongs to you and I congratulate you on your great achievement ….

  2. Young People Today:
    1. In many of my exchanges with colleagues and parents, people of my generation, I often ask them what they thing of our young people today. And these are some of the more common things I hear:

    2. Generation X, … Generation Y … soon to be Generation Z …

    3. They are a different breed … you can’t discipline them the same way our parents disciplined us … or else they will run away …

    4. We don’t scold them anymore … instead we need reach out to them … have more dialogue and understand their problems …

    5. They are not in touch with the reality of life’s challenges … How are they going to survive and face life when they can’t even take care of themselves …

    6. Their future is bleak …

    Parents … does this sound familiar to you? If I did not know better, I would say young people today have a serious PR problem with parents …

  1. But looking at you today, all smartly dressed in your graduation finery, the fact that you have worked hard and attained your Diploma from an World Class Institution of Higher Learning like the SP … and ready for your next big thing in life … I would say that you have bucked this worrying trend and for that I am indeed heartened and encouraged that a good number have chosen otherwise and to believe in the virtues of becoming socially responsible citizens, adding value to all humanity … Simply put, that is what life and education is about

  2. Your lecturers, parents and I are history … or at the very most, the present … but You … you are the future … and all of Singapore is  depending on you …

  3. Your challenge is even greater than ours, because while we took Singapore from colonial kampung backwater to first world city … you challenge is to re-invent Singapore … A Version 2.0 … you have to take us to the stars … literally (Anecdote: Space-mining and Astronauts … how cool is that …)

  4. But Singapore society at large has prepared you well … Your parents, your lecturers, your government ….

  5. I marvel at the wonderful educational facilities and teaching establishments that we have in place for you today … we have invested billions of dollars providing you with some of the best education and opportunities that money can buy …

  6. You have become knowledgeable, confident, brave and someday we hope that you will become wise too … but today, when we look at you, we stand hopeful that our investment has indeed paid off!

  7. We have greatly empowered you … And with great power come great responsibility … (Spider-man …)

  8. But you owe big time … you owe Singapore … and you start pay- back responsibly now … How? Here are some suggestions:

  9. Suggestion 1: Stay focused in your career choice. Be realistic and sincerity of interest will take you there. Desire to excel and prove your self-worth. And remember, it’s more important to do little things with great care, than try and do a great thing with little care.

    Desiderata: Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

    Don’t worry: If you work hard and do good in your career … the money will come …  It’s the natural order of business …

  1. Suggestion 2: Respect your elders, be kind and gentle to them, especially your parents … (Anecdote: children taking care of their parents: 25 years ago … If you have no children, who’s going to take care of you when you get old? … Today: you’ll be lucky if they don’t ask you to take care of your Grand Children when you get old)

  2. Bill Gates Rule 7 (for High School Seniors): Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are.

    They were also ‘happening, hip and cool’ like you, before … They became ‘boring and uncool’ look this way now because they gave everything for you to be hip and cool and smart

  1. Suggestion 3: Have a spirit of volunteerism and give back to society … (Anecdote: Black Hawk Down … Leave No One Behind …) … The sophistication of a society can be measured by how well they treat their less fortunate and underprivileged …

  2. For paradoxically, that is the hallmark of a true leadership … to serve … What is point of being a leader when you can’t serve the people well …?

  3. And even when you’ve become the next BIG-THING thing … do not forget the brotherhood of our profession …. Take time and effort to give back to society, the profession, the board, the institute … and when called upon don’t ever ask … What’s in it for me?  …  Band together and better still … volunteer your time and effort on public initiatives (Anecdote: I have no regrets volunteering as SIA President … In fact, I have taken away much in learning exposure, knowledge and confidence …) assure you will be most pleasantly surprise that you will take away so much more of professional development than you put in … together you have louder voice and greater collective wisdom and knowledge representation in resolving the challenges …

  4. Suggestion 4: Its ok to be adventurous in life and career, so long as it is meaningful and adds value to your life or societies …

  5. So once again, congratulations to all our new Graduates you’ve worked hard and you deserve to celebrate and be celebrated …

  6. Don’t forget to thank your lecturers … it may seem difficult at times … but they only have your interest at heart …

  7. and most importantly … thank your parents, guardians, and family … for without them, you would only be living for yourself … and what value-add is there in that … Enjoy the Graduation and proceedings … Strive to be happy! For it is after all, still a beautiful world … Thank you …
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