SPEECH BY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JOHN WONG CHEE MENG
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM PLANNING OFFICE
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
AT THE POLYTECHNIC'S 54TH GRADUATION CEREMONY
FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2014 (SESSION 5)
Mr Hee Joh Liang, Deputy Principal, Singapore Polytechnic
Parents and Graduands
Faculty and Staff of Singapore Polytechnic
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the invitation to join in your graduation ceremony today! I am honored and privileged to be here today at the 54th Singapore Polytechnic Graduation Ceremony to celebrate with you the success of the graduating class!
It gives me great pleasure to first congratulate all the graduating students on this happy occasion to witness your collective success and achievements through this important learning journey.
I would like to specially congratulate the proud parents and family here. With your love and support, your children and love ones are presented as the graduates today, making real their unique education achievement at the Singapore Polytechnic.
To the teaching faculty, you are congratulated on another of your success bringing up the graduating class. As the passionate educators, you have touched the lives of your students who passed through your door, imprinting in them the values, imparting your passions and knowledge. I believe they will always be grateful to each of you as their Teacher and Mentor!
For the graduates, it may have been a long and arduous road for some, while a breeze for others through the past three years of study and internship at this campus and partnering institutions. The new learning pedagogy, advanced in-campus learning support, innovative project work and industry internship both locally and overseas, and most importantly the many friends you made these years in SP, has shaped and imprinted in you a unique life experience that you would be proud, and be equipped for the next lapse.
Today, we celebrate the graduates and award winners from the School of Chemical & Life Sciences and SP Business School. You have all arrived, at where you were working towards in the past three years. The time has now come, to ask yourselves 'what is next?'
You are now on the cusp of the greatest journey of your lives. And that journey is called 'The real world'. Most of you will be looking deep within yourselves for a purpose. The clarity of your purpose, its relevance to you, your aspirations, and your dreams.
As a graduate, you are at an enviable point in your lives - the cross roads. You are aware that the road you take from here on, will further shape your destiny. And that makes the question of 'what now' that much more urgent, that much more important.
Theologian Howard Thurman said it best. He said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." So it's time to find out what really makes you come alive, and pursue that goal with renewed vigor. Some of you have overcome much to be here.
As we celebrate with the class of successful graduates here, I take note of special mention of graduands who distinguished themselves and draw our admirations.
Mr Lam Ying Sheng , the 2014 SP Institutional Award recipient, is one who has a humble background but given his best in SP, scored a perfect GPA and graduated top of the DFI cohort! Ying Sheng has been offered the scholarship to read the inaugural dual degree programme offered by the Singapore Management University and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Mr Alan Bong Jun Hao , a perfect success story to illustrate pursuing one's dream and passion. The JC student, who was offered to read economics in Singapore Management University, decided to start all over again three years ago to pursue his passion in finance and IT. Today Jun Hao graduated with 22 distinctions and 10As in DFI course that he thoroughly enjoyed, and successfully clinched an IDA scholarship to read the degree-master fast-track program with Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Many of the graduates today have also been successful in take off their careers in the sector of their choice. Ms Chng Xiu Fang who is currently employed by her internship company, is a perfect example to illustrate the attributes of positive learning attitude and the "never give-up attitude" that today's employer values. The avid dragon boat paddler, who is always eager to take on more challenges, juggled her intensive training schedule, school work as well as a part-time job well with sheer determination and an eager learning attitude.
Since its inception, about 15-20% of graduates of the Diploma in Nutrition Health and Wellness have been awarded scholarships for undergraduate programs such as the MOHH Healthcare Merit Awards for Allied Healthcare Professionals, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Scholarships and SIT-KKH Scholarships. These students progress to further study in areas of dietetics, nutrition, sports science and physiotherapy.
I am specially heartened that graduates have also made Singapore Poly proud overseas; Mr Tan Chuan Kiat Benny; graduate from the Diploma in Optometry course who received the Model Student Award 2014; he was the student in charge of the vision screening program Laos in 2013. A team of 20 SP Optometry students and 2 lecturers conducted eye tests over a 2-week period; 900 locals were screened and about 800 spectacles were dispensed.
Indeed, Singapore Polytechnic has much to be proud of in its students. The varied achievements of this year's graduate's stands as a testament to its values, and its proud tradition of equipping graduates with real world skills. 'To Serve with Skills' is the motto that SP so truly honors with this graduating class.
In closing, I would like to encourage all graduates to give a little of themselves. The poet Maya Angelou always says, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give". These are powerful words to live by, and they are the essence of a life well lived.
A shining example is Mr Isaiah Chng, Singapore Polytechnic alumnus and founder of Proage, a social enterprise that develops and delivers health and wellness programs to the silver age community, has provided mentorship through intern attachment programs to DNHW students and employs them after graduation.
All of us, I believe, in our own small ways can find ways to give back to society, especially in being kind to others. As I am a Psychiatrist by training, I must quote one! Theodore Isaac Rubin rightly states that Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
With that, let me leave you with sincere wishes for a bright career ahead and wisdom to guide you through it. Thank You!