Speech by Mr Eugene Wong

FRIDAY, 17 MAY 2013, 9.30AM (SESSION 4)

Mr Tan Choon Shian
Principal, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Polytechnic

Distinguished Guests

Parents and Graduands

Staff of Singapore Polytechnic

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good morning. I’m greatly honoured to be here today at the 53rd Singapore Polytechnic Graduation Ceremony. Today will be a significant milestone for every single one of you. I congratulate all graduands and award winners on your achievements, both academic and non-academic.

  2. In the midst of all of you today, I have noticed some remarkable achievements:

    1. Yap Jun Yuan/Rusli Yanto represented Singapore in the finals of the Regional FedEx International Trade Competition 2012 in Hong Kong last year.

    2. Kohgilavani d/o Selvakumaran was awarded the Singapore Polytechnic GLO Scholarship to fund her 24-week internship in Disney World, Florida. Off campus, she once volunteered to go on a 12-day expedition to the Philippines to help rebuild the villages in Zambales after the deadly Typhoon Ketsana.

  3. However, for all graduands, do not look at today as the end of your education journey. Rather, look at it as the start of a lifelong learning process. I am very pleased for those who have been accepted to the local universities. And for those who have yet to decide, Singapore is now a hot bed for private education. I strongly encourage all of you to continue your pursuit of a degree and lifelong learning.

  4. There are many examples of those who graduated before you that continues on this journey.

    1. Serene Koh Sze Chiah, graduated from SP in 2006, is now pursuing a Master of Finance at Cambridge University after receiving a prestigious scholarship from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

    2. Yuen Tong Rii, who interned at the Fairmont Hotel for 6 months. He made such a positive impression that after his National Service, he was granted a full scholarship by the Raffles City Hotels for his studies in the Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration at UNLV – Singapore.

  5. I, myself, am a strong believer of lifelong learning, even until now. I completed my first degree in Business Administration in NUS and while I was serving in the Singapore Navy, I concurrently took an overseas MBA programme from Imperial College London and also completed my professional CFA certification.

  6. In 1998, I joined a Private Equity firm thereafter a technology company. In 2002, I started my own venture capital firm, Sirius Venture Capital.

  7. Since young, I never imagined doing my own business. So I can share with you that starting my own venture capital firm were due to a pull and a push factor.

    1. Push: the company I was working for was moving out of Singapore. What should I do?

    2. Pull: I realized the opportunity in helping SMEs grow given a good strategy, competence and wise capital.

  8. What do I learn from this? I firmly believe that we should not be fearful about change and restructuring, but it is during these life phases where breakthroughs start to happen.

  9. Also, be faithful in the little things. Many people look only at the big and overlook the small things. They forget the fact that it is the small things that will grow into big things.

  10. For example, when we got involved in Paradise Group (the Group behind Seafood Paradise, Paradise Dynasty), they had three locations: Defu Lane, Mosque Street and the Singapore Flyer. We have worked with them on strategy, equity financing and also helping them get bank financing. Now, they have grown from 3 to over 30 outlets.

  11. Another example is Ajisen Ramen. Ramen is usually seen as a small business. We didn’t see them as small when Ajisen China had 40 stores. Rather we worked with them and assisted them in strategy and capital and eventually listed the company in 2007. Currently, it has grown from 40 stores to 700 stores all across China and Hong Kong.

  12. So I would like to leave you with three advices that I have learned over my life journey and I hope that it can guide you in yours:

    1. I urge you to continue to learn. Don’t stop learning and learn not just for paper qualifications but to gain wisdom.

    2. Have a good attitude. Think big but do your small tasks well. Do your job well and it will bring you there.

    3. Be bold. Have the boldness to step into the unknown and take the opportunities that is presented in front of you. Do not be afraid of changes and restructuring.

  13. Once again, I extend my heartiest congratulations on the successful completion of your studies at Singapore Polytechnic and wish each of you success in your career and further studies.

  14. Thank you.
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