PCEO thumbnail

Principal's Message

My heartiest congratulations to the Class of 2014! I hope your journey in Singapore Polytechnic (SP) has been one that is filled with many memorable moments that will linger fondly in your minds for a long time.[ Read More ]

Back to Speeches

Speech by Dr Lam Yee Loy


Members of the Board of Governors, [to be confirmed on that day]

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

Parents and Graduands,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.


This year marks the 60th Anniversary of Singapore Polytechnic, celebrating six successful decades of polytechnic education in Singapore. My congratulations to all the Management, Staff and students of Singapore Polytechnic on this special year of celebration. As an alumnus and a proud "product" of SP, it is a special honour for me to be invited here today to share in your joy. Let me also offer my congratulations to all graduating students and your parents. I, too, am a proud parent as my son, Ritchie, just graduated from SP's School of Digital Media and Infocomm Technology last Friday.

SP is my alma-mater and my connection with SP dates way back to 1977. I graduated from the EC or Electronics & Communication Engineering Department, as it was known then, the Class of 80. Now you know how old I am. I fell in love with electronics during my secondary school days, and being admitted to the premier electronics course in SP was a dream come true for me.

You may not believe me, but I was quite a mischievous student back when I was in SP. My poly life was much more than the routine 4Ls of Lecture, Lab, Library, and Lunch. Did I miss out mentioning Tutorials? No, there was no such thing then, just more Lectures. Allow me to share some of the unconventional things I did when I was in SP, which interestingly enough helped me learn many important life lessons.


Back in the 1970s, Singapore was undergoing rapid industrialization, and many MNCs chose to locate their manufacturing plants here. Many engineers needed to be trained and SP was expanding beyond the capacity of the old Prince Edward Campus. A modern and well equipped poly campus was needed. Our class of '80 was also known as the nomad batch as our first year poly life was spent in a temporary campus in Ayer-Rajah.

In those days, there was no MRT, and the Ayer-Rajah Road was not yet the AYE expressway. Few buses served this rural Ayer-Rajah campus. Unlike most of the students who dutifully waited for the public bus, some of us more "daring" ones took to hitch-hiking. Have you ever tried hitch-hiking in Singapore? It was a wonderful experience then! However, it can really test your patience. If it was a lucky day, we might wait 15 to 30mins. Once we waited for one whole hour! Despite our frantic waving, it seemed like no one would ever stop for us. Not easily discouraged, we kept trying. Eventually, a lorry driver stopped for us! All of us hopped into the back of the lorry. We were lucky as it could fit all of us in one vehicle. I think you can imagine how glad we were when we moved into the brand-new Dover Road campus in our second year of study.

Sometimes, life is like hitch-hiking. You wait and wait for an opportunity, or a lucky break, but nothing comes. You just have to keep believing in yourself and hold your course. Don't be fickle minded; just keep working on it. Just like my hitchhiking experience, perseverance will always be rewarded.

Just ask

What I particularly enjoyed in my poly life was the many hands-on learning opportunities. From wiring up motors to trouble-shooting television electronics, and to working on our final year project, we picked up valuable training on a personal level and in a team.

We submitted our final year project to the 1980 Inaugural Singapore Technology Fair and unexpectedly beat the university team, clinching the first-prize in the electronics section. However, this created a little problem for us -- we did not have any decent looking table cloth to put our exhibits on when we were to meet the Press and TV cameras at the Science Centre the following day. We had not expected to win! It was a last minute thing and we also did not have the money to buy any table cloth. Then my project-mate got a crazy idea. He remembered seeing some pretty-looking window curtains in the Principal's office... So, we went to the secretary and requested for it. We actually climbed up onto the Principal's sidetable and took down his beautiful curtains to use as our table cloth! From this incident, I learned that no matter how ridiculous an idea may sound, don't hesitate, do something, just ask! You'll never know who may agree to your crazy request!

Positive Attitude

For many of you, as you move on into the workforce or to further your studies, whatever you might be doing or consider doing, be proactive : do some planning and take action to realise your plans. Most of us want to do what we like and enjoy what we do. Think about it, you will actually spend the bulk of your waking time working or studying. Don't you want to like what you're doing? Shouldn't you enjoy your work or your studies? It sounds simple, makes complete sense, right?, but ask any man in the street whether he likes what he is doing at his workplace, and more often than not, he'll tell you otherwise. But, why let yourself suffer when you do have the option to enjoy yourself?!

Here is the secret: Happiness is a state of mind. Only you can make yourself happy, because your attitude decides whether you are happy or not. Someone once said,

If you don't like something , change it,
If you can't change it, change your attitude.

The good news is that we can change our attitude. A positive attitude can turn the most irritable task into an enjoyable one.


Finally, be passionate. I particular like this quote by a German poet (Christian Fredrich Hebbel): "Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion." Do you have an intense desire to succeed? Be passionate and approach your work with boundless enthusiasm. Passion is the best motivator. Passion can be developed. In fact, passion is contagious, and can lift up the spirit of your friends, your colleagues and your boss. Do you remember someone in your sports team or CCA team who is so passionate about the sport or CCA, that each time he or she is around, you just want to do your best? Passion is contagious and a great motivator.


So, are you ready to move on to the next stage of your life? Patient perseverance, learning to "just ask", and having a positive attitude and great passion will help to bring you far. Remember, this is your life, make it enjoyable and meaningful.

Thank you.

Back to Speeches

Connect With Us