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Speech by
Mr Lance Little


Mr Tan Choon Shian,
Principal & Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Polytechnic
Distinguished Guests,
Parents and Graduands,
Staff of Singapore Polytechnic,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening,

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today to acknowledge this tremendous milestone in the lives of our graduates here at Singapore Polytechnic.

You are embarking on a life in science, a very broad subject which exhibits itself in many ways and touches our lives at all levels. Whether we are watching humans living in the vacuum of space at the International Space Station, or simply texting a friend to meet up after the ceremony tonight, science is a never ending field and is always with us.

Tonight, however, we are here to acknowledge this group of graduates who have chosen to start their journey with the “science of the human”. Be that Biomedical Science (my own background), Biotechnology, Food Science, Health and Wellness, Optometry or Nutrition, you have chosen a pathway beyond science, but one where science is the vehicle which will improve human lives.

I would like to share 2 journeys with you; the first is that of a company.

More than 100 years ago, Fritz Hoffmann turned a pioneering idea into reality: namely that a partnership between business and science can improve lives. This symbiosis created a vehicle whereby business success was directly fuelling scientific endeavor.

A constant cycling of this concept over the decades with a focus on unmet medical needs has provided a framework for extremely talented people, many of whom started from where you are today, to directly impact the lives of millions through diagnostic and pharmaceutical developments.

The importance of these developments is often forgotten and I would like to highlight two different examples. The HPV test for early detection of Cervical Cancer in women (elaborate ……….). Another example is the importance of a simple potassium test to the surgeon during bypass surgery (elaborate ……….).

The second is my own personal journey, as I had also sat at a graduation ceremony very similar to this, having completed my degree in Biomedical Science with a specialty in Biochemistry.

That journey has taken me through the healthcare environment within hospital laboratories where we get a clear insight into the role we play and the importance we have to patients and clinicians.

After 10 years, I was fortunate to be offered a role in a commercial company where I could take my experience and apply it in a different way, whilst constantly learning and gaining new experiences. All the while knowing that, if we all did well, we would save people’s lives.

Science and health are a powerful combination and I would offer the following advice for you to consider:

  1. Constantly strive for understanding. Knowledge is useless without understanding.
  2. Be brave. Challenge current paradigms. Remember at one time, it was a fact that the earth was flat!
  3. Take all opportunities you are able to. You never know where you will end up on this journey.

Congratulations to you all and I wish each of you success on this fantastic journey.