Session 1 Speech
Ms Suiniaty Basirun
Singapore Country Manager
Dow Chemical Pacific (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Mr Soh Wai Wah, Principal and CEO of Singapore Polytechnic

Members of Singapore Polytechnic Board of Governors

Distinguished Guests

Parents and Graduands

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I am very happy to join you this morning at Singapore Polytechnic’s 57th Graduation Ceremony.

  2. Today marks an important milestone for our graduands and I would like to start by congratulating all of you on this achievement! 

  3. I also want to recognise the family members, friends and SP staff who have played an important role in your journey. Can I ask all graduands to please join me in giving a round of applause to the staff of SP and to all the parents and loved ones seated here today?

  4. There are quite a few exemplary students with us today. I have a few examples to share with you, hopefully inspiring you that everything is possible, as long as you put your heart on it. Given the excellent training you have received in SP, I believe the sky is the limit.

  5. We have our SP Scholar and Model Student Award recipient, Christine Ng Li Ti from the Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science. As President of the Student Chapter and Youth Community Leader in Life Community Service Society, she has championed many successful community projects with external partners in community centres, YMCA, Rainbow Centre and Willing Hearts.

  6. During her internship with Johnson & Johnson, her outstanding performance won her a ‘Silver Encore’ award for her contribution to the company’s event “Kids@Work” which is in addition to her work commitments.

  7. Asked for the secret behind her civic mindedness, she revealed coyly that it was her overseas service trip to Jin Tang, China which taught her the true meaning of serving. The concept of “empathy over sympathy” matured in her during those days when she helped many different vulnerable groups including the elderly, the mentally ill, the handicapped and the young.

  8. Our youth never ceases to amaze me as I have another Model Student Award recipient who is also a SP Engineering Scholar. An inspirational role model whom his peers and even his lecturers admire and respect, Liew Zheng Jie from the Diploma in Chemical Engineering had a humble academic background from the “N” Levels.

  9. Determined to deepen his technical skills, the vertical stroke of the “T”, he chose to undergo industry training twice during his vacation when the norm was once. Similarly, to broaden the horizontal bar of the “T”, he did three overseas community service projects to augment his social and team skills.

  10. Last but not least, Chia Pei Ting from the Diploma in Applied Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Science has distinguished herself as a champion of the environment. As President of the SP Environment Club, she was a key organiser of the S. Rajaratnam Youth Model ASEAN Conference in 2015 and many other important environmental events including Earth Hour in SP and Clean and Green Week.

  11. Despite her petite appearance, she has a big heart to continually care for her committee members and fellow students. In her words, “their wellbeing is my number one priority or the event will falter if the team is depleted.” Wise words indeed. During a community service project in Vietnam, she was the “vitamins and water lady” as she went around handing out vitamins and encouraging others to hydrate themselves.

  12. Besides celebrating your successes, I wish to impress upon you that a future of endless opportunities is ahead. I will provide some pointers to help you better navigate the future.

  13. First and foremost, never stop learning, try out new things and your life will be richer.

  14. Your journey to the outside world has already started when you start your internship. I sincerely hope that you have gained relevant industrial experience and insights on your career options. The contacts from your internship should have become part of your professional network. I would not be surprised if some of you have been invited to work in the same company after your graduation, as this only reaffirms your abilities and appealing working attitude.

  15. You may also have heard of SkillsFuture, the government’s initiative which offers modular courses, study awards, fellowships, mentorships and schemes intended to upgrade, upskill and reskill oneself.

  16. SkillsFuture is not just for fresh diploma graduates, it actually applies to everyone in the Singapore workforce regardless of their career stage. It is a good monetary resource to tap onto for continuous upgrading.

  17. The upcoming Future@Work programme aims to prepare our workforce with the right skills and mindset to take advantage of the opportunities in the future economy. You can look forward to bite-sized, modular programmes that aim to build the awareness, knowledge and competencies needed in Singapore’s future economy.

  18. Another useful tool is The Skills Framework. It provides key information such as workforce profiles, career pathways, wage trends and desired skillsets of each identified occupation to guide you in becoming a professional in a specific sector. The Skills Framework is complete with a list of training programmes to address skills gaps and for skill advancement.

  19. Your options to further your learning should extend beyond SP. There will be more continuous education and training programmes offered by various approved training organisations under SkillsFuture. Do not be afraid to try them out if you believe they are useful to your career.

  20. As the saying goes, one can only reach an advanced level by mastering the basics. You have the basics now. Master them and only then can you advance up your career ladder. Switch ladder if you have to but the strategy remains the same.

  21. Let me share this story with you about Sister Madonna Buder from Washington. At 86 years old today, she has competed in more than 40 Ironman Triathlons, after she was first introduced to running when she was 48 years old. In 2005, she became the oldest woman to ever compete in the Hawaii Ironman, and that’s when she earned her nickname “Iron nun”. Her extraordinary resilience as she faces challenges and her refusal to conform to the conventional ideas of age get her featured in the recently Nike ads, showing her running, swimming and biking. Her humble quote “Setback is not failures. The only failure is not to try. Your effort in itself is a success”.

  22. Closer to home, I also like to echo the words of our late first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he has encouraged all of us to look at the horizon, follow the rainbow and go ride it!

  23. I congratulate all of you once again on your graduation and wish you every happiness and success as you write your new chapter in life.

  24. Thank you.