Session 5 Speech
Mr Teo Yew Meng
Regional Vice President
ASEAN Sales Future Electronics

Mr Soh Wai Wah, Principal & CEO, Singapore Polytechnic

Distinguished Guests,

Parents, Graduands,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.


  1. It is my pleasure and great honour to join you at this afternoon’s Graduation Ceremony.  My congratulations to all graduands, your families, as well as the lecturers and management of Singapore Polytechnic on this special day.
  2. This year is also the 60th Anniversary of the School of EEE. Over the years, EEE has grown from strength to strength in academia, and has continued to keep abreast of new technologies and developments in industry. As an alumnus of the School, I am proud that EEE continues to contribute significantly to building a skilled workforce for our nation. As we celebrate EEE’s 60th anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to commend every individual in SP, - past and present - who has dedicated their lives toward building our nation’s world class educational system. They have worked hard to achieve our shared dream of producing trained and skilled personnel to build a better future for Singapore.
  3. Today’s occasion belongs to all of you, graduands. Through hard work, discipline and dedication, you have completed your course and you now join the many batches of fine graduates sent out from SP to help build a cohesive and progressive nation.
  4. Graduands, today you have reached a major milestone in your lives. Your future is promising, with many opportunities and potential. For some of you, this is a pit-stop as you look for opportunities to start your career in your chosen field.  For the rest, some may have already found a job, while others are planning to further their studies.  Whatever it is, do continue to read widely and be connected with what is going on in the world.
  5. This is the beginning of a new chapter of your life. And this afternoon, I’d like to share with you 3 key factors that I hope will be useful to you.

Attitude is everything

  1. I remember my boss used to tell me this story about 2 salesmen who were sent to a new area to sell shoes. The 1st Salesman went, and at the end of the first day he reported back to his boss that it is impossible to sell shoes there as the people in that town do not wear shoes. In order to confirm his report, the boss sent the 2nd Salesman to check out the area. Like the 1st Salesman, the 2nd salesman reported back to the boss at the end of the day. However, what this 2nd salesman reported shocked the boss. He told the boss that the place has great market potential since no one wear shoes there.

    The moral of this story is that attitude is important. Having a right attitude will help us to achieve our potential in life. The next time you are faced with a challenge at work, view it as an opportunity to grow and learn instead of something negative that may result in failure.

Relevant to Transforming Age

  1. Technology is now a big part of our society and our foreseeable future. In the midst of disruptor times, it is probably only the largest, strongest or the unique one that will survive in this era. Hence we must keep to our basics and constantly learn and accept new technologies into our daily life. We will need to innovate to become strong, unique and competitive as technology is marching on relentlessly. 
  2. Having good engineers like you is just a step, and the first step. Together, we will need to utilize technology to meet and overcome today’s challenges like disruptors’ market, resource constraints, aging population and environmental concerns.
  3. For example, drones mainly used for military applications in the past are now being rapidly deployed to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural and other applications such as surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography and drone racing. Drones, once seen as an early commercial application of Autonomous Things, are now followed by the autonomous car and home robots. 
  4. Recently, our government also announced that it is introducing Autonomous Vehicles (AV) on the road. We can expect to hop onto driverless public buses by 2020.
  5. We will need to accept and embrace the fact that nothing is permanent, then we can progress and achieve greater heights.

Persevere to Gain Experience

  1. All of us knows what a vacuum cleaner does – a good one will suck up everything in its path when we are using it; by everything, I mean dirt, dust and maybe small pieces of light items. In my rookie years in Future Electronics, I earned a nickname, equivalent to today’s “Dyson vacuum cleaner”. WHY? Because I will handle any kind of customers in the company that is not wanted by any of the salesman due to one reason or another. When I started taking over those accounts, I learnt how to persevere and resolve tough issues that required going through some hard “knocks”. After a few years, I started to become confident in solving such challenges and also started to assist and guide other salespersons, eventually bringing progress to the company. 
  2. Like Sir James Dyson believe: “Everyone gets knocked back, no one rises smoothly to the top without hindrance. The ones who succeed are those who say, right, let’s give it another go.” Perseverance is important for success.

Concluding Remarks

  1. Let me go through the 3 key factors again: adopt a right and preferably positive attitude in life; be ready to embrace changes and stay relevant in the midst of disruption; and persevere in everything you do and do your best with passion.
  2. In conclusion, do remember to share your successes with your loved ones and your wealth with the less fortunate. As the Chinese saying, 施比受有福, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.
  3. Make a difference and be unique, to live your life to the fullest. Congratulations, once again to all graduands! Thank you.