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08 Sep 2018

Speech by Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Former Senior Minister of State for Law & Home Affairs at MDIS - Bangor University Graduation Ceremony on 8 September 2018, Saturday, 10am at Raffles City Convention Centre, Stamford Ballroom, Level 4


Good morning,

Dr Ahmad Magad, Senate Chairman, MDIS

Dr Eric Kuan, President

Dr R Theyvendran, Secretary-General,

Professor John G. Hughes, Vice Chancellor, Bangor University;

Distinguished Guests,

Graduands and Parents,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1  I am happy to join all of you today, especially our proud graduands and their family members, on this very special occasion.

2  First of all, let me express my appreciation to MDIS for bestowing the Honorary Fellow Award on me.  I accept it  with humility and gratitude, dedicating it to especially my parents, spouse and children and many volunteers from all walks of life who have supported me all these years of my public and community service.

3  I have been involved with MDIS since 1997, attending many of its functions. Over this period, MDIS  grew from a single campus in Singapore to having several overseas campuses - a significant first overseas campus in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; a second in EduCity, Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia and more recently, a third joint-venture in Chennai, India.

4  In 2016, the Institute celebrated its 60th Anniversary. It has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1956. I commend MDIS for its achievements on the academic front and in introducing relevant skills-based programmes to meet Singapore’s evolving manpower needs, and also, its caring spirit for the community.  In particular, it is noteworthy that, keeping with its tradition of giving back to society, MDIS has, in the last 23 years, provided scholarships and bursaries to diverse groups of Singaporeans in need of a helping hand, including our Police and Civil Defence National Servicemen. In fact, these Police and SCDF awards were initiated when I was an office-holder at the Ministry of Home Affairs.  Thank you, MDIS. 

5  Graduation ceremonies are always memorable. I extend heartfelt congratulations to all graduands on this milestone - a result of your hard work, determination and perseverance.  Credit must go too to your loved ones, who have supported you in your studies. You have overcome  many challenges to secure a top degree from Bangor University.  The strategic partnership between both institutions has provided excellent higher learning opportunities for graduands like you.

6  Many of you will be starting a new chapter in your life.  Tapping lessons learnt and past experiences, new opportunities and challenges await you. As you meet these challenges and seize these opportunities confidently, it bears remembering that in a fast-changing world, you must make the effort to stay relevant.  After all, learning is a never-ending process.  I have learnt this in my 14 years as a university don at the National University of Singapore Law Faculty, 18 years in full-time politics and 8 years now into my retirement from politics. The continuous acquisition of knowledge and skills is a crucial mindset to have.

7  Let me share with you the three Rs that can take you to the next stage of your professional development.  They are Resilience, Resourcefulness and Responsibility.

8  First - Resilience.  This is a quality that binds the individual, enabling him to press on and persevere in the face of adversity.  It is what is needed to help the person stay the course, come what may.  It spurs the individual to pick himself up when he falls; to keep trying to do his best. In today’s digitised world economy where smart technologies and automation have ushered in new challenges, this is particularly important.  Prepare and equip yourself with knowledge and skills to overcome such challenges and ride the tide of change.

9  Second - Resourcefulness. This is a key attribute that has brought Singapore to where it is today.  It is about innovation and creative thinking, and having an entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it is in our shortage of land, lack of natural resources, F1 and the hot weather, supply of drinking water, creation of parks, rehabilitating our prisoners and drug addicts or housing a population of 5.6 million in 712 sq km of space where people do not feel crowded in, Singapore has adapted and continues to adapt till today. Resourcefulness is especially vital in this rapidly evolving economy where there are no fixed formulae for success and where each person will need to push new frontiers to chart his own destiny. A resourceful person sees a challenge in every constraint and turns it into an opportunity. 

10  Third - Responsibility. It is a trait that empowers the individual to be committed to himself, his family, society and country.  A responsible person recognises that he or she cannot exist apart from society and that he or she has obligations to the community as well. Responsibility is what will motivate a person to be civic-conscious and to contribute to the betterment of community and country. Not just working for self, but also working for the good of society, and in the process, deriving a sense of purpose, identity and paying it forward. 

11  It is my fervent wish that all of you will embrace these 3 Rs: Resilience, Resourcefulness and Responsibility. These attributes have served me well in all of my working life, including my 20 years in public service. Equipped with a degree that is recognised globally, you can look forward to an exciting future. May Resilience, Resourcefulness and Responsibility be key attributes that will steer you firmly in your life ahead.  All the best.

Thank you.

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