2019 - May
Address by Mr Kon Yin Tong President, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants at Temasek Polytechnic 2019 Graduation Ceremony (Session 5) on Monday, 6 May 2019, 5.30pm at Temasek Convention Centre
06 May 2019 Category: Speeches
Mr. Peter Lam, Principal & CEO, Temasek Polytechnic
Members of the Temasek Polytechnic Board of Governors and School of Business Advisory Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good evening to all of you.
Today marks a significant milestone for the 356 graduands of Class 2019 for Diploma in Accounting & Finance, Diploma in Business Information Technology and Diploma in Marketing. It is my pleasure to join you on this special occasion. My heartiest congratulations to all of you!
As we celebrate your academic achievements this evening, let us also acknowledge those who have supported you in this journey – your parents and other family members, friends and lecturers, many of whom are here today.
Looking towards the future
Your graduation marks not the end of a significant phase in your life but the commencement of an exciting journey of new beginnings. New beginnings where new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and blockchain await you. New beginnings where the business landscape has revolutionised in recent years and present you with a new economy and endless opportunities. I am confident your three years with TP has prepared you for the fast-changing business world ahead.
Your three years with TP may have come to an end. But this is the start of a journey of lifelong learning. Learning never ends and especially so in today’s workforce.
Other than the need to learn continually, I have learnt that there are certain timeless attributes that contribute to one’s success in life. This is speaking from my own professional experience as a public accountant. And I hope that these five attributes that I am sharing with you today will be helpful to you as you carve out your own path.
Today, we are living in a global society, and the world is your oyster. I encourage you to not just look at Singapore but consider venturing into the region for career opportunities. For instance, there are many opportunities in the growing ASEAN region, where it is set to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030.
As you broaden your experience and gain exposure in global markets, more opportunities will be open to you in the increasingly globalised business landscape.
So, having the courage to venture out and be willing to take well-considered risks would be one attribute.
Ethics and Integrity
As you progress in your life journey, you need to demonstrate to the people around you that you are someone who can be relied on. This is tied closely with having ethics and integrity. In life, there will be times when you will be faced with difficult choices. It is important at these junctures to choose the right path, which may not necessarily be the easiest path. But I can assure you that those who walk the straight and narrow path of integrity will never be led astray in life.
The third quality is grit, displaying persistence to stick to your goals even when the going gets tough. Having grit takes a combination of resilience, ambition and self-discipline, and gives you the power to get up after being knocked down. Each time, we must come back better and stronger. According to a Japanese proverb “Fall seven times, get up eight”. Having this trait will help you weather the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Respect for others
The fourth quality is showing respect for others. As you enter the working world, you will have the privilege to encounter people from all walks of life.
Be respectful of individual differences and show empathy instead of judgment. There is an African saying “If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, walk with others”.
By treating others with respect, you will also be able to gain their respect. This will enable you to build fruitful, happy relationships, which is important to your success in not only your professional but also your personal lives.
Lastly, the fifth attribute is showing compassion. As you progress in life, remember to give back to society. As the saying goes, “no man is an island”. We are all inter-connected. The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” I believe that by making a positive difference in the lives of others, you will find your purpose, with happiness as a by-product of a purposeful life.
Before I conclude, I would like to say something about Industry 4.0. Also known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 is permeated by AI, digitalisation, robotics, IOT, computerisation, data analytics and so on. What underpins the success in these areas is not computer engineering, or coding, or mathematics or science. These are important but what underpins the success of Industry 4.0 is creativity, adaptability and innovation. You are young so if you are not already creative, adaptable and innovative, there is time to catch up.
I hope my sharing helped spark your own thoughts about how you will plan your life. In your life story, you are probably only at the first or early chapters. Life is full of infinite possibilities for you, and I hope you will make full use of all the opportunities presented to you, to grow, to develop and to be the best version of yourself.
Paint your life story and let every chapter of it be meaningful and enriching. With this, I wish each and every one of you many fulfilling and inspiring chapters ahead. And in time to come, you can reflect on your life story and say to yourself that you had indeed had “The Time of Your Life”.
My heartiest congratulations once again to the graduands of 2019!
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