SPEECH BY RADM TEO CHEE HEAN,
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION and 2nd MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF MIND SPORTS OLYMPIAD SINGAPORE 2000,
ON WEDNESDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2000 AT SINGAPORE EXPO @ 7.25 PM
Mr Eddie Teo Permanent Secretary Public Service Division Prime Minister's Office
Dr Tan Chin Nam Permanent Secretary Ministry of Manpower
Mr Tony Buzan Mr David Levy Co-founders of Mind Spots Olympiad World
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 We have heard a lot about the New Economy where knowledge, skills and creativity are critical success factors. Competition has become keener and more global. Progress in technology has accelerated the speed of change. Although no one can be sure which sector of the New Economy will emerge a winner, we know that we must be able to react fast to whatever changes that may come our way if we want to continue to be successful. The ability to create new opportunities and react with a sense of urgency to whatever changes goes beyond mere skills. It requires an agile mind that is innovative and bold in its thinking, open to new ideas and experiments, sensitive to the events around us and the emerging trends, and adaptable to the new demands.
2 How do we develop and nurture such a mind? The answer is simple - lifelong learning. Only when we continuously learn new things would our mind remain agile - open, creative, and adaptable.
3 When we think of learning, we tend to think of schools. Yes, schools have a special responsibility to help each of us come to terms with the challenges of growing up, of the changing demands on different stages of our life. They prepare our young for the future. In line with the new economy, schools are also changing with the times. In the old economy, schools focus on the transmission of knowledge and skills. And we have done well. Our students emerged as top performers in the international science and maths competitions.
4 In the new economy, where value-creating ideas count and good ideas from all levels are strongly encouraged, transmitting knowledge and skills alone is no longer sufficient. We need to cultivate in our students the ability and the habit to think creatively and to experiment with new ideas and new ways of doing things. I say habit because it is an ability and a desire that we want the student to carry over into his adult life even after he has left school. Only then would he continue to learn and be well equipped to meet the challenges of the new economy and to seize the opportunities that it presents. Our school teachers understand this need and are moving ahead to develop their students accordingly under the concept of "Thinking Schools, Learning Nation".
5 Learning, however, need not, and should not, be confined to schools in a classroom setting. Learning can take place anywhere and in many forms. As new-born babies, we learn through our senses, through mimicking, through exploring. The presence of the mind looms larger and larger as we progress, from handling small objects and simple movements to playing games. Games are great learning aids. The more complicated they are, the more they develop the mind. Not only that, they give us hours of fun. The challenge for us is to spread the use of games as a learning tool, not just for young children, but for adults as well, for that's where a person can have fun and develop the mind at the same time.
6 I am therefore glad that the Civil Service College - Institute of Public Administration and Management, together with MSO Pte Ltd, is organising the first ever Mind Sports Olympiad in Singapore. This 4-day event aims to promote thinking, creativity and learning through fun and various thinking games. The event is part of the Singapore Learning Festival spearheaded by the Ministry of Manpower.
7 Mind Sports Olympiad typifies what every Singaporean needs to do - exercising the mind regularly in a fun way. Our mind defines who we are and what we do. There is no victory more satisfying than to win a battle of the mind. Whether it is education, business, sports, warfare, you name it, the battle is always first won in the mind.
8 Mind Sports Olympiad Singapore 2000 is the Olympics of the mind. It allows all of us, old or young, to compete against one another and ourselves in a battle of the mind. Through the games, we sharpen our mental skills and learn while having fun. We will also emerge from the competition with a more agile mind. I am happy to note that there are more than 1,000 school children and 3,000 working adults participating in the various Mind games over the next 4 days.
9 It is now my pleasure to declare the Mind Sports Olympiad Singapore 2000 open.