Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Acting Minister for Education (Schools) at the Eurasian Community Fund Education Awards 2015 on Saturday, 17 October 2015, 2.00pm at Catholic Junior College

Published Date: 17 October 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr. Benett Theseira,
President, Eurasian Association,

Patron, Trustees and Management Committee of the Eurasian Association

Parents and award winners, ladies and gentlemen,

A very good afternoon to all of you.

It is my pleasure to be here today with all of you for the Eurasian Community Fund (ECF) awards ceremony. I especially enjoyed the performance because they reminded me of why I have decided to step into politics, to serve fellow Singaporeans and build a home for our future generations. These two songs (‘Our Singapore’ and ‘Home’) are especially relevant to me because back in SAF, NDP50 was the last major event I had done to rally Singaporeans together to celebrate Singapore’s jubilee. This afternoon, to hear the rendition by two young ladies brought a special warmth to my heart. To be able to be here today to congratulate all 283 students for their achievements is a special privilege. Your perseverance has paid off. You have done well in school. Remember to thank your parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers and classmates for your achievements. Well done, all of you!

The community has an important role to play in education

As I got to know more about the Eurasian community, I’m encouraged by how they have put in place many initiatives to encourage students to learn relevant skills and build a strong foundation to encourage lifelong learning. I understand that the Eurasian Community Fund has been able to support about 200 students through primary, secondary, post-secondary and tertiary studies each year.

With the strong support of the community and collaboration with other organisations, the Eurasian Association has helped further opportunities for students to continue on their learning journey.

I believe that very child should be given the opportunity to succeed based on paths that suit him or her best. I am encouraged to see that communities, such as EA, have been playing an important role in supporting our children on diverse pathways towards success. The EA’s recently-launched Homework Supervision Programme is a good example of how community come together to help build ties and also provides support for those who need it. It’s a platform where tertiary students who have graduated, get the opportunity to mentor primary and secondary school students. The mentors fork out one and a half hour each week to assist younger children with their homework. The programme is intended to assist students who need a little extra help and get them back on track and also have good role models as mentors.

I would like to commend the tertiary students who have volunteered for the Homework Supervision Programme. I’m sure you will find the experience a rewarding and enriching one as you give back to the community. I would also like to encourage others to do the same, to lend a helping hand to those in need. This is how we build a close knit community where we can encourage and inspire each other.

The inauguration of the Rudolph Mosbergen Sport Bursary

I am also very pleased to announce that the Eurasian Association will inaugurate a new award, the Rudolph Mosbergen Sport Bursary. This special award will be presented to Travis Joshua Woodford, who is currently pursuing a diploma in Sports Coaching at Republic Polytechnic. Travis represented Singapore well in the Youth Olympic Cycling 2010 and has participated in various road races in recent years.

Rudy Mosbergen, as many of you know, was an educator, a sportsman, and someone who has contributed immensely to the Eurasian community and to Singapore. Rudy had a passion for teaching history, and has contributed in fostering a sense of identity and pride in our younger generation. Rudy was also a top sportsman who represented Singapore in the national hockey team back in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. As a national coach and principal, Rudy ensured that both academic and sporting pursuits were emphasised in schools that he helmed. He articulated this as a sense of dedication and devotion to duty, of service and sacrifice, and of cooperation and the pursuit of excellence. His death in February is a loss, but his legacy will last. Rudy would have been proud to hear the achievements of today’s award winners.

Celebrating the community’s successes

Many of our award winners faced challenges but they didn’t allow these to define them. I would like to applaud you for your determination, passion and perseverance, traits that are highly admirable and would bring you to greater heights.

Austin David Lazaroo, who is receiving The John Hochstadt Award for Meritorious Eurasian ITE student, is one who demonstrated these traits. During his ‘N’ Level examinations, Austin did not perform well. But when he enrolled in the Display Technology course he discovered that he actually enjoyed what he was learning in school, and he even had a knack for it! The new-found passion motivated him and he attained good grades in the course. He is determined to continue to hone his skills in his chosen specialisation.

Tiffany Ursula Morier, who is receiving The Colonel R. J. Minjoot Award for the Outstanding Eurasian ITE student, lost her father when she was only in Secondary 3. Tiffany loves what she is doing well, finds true joy her Nursing course at ITE College East. She enjoys helping others and is performing very well in school, hopes to further her studies at Nanyang Polytechnic and eventually begin her career as a nurse.

These young individuals have demonstrated that with discipline, resilience and grit, we can discover what we’re good at, and achieve our goals. I hope that their success will inspire us to follow their examples. I look forward to seeing our young people, enabled by groups such as the Eurasian Association, reach for their dreams, fulfill their potential and serve our community.

Once again, congratulations to all students and their families. I wish you all the best in pursuing a journey of excellence. Along the way, let us thank those who have given us a little help, and for also inspiring us to give back to the community we call home!

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