Remarks by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education And Skills) at The Inaugural Create4good Challenge Prize Presentation Ceremony at the Singapore University of Technology and Design

Published Date: 20 May 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Kwek Eik Sheng

Mr Brian Kwek

Family of the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo

Professor Thomas Magnanti, President, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President, Singapore Management University

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good afternoon. I am happy to join all of you today to mark the culmination of the inaugural Create4Good Challenge.

2. This is a meaningful initiative, made possible by the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo, who donated $3M to support this effort. I am proud to have known Mr Kwek as a senior alumnus, as we both went to the same secondary school – Maris Stella High School.

3. But we are connected in more ways than one. Mr Kwek was also a well-known philanthropist who championed many social causes – including education, which was a cause very close to his heart.

4. As an established business leader, he lent his expertise to several boards in our higher education institutions, including as a long-serving member of the Nanyang Technological University Board of Trustees.

5. As an avid photographer, he donated proceeds from the sale of his photos and books to the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund to help needy children.

6. Today, we honour his contributions towards education as we celebrate the Create4Good Challenge.

7. This initiative encourages the development of innovative solutions to improve lives, promote sustainable development and foster a more caring society in Singapore. These are issues important to us as a society, and which we care about deeply for our future.

8. We all have a responsibility to put technology to good use, to solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems. Enterprise and entrepreneurship then provide scale and multiply the impact of technology. We have seen and experienced many examples of how technology and entrepreneurship have changed lives, from the smart phone, to fitness wristbands, to clean energy, to sharing resources from cars to accommodation.

9. These are the unicorns. But around them there is a cornucopia of small inventions in various start-up companies, in incubators, garages and of course, universities.

10. One example is the FingerReader. It is a wearable assistive technology for the visually impaired – a ring that reads words aloud as one’s finger slides along them. The best thing I like about it is that it was developed by researchers at the Augmented Human Lab at SUTD.

11. They have just completed the production of the first batch for trial, and 100 sets will be distributed to the members of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.

12. This is the first step. It will take enterprise and entrepreneurship to improve the product, grow its usage, and extend it to

applications in other areas, such as a language translator or a language learning tool.

13. SUTD is now in the process of setting up a non-profit social enterprise for this and other products for the hearing and visually impaired communities.

14.This is the tip of the iceberg of an enterprise eco-system within our higher education landscape. Every university, every polytechnic I visit, I see many meaningful and creative projects led by our young, driven students.

15. Young people today are different from young people in the past, in the way they are prepared to embrace technology to support better living, create more opportunities, and build stronger communities to shape the future of Singapore. I heard someone describe them as the ‘lazy generation’ – but meant it as a positive attribute, not a criticism.

16. Create4Good Challenge is timely in recognising the early successes of the creative, passionate, and socially responsible youths of this generation.

17. It harnesses SUTD’s focus on design and engineering and SMU’s expertise in business, and synergises the strengths of the two universities.

18. Today, as we celebrate this meaningful initiative, we know the legacy of Mr Kwek Leng Joo carries on through the investments he has made in our students.

19. I congratulate all our finalists today. Please continue to stay curious, helpful to others around you, and lazy in the positive way.

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