Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Education at the ASEAN Schools Games Send-Off Ceremony, at Tanjong Katong Secondary

Published Date: 03 July 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mrs Dolly Ong
Chef-de-Mission, Singapore Schools Sports Team
Principal, Tanjong Katong Secondary School

Mr Liu Earnler and Mr Shane Kwok,
Deputy Chefs-de Mission, Singapore Schools Sports Team

Parents, Guests and Student Athletes,

1. It’s a great pleasure to be here today. I am delighted to join you as you set off as representatives of the Singapore Schools contingent for the 11th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG), which will be hosted by our close neighbor, Indonesia, in Semarang this year.


2. The theme envisaged by Indonesia for this year’s ASG is, “Unity, Spirit, and Respect”. Indeed, sports has the amazing quality to bring people together, to pull people closer – no matter what race, background, or nationality. But let us zoom in on the word “Spirit”. For any athlete, like yourself, the sporting spirit, means many things.

3. It means giving your best in the pursuit of excellence. Perseverance in the face of adversity, driven by the passion that you have for your sport. It’s about a very important quality – grit. A quality that I know each and every one of you possesses. You must have it, otherwise you would not have come this far. Each of you have spent many hours training to be one of the best in your game, while at the same time, making sure your academic pursuits are right on track. In preparation for the Games, I am inspired to hear how some of you have managed your time so well that it allows you to train multiple times or sessions a week. You wake up early to train before school starts, attend school diligently, clear your homework immediately after school, before heading off to train again in the evening. Many of you adopt similar routines because you are determined and focused on following through on the goals you have set. So, do your utmost for our team. Be resilient. Be the best that you can be. Do it with graciousness and impeccable behaviour. And do it with grit.

4. On the playing field, you have an opportunity to strengthen another form of spirit – the Singapore spirit. Continue to be advocates of sportsmanship and character as our past athletes have done at the Games. Be worthy ambassadors of the Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) and of our nation!


5. Out of the playing field, the sporting spirit fosters a union that transcends borders, cultures, and ethnicity. So go ahead! Make use of every opportunity to forge deep and enduring friendships beyond your own sports and beyond the Singapore contingent. Always be humble to learn from the rich heritage, cultures and strengths of our ASEAN neighbours, as you share our unique multi-racial and multi-religious culture with them.


6. Spirit can also be identified or defined by the courage to push new boundaries, often beyond your comfort zone. In one way or another, each of you have continually pushed yourselves out of your comfort zones on this journey. In team sports, players from different schools have put aside school identities to come together to train towards a common goal. Some of you will be trying new things in your bid to attain that personal best. The more “seasoned” ones among you would have learnt from past experiences and set sights on larger goals, and I understand that some of you are even revisiting this ASG as an athlete of a different sport! Whichever way you choose, I urge all of you to continue challenging yourselves and building the courage to take that extra step into the uncomfortable. Embrace this spirit of being bold! Not only will you grow in your athlete experience, you will also learn more about yourselves and grow as individuals.


7. For some of you here today, the ASG is a gentle introduction to high level regional and international competitions. The multi-sport format that you will experience at the ASG is one that is similar to the South East Asian (SEA) Games and the Olympics. This format has provided our student athletes with a valuable platform for exciting competitions and interactions. It will be a worthwhile experience, be it for your development as an athlete, the friendships amongst the ASEAN school athletes, or simply for your own holistic learning.


8. I am heartened to know that that the Singapore Schools contingent has been supported by a dedicated team of sports physicians and physiotherapists since 2014. We are thankful to the team from the Sports Medicine Centre of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, who have assisted our student athletes at the ASG every year for the past six years, with the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) joining in to lend their support over the last four years. However, as responsible athletes, you must also take care of yourselves, and work with the medical team, your coaches and officials, so that you can ensure sustainable training and progress in your sports pursuit.

9. With a strong team of 68 officials, including the media team, I am confident of the holistic support for all our student athletes.


10. On behalf of the MOE, let me say how thankful we are for the strong support from everyone involved in preparing this Singapore Schools Sports Team for the ASG.

  1. Firstly, the parents, for supporting your child’s holistic development, and journeying with them in their sports pursuits.

  2. Secondly, Chef-de-Mission, Mrs Dolly Ong; Deputy Chefs-de-Mission, Mr Liu Earnler and Mr Shane Kwok, – and the Secretariat Team for your immense effort in coordinating everything and looking into the needs of the Singapore Schools contingent, including organising the bonding camp in partnership with NYSI and Singapore Olympians.

  3. Thirdly, the team officials, for the commitment and sacrifices; and not forgetting your school principals for releasing you to do this work; to make ASG an enriching one for our youth athletes.

  4. And also, our partners, NYSI and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, for the strong partnership to nurture the next generation of Singapore athletes.

11. To the athletes of the Singapore Schools Sports Team, I wish all of you a memorable and enriching experience at the 11th ASEAN Schools Games! Go forth and do your best as you enjoy the Games!

12. Thank you all very much!

Share this article: