Excerpt from Education Minister Ong Ye Kung's Opening Remarks at Shine Now 2019, at *Scape Singapore

Published Date: 18 December 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

... I have the following advice from an old uncle. First advice: be mindful that you should be thinking about all three [survival, your dream and your journey], and that the three are constantly negotiating with each other. So you cannot be too fixated on one. If you want to be a dancer, a singer, an entrepreneur - (this is) very good. However, you cannot be too fixated on this. Because while you are on this journey to pursue your dream, you do not know where it will take you; sometimes the journey may take you somewhere else, but so be it! Enjoy the journey as well.

Sometimes, we think that passion is something deep inside that we need to discover, and once we have discovered it, that's it. But in reality, whatever your passion is now, it could change in five, or ten years' time. We are all still young - even I think I'm still young - and we will change and evolve depending on the journey we take. So passion is not something that you discover, like a noun; passion, like love, is sometimes also a verb. If you commit to doing something even if it's not what you had in mind, and you do it with passion, you will actually discover the passion. So my first piece of advice, is to not be too fixated.

Secondly, if you are pursuing your goals and dreams, be mindful that there are now many pathways to do so. In the past, oftentimes there was only one dominant pathway, which involves going to an institute of higher education, getting a qualification, then applying for work at a company. Today, there are many more pathways, and some do not require a degree. In fact, you could get a certification at a polytechnic or arts institution or an industry certification, gain some experience in the industry, and come back to an institute of higher learning for a degree. We don't have to always follow the same traditional pathway. There are many different pathways and many of these involve working and learning in the industry first. So that's my second piece of advice.

My third piece of advice, which is a bit harder to do, but is important, is that whatever dream you have, and the journey you want to take, it is good to discuss it with your loved ones - especially your parents and your family - because they have to be part of that decision. And sometimes, we may pursue a dream and a route that our parents may frown upon, and say, "What is this? Can earn money or not? Can feed your family or not?" But I think they come from a position of love and care. Still, I believe it is important to demonstrate to our parents how serious we are about taking this journey and achieving our dream. You may tell them that my dream may change, but I want to take this seriously, and I need your support before I can do it. I believe for most parents, even if they disapprove at first, if they see how serious you are, they will come around to support you, because that's how much parents love their children.

This "unconference" wanted me to give an opening, so I suppose I gave an "unspeech". I hope it's been useful. Have a good two days ahead and have an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, thank you.

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