Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing Guest of Honour for Girl Guides Singapore International Camp 2022 Closing Ceremony

Published Date: 04 June 2022 01:00 PM

News Speeches

1. A very good afternoon to all of you, both physically here and also many others who are joining us online!

2. I'm sure many of you would have enjoyed the past three-and-a-half days of camping experience. Perhaps it is a slightly different way because this time round, we are doing it in a blended, hybrid fashion.

3. And you might think that this is going to be something that we have to temporarily do while we overcome COVID-19. But actually, you may have just pioneered a new way forward. Because, in the past, we were only able to do things physically and there is always a constraint in the number of people that we can gather in one place because of the logistics involved. But going forward, having learnt through COVID-19, we now have a new way to bond different people from different communities together.

4. Today, we have many small micro-communities gathering physically for your guiding activities but at the same time, you have many more communities linked up virtually. And in time to come, this will be a valuable experience. In 10 or 20 years, when you look back on this experience, you might realise that you might have been the pioneers of a new generation of how we interact, draw links, and draw strengths from one another.

5. So, congratulations to the organisers for organising this and coming together to bring forth new ideas to allow our Girl Guides and Brownies to experience something old, and something new, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. I'd also like to encourage you to remember three things, and that was what I learnt when I was a boy scout around your age: take care of yourself, take care of your friends, and take care of the future.

7. To take care of yourself – Girl Guides Singapore will equip you with the necessary life skills, and you will continue to learn, hone and to make use of them. To take care of yourself is perhaps the basic. In order to do the other two, you must first be able to take care of yourself. That, I'm sure, you are most well-equipped because it is about skillset.

8. But to take care of others, it is not a skillset per se. It is a mindset. And I hope that all our younger children growing up will have this mindset to:

  1. be able to not just take care of themselves but to take care of others,
  2. to understand that each and every one of us have our respective strengths and weaknesses,
  3. that we can only do well, not just individually but as a team.

9. And this is how in Singapore, we continue to strive to do well. In Singapore, we distinguish ourselves not by how well we are individually. We distinguish ourselves by how well we perform as a team. And if we continue to perform as a team, there is nothing that can ever be an obstacle to us achieving greater things. So, take care of yourself, take care of your friends, take care of our country beyond yourself.

10. There is one last thing which I am very happy to see in the activities of the Girl Guides – and that is to take care of the future. In many places, many people are always concerned about how well they do for themselves in their generation. But in Singapore, we never define our success by how we do for ourselves just in this generation.

11. We always remind ourselves to define success by how well we enable the next generation to do even better. So, for many of the activities that you are doing now is to help us internalise this spirit of not just taking care of this generation but the next generation, be it through the small activities you do such as plogging, taking care of the environment, or taking care of the future resources that we will pass on to the next generation. All of these are important aspects of taking care of the future.

12. And when we define our success by how well we enable the next generation to continue to do better than the previous one, then I'm sure every generation will continue to do better and better. And every generation will know that they have been left with a stronger foundation by the last. But in turn, we too pay it forward by making sure that we enable the next generation to have a stronger foundation than what we have. And if we can continue to do this, we in Singapore will be able to look forward to SG100 with confidence. For us to defy the odds of history, and for us to leave behind something even better than ever before.

13. Just look around us today. What we enjoy here today is a testimony of what our forefathers have given us. This very place that we are in now used to be a Chinese cemetery. The Chinese community, in particular the Cantonese community, paid it forward by allowing the cemetery to be redeveloped into what today is Bishan New Town. And within Bishan New Town, we have the Girl Guides Headquarters and also the Boy Scout Headquarters.

14. But this is just one tiny example of what we in Singapore have done for the future generation. And I'm sure when you look at Jurong Island, at the Marina Bay area, these are all new canvases that our forefathers have passed on to us for us to paint a new future, a bright new future afresh.

15. And I'm sure in your own little ways in time to come, you too will also leave behind a new canvas for the next generation to paint on. If every generation can do that, I'm confident that we would not only overcome our challenges but emerge stronger.

16. I hope you have enjoyed your camp. Thank you very much for inviting me to join you. And I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

17. Thank you.

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