A very good morning to Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore and Patron of SUSS, Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education, Mr Stephen Lee, Chancellor, SUSS, Mr Richard Eu, Chairman, Board of Trustees, SUSS, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SUSS, Distinguished guests, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Ee Wai, a graduate from the full-time Accountancy programme. It is my greatest privilege and honour to address everyone on behalf of the graduates today.
Where to begin? It seemed like it was only yesterday when we gathered in this hall for the first time 4 years ago. Many of us had come to SUSS, or then known as SIM University, as our last choice. I was one of them, rejected from almost every other public university then. I vividly remember the words of my father when I asked for his opinion on accepting the offer from SUSS. My father said “你有得选meh?” or in English: “as if you have other choices”. It was the harsh reality. But SUSS had opened a door when others were shut - it believed in us!
4 years later, we have all grown not just more knowledgeable but also more mentally resilient. Today, we are here as we have proven ourselves and we should be proud of that. We have gone through a rigorous curriculum and now we shall carry the flag of SUSS as we enter the next phase in our life. We shall build up the reputation of our university, just as any other universities had to do in their early years, just as Singapore had to 200 years ago. Our success shall reflect the merit of the education we have received.
So, what was it that changed us? I believe it was the little things that our university does differently: Common Core modules, Service-Learning projects, Work Attachments, Overseas Experience and many others. Just like gears in a mechanical watch, all the components work together to create a complete experience but with the right kind of flexibility for adult learners.
The Common Core modules were introduced to us in our very first year of study. Many of us had initially questioned the relevance of history, literature, culture and technology in a business degree. For me, these modules were very tough, introducing concepts and knowledge that I was completely unfamiliar with. Yet today, I believe they are an integral part to my education, developing a world view enriched by multiple fields of knowledge.
In our second year, we took on Service-Learning projects, going beyond books to focus on real societal issues, all in an attempt to apply what we had learnt in school and create sustainable solutions for issues confronting humanity. Regardless of the success or failure of these projects, each of us had become wiser and sensitised to pressing community problems by combining learning with service.
By the third year, we completed Work Attachments with various companies such as: The Big 4 Accountancy firms, local and international banks, industry leaders and even overseas companies. The strategic timing of the attachment allowed us to put what we had learnt to use while obtaining practical knowledge for a more enriching experience in our final year of study.
In our fourth year, full-time and part-time students worked hand in hand in consolidating our knowledge for the capstone module, Business Strategy. It was during this time when my respect grew for the part-time students. To the adult learners who had to juggle between family, study and work, your perseverance through the SUSS journey is a great inspiration to everyone to always continue learning and developing ourselves.
And finally, each of us went on a different Overseas Experience, from summer schools in Europe to Service-Learning projects in South East Asia. Through these experiences, we were able to gain valuable insights to the workings of the world. These experiences pushed us to acknowledge the bigger picture involved and more importantly taught us to be human, to be humble, to be collaborative and to see opportunities in every endeavour.
I am prepared for life because of SUSS and I am grateful to the faculty who spent days and nights teaching us not just knowledge but also values. To my family and my friends who were always there, supporting me through this long and arduous phase in my life, thank you.
To Blandina, my partner in life, who is also graduating this afternoon. She must have heard this speech for the tenth time by now. Thank you for always being there for me. And to my parents, especially my father, who has been single-handedly supporting the entire family since my mother came down with a stroke when I was 12. You pressed me on to study even as we faced financial hardships, working doubly hard to put me where I am today. Please allow me to convey the next message in Chinese to my father. 爸，你辛苦了。我知道你做的一切都是为了我。谢谢你一生的爱与关怀。希望我让你感到骄傲。To all my loved ones, thank you all for the unconditional love and support through the past years.
At this juncture, I would like to invite all graduates to please rise and face your loved ones.
[Pause for graduates to rise]
Please join me in expressing our utmost appreciation to our loved ones for making this day possible for us. Let’s give them our warmest round of applause.
[Lead the applause by starting the clapping]
Thank you graduates. Please be seated.
Let us not forget the lessons we learnt and the people we met as we go forth. We shall venture further and dream bigger but never forget the days in SUSS. Let’s remember the theme for the occasion and that is “Go, make your mark… for the greater good”. To all graduates today, I wish you the very best! Thank you everyone!