Speech by Graduate Representative
Delci Khoo May Ping, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, School of Science and Technology
Good afternoon to our:
Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Jeffrey Lam, Acting President of ST Engineering Aerospace Ltd,
Mr Stephen Lee, Chancellor, SUSS,
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SUSS;
Distinguished guests, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm Delci Khoo, a graduate from Bachelor of Science in Mathematics programme. Thank you SUSS for giving me this honour and opportunity to speak at such a joyous occasion.
A little introduction about myself. After I graduated in Electronics Engineering from Singapore Polytechnic, many of my friends went on to pursue their degree at NTU. For me, although I would have been able to qualify, I was too busy dating. As such, I missed out on that golden opportunity. Over time, especially after getting married and having children, I realised that I could still learn and grow with SUSS as I fulfil my duties as a wife and mother.
This brings me to the word "hope". What is "hope" to you? Many times when we hope for something, it is usually with a sense of passiveness and negativity that the probability of what we hope for will take a miracle to happen. Saying it in a Singaporean style, we will probably say, "Hopefully lor!" But for me, hope is active not passive, it's positive not negative, I see hope as a positive expectation of good to come. So whatever I hope for, I will work on it so that it will become a reality.
So I nursed my hope of being a university graduate. I knew my dream will come true one day. I even had a vision of wearing my graduation gown when my hair is white, and my face full of wrinkles. My graduation will be joined by my children and grandchildren.
Thankfully, I didn't have to wait that long. Today, my hair is still generally black, and I don't have any grandchildren here with me. Today, thanks to SUSS my hope has indeed become a reality.
I'm sure sitting here, there are many other daddies and mummies like me, who have to juggle between work, children, our parents and our friends while working hard to see our dreams come true. However, the university's initiatives like collaboration where learning can be done without being physically on campus saved a tremendous amount of traveling time. Video recordings also made catching up easier when other commitments made it difficult for us to attend classes. Thank you SUSS. I really appreciate all these flexibility in learning.
The decision to pursue my degree wasn't an easy one. My children were only 10 and 12 years old then. 12!!! PSLE!!! Most Singapore parents' nightmare. And with a husband who is away from home most of the time, I'm nearly a single mum. Age wasn't quite on my side too. Most of my course-mates are in their 20s, while this aunty here is nearly double their age. I feared that assimilating back into school life with these young people may not be easy. Generation gap? Plus I wasn't sure if a 40+ years old brain would be able to manage and absorb the vigorous coursework as well as their youthful brains. Could I compete? Will I survive the degree course?
One day a dear friend gave me a piece of precious advice – a day at a time, a week at a time, a month at a time, a year at a time. And with those wise words, 4.5 years zoomed by just like this, and today, I'm standing here, with all the fears behind me.
Next year, both my children will be taking their respective major examinations – the O and A Levels. A few weeks ago, after dinner, I made a remark to them, "Wow, next year will be both your major exams, you will both be probably more edgy and I will have to endure both of you." My daughter's cheeky response was, "We have been enduring you for the last 4.5 years when you were pursuing your degree."
Her statement made me realise how much support I have been getting from my two children. My parents and only sister have also been superbly understanding towards me. Quoting Benjamin Bratt, "My family is like a sanctuary to me. I always turn to them for support and strength. I take comfort in knowing no matter which path I choose, my family stands behind me."
And with that, I would like to invite all graduates to please rise, (Pause for graduates to rise) face your loved ones and join me in giving them a big round of applause to show our deepest gratitude, for their unconditional love and support all these years.
Thank you graduates, please take your seat.
I would like to close and conclude with the 3 precious life lessons that this 4.5 years journey has taught me, which I trust would be helpful to you:
Firstly, live life with hope – not the negative and passive hope, but hope with an expectation of good.
Secondly, our family is a pillar to our success.
Thirdly, no man is an island, together, we can achieve our goals, preferably with SUSS.
Thank you and enjoy your big day.