Conversations on Singapore Spirit (Session 3 - 16 June 2021)
The third session of the conversation series was held on 16 June 2021 via Zoom, involving 100 students from all the 3 ITEs and the following panellists:
- Mr Eric Chua – Parliamentary Secretary (Parl Sec) of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development
- Mr David Hoe – NYC Council Member & Director of I am Talented
- Ms Sylvia Chan – CEO of Night Owl Cinematics
- Mr U.K. Shyam – Singapore 100m Record Holder
Here are the key insights of the conversation raised by the students:
There are multiple pathways to success
- What “a good life” means to youth – Participants said that their vision of a good life involved stability and being able to support a family without worrying about finances. They also envisioned a Singapore that is both accepting and safe for all. Parl Sec Chua encouraged participants to have hope and work together to turn dreams into reality.
- Overcoming stigma – Participants said that negative perceptions of ITE students were prevalent, and shared personal experiences of discrimination they faced.
- Mr Hoe shared his experience coming from the Normal Technical stream and defying societal expectations to achieve his dream of being an educator. Ms Chan and Mr Shyam encouraged participants to recognise their self worth in spite of labels, and to be proud of their identities.
- Broadening the definition of success – Parl Sec Chua acknowledged that despite improvements to the ITE system over the years, students still faced stigma. He said that this revealed the need for a societal mindset shift on the definition of success.
Seize opportunities that come along
- Opportunities to succeed – Mr Shyam said he was proud to be a Singaporean because, despite his humble background, Singapore’s meritocratic education system provided him with opportunities to build a life he is content with.
- Ms Chan said that she recently received her Singapore citizenship, and agreed that Singapore provided the chance for people from all walks of life to achieve their dreams. Participants also affirmed the need for inclusivity in the Singapore Spirit, which involves providing equal opportunities for all.
- Pursuing personal growth – Participants asked panellists for advice on personal development. Mr Hoe said that it was important for participants to find their purpose and have the courage to pursue it. Parl Sec Chua said that mentoring was a leveller in society, and encouraged participants to find mentors they could seek advice from.
Resilience and future readiness are needed for Singapore to emerge stronger from the pandemic
- Preparing for the future as a nation – Participants said that resilience and future readiness were the top qualities needed for Singapore to progress, and anticipated that change was inevitable. They suggested that youth could keep abreast of technological advancements to ensure that they did not fall behind in the future.