What I learn at a school’s Speech Day

Whenever I attend a school event where there are numerous speakers, I often come home enlightened by the VIP’s speeches. I know they are speaking to the students, but the message they bring is just as profound to me as an adult too, perhaps more so. I know if I were a student sitting there listening to the long line of speeches, I would be bored. Instead as someone living the midlife, the speeches have perhaps help me avoid the dreaded crisis.

Last Friday, I was invited to CTSS’s 32nd Speech Day. The principal Mrs Grace Chua began her speech with an African greeting Ubuntu, meaning ‘I see you.’ It hits me immediately that I should make this my greeting henceforth. My usual greeting with strangers I see the first time is often Hello or Hi, and then I promptly forget the name and face two seconds later. I have tried very hard over the years, especially in my profession in sales to correct this forgetfulness, but unfortunately, I am still weak in remembering face to name. Now I know my problem. I didn’t see the person standing before me. I was too busy trying to remember the features and name that I forgot the whole package. Perhaps now, instead of saying Hello, I’ll say Ubuntu and mean it, it will make a difference.

The next speaker, the guest of honour, was the founder for the charity Happy Feet (http://www.projecthappyfeet.org/?p=3138) in Singapore. He is a dashing and attractive man, and single too! So it was  no surprise I remember the name. (Actually it was printed in the programme booklet!) He spoke about how at every birthday, he would reflect his birth year and list the memorable and significant things he has done for every year of his birth. I think he mentioned that for his coming 37th  birthday, he would include that day’s event as one of the 37 things.

I thought to myself, what a great idea! This would spur me to do more to bring a sense of achievements to my life. Okay, I may have time from now until November to find 47 significant tasks to do. Would this stress me up instead? Perhaps I should set that  for my kids to do. Aaron needs only 13 significant or memorable things to complete by November!

Mr Terence Quek also mentioned how he lives by the principle of Respect, Integrity, Courage and Excellence or in short – RICE, the staple food for us in Asia. The first two I have often stressed to my kids, and the last two I should remind them more often – Courage to do what’s right, and Excellence in whatever one do. I hope whenever they spoon the mouthful of rice into their mouths, my kids would remember and live by RICE.

(Read his full speech here : https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/notes/terence-quek/speech-for-clementi-town-secondary-schools-32nd-speech-and-prize-giving-day/10150692199181225)

I know recently I’ve been consumed by the apps in my iphone that I neglect to live each moment. But I am also glad that when I am living each moment, there are people around me to teach me something new and make me see life in a whole new perspective. For that, I am grateful.

(Read another school speech https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/laying-bricks/)


About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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3 Responses to What I learn at a school’s Speech Day

  1. Terence Quek says:

    Hi Vicky, I was searching for a link on Clementi Town Secondary School and chanced upon your post. Sorry if you didn’t intend for the post to be public, but I had read it and I’m humbled that my speech has inspired you. I would like to request, if at all possible, that you make a hyperlink to a recent post about the speech day on Project Happy Feet’s website. The hyperlink is here: http://www.projecthappyfeet.org/?p=3138 so that more of your readers will get to know about the work that we do, and hopefully, inspire them to also take action so that impoverished children can have a chance at education. I apologise in advance if I have intruded into your private space – that is never my intention. Thank you and best regards!

    Terence Quek

    • vickychong says:

      All the CTSS PSG members who had heard you were all impressed with your speech. It’s on our FB page!

      My blog is public, so you are not intruding. I shall add the link when I m home.

      Thanks for dropping by.


      • terence says:

        Thank you very much Vicky! Your words are great encouragement to me and my team. We will continue to do everything we can to empower – and inspire – lives. Best regards!

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