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Speech by Mr Lim Swee Say At SIM University Convocation 2015

Speech by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, At SIM University Convocation 2015 (Session 1) On 7 October 2015, 9.30am, The Grand Hall Of SIM University

Professor Aline Wong, Chancellor, SIM University;
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SIM University;
Graduands, parents, family members and friends;

  1. Good morning.
  1. Many of you come to UniSIM having to juggle between study, work and family. You are determined to seize every chance to learn, upgrade and improve, to pursue your dream.
  1. Today, on your graduation, I congratulate you on your achievement. This is indeed a major milestone for you. Well done.
  1. The road ahead is full of opportunities and challenges. You have to keep believing in yourselves. Broaden, deepen and sharpen your skills, knowledge and expertise. There is no shortcut to success in life. Better to do it solidly, step by step, advance in your chosen careers. I wish you a meaningful career and a fulfilling life ahead, for yourselves and your loved ones. All the best.
  1. Today, our graduates in Singapore enjoy better employment opportunities than most other countries. Youth and PME unemployment is low. Most are able to find jobs relatively quickly. Even so, we are not immune to growing uncertainty and keener competition in the global economy. We have to recognise that zero unemployment does not exist anywhere, not in Singapore too. The reality is that someday, some of you here could end up being unemployed or under-employed. Should that happen to anyone of you, life will be painful, and stressful, for you and your family.
  1. This is why, one big challenge we must overcome together, is what can we do as a nation, what can you do as an individual, to stay competitive as an economy, to stay employable as a working adult, so that we can keep unemployment and under-employment to as low as possible, for as long as possible.
  1. As a nation, we are taking this seriously. We will keep doing our best, much more than most countries. We are restructuring our economy towards future manufacturing, future services, future construction. We are upgrading our workforce. Help our people to prepare for the future. Make SkillsFuture a national effort for all.
  1. As a government, our commitment to you is that we will keep creating as good and as many employment and career opportunities as possible, for all Singaporeans, young and old.
  1. However, no matter how much we do for you, we can only create equal opportunities for all, but not equal outcomes for all. We need you, as individual working adults, to do your best too. Some of you will do better than others. It all depends on how you approach your work, your life and your world.
  1. I graduated in 1976, some 39 years ago. I have learnt a few useful things in life.
  1. First, in our life journey, there is no guarantee of success, no matter how good you are, no matter how hard you try. Instead of going after success, better to go after progress. Make full use of every job opportunity that comes your way. Whatever job you decide to take on, put in your best efforts. The more you commit yourself, the more you will grow with the job, the better you will prepare yourself for the next job.
  1. Second, life is fair, at least to most people. If you are happy with the people you work with and work for, be happy, but not too happy, because good bosses and colleagues never last forever. Likewise, if you are unhappy with the people you work with or work for, be sad, but not too sad, because bad bosses and colleagues never last forever too. Just keep believing in yourself. Take charge of your own life, your own career. Doing your job well today is your best bet for a better job tomorrow, in here in your existing organisation or out there in some other places. At the end of the day, good people will always do better in life. Why? Good people is and will always be in short supply.
  1. Third, to bring out the best in you, follow your heart. Do what you love. Do what you believe in. Do what you are passionate about. Along the way, at different life stages, passions can change, so be prepared to adapt to change. Keep learning, but avoid going too deep and narrow, knowing everything about nothing, or too broad and shallow, knowing nothing about everything. Be good in many things, but be better in some things. In this way, you can start with one job, grow with more than one career, retire with a life time of satisfaction and fulfilment.
  1. I will conclude with the most important thing I’ve learnt on my life journey so far.
  1. To keep going from young to not-so-young, we all need plenty of motivation; two types – external and internal. External motivation is always helpful. Appreciation for what you’ve done. Thank you, good job, well done, promotion, wage increases. But these effects never last. Internal motivation is what will stay with us day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
  1. At every life stage, search and self-discover – why am I here, why am I doing what I am doing, what is my purpose in life, big or small, self, family, organisation, community. Once you find your own “WHY”, this source of internal motivation will give you a healthy supply of positive energy to last you a lifetime.
  1. Dear graduating Class of 2015, your life is yours. It is for you to live it to the fullest. Own it, live it, love it. Most of all, make the most out of it.
  1. Congratulations again, and I wish you all a full life ahead.

 

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