Be involved in your own community, and you can contribute to the country’s socio-economic development. Each and every member needs to stay connected to his or her community, understand the needs of the community and, consequently, seek ways to address these needs. This was the call made by newly-appointed Minister of State for Education and Defence, Lawrence Wong, to young Sikh graduates at the Sikh community’s plaque presentation ceremony at the Sikh Centre Auditorium on 8 October 2011.

According to Mr Wong, the graduates’ educational achievements must be complemented with a steady character that can be developed through active citizenry and community involvement. As such, they must actively seek out opportunities to get involved and serve, be it in their neighbourhood, community or at a national level, so as to educate themselves on the community and citizenship.

Mr Wong presented plaques to 31 Sikhs who graduated recently from local and overseas academic institutions. The ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests, including families and friends of the graduates.

One of the recipients, Dr Jyoti Mayall, who spoke at the ceremony, had this message for her peers, “Somebody encouraged you, now take the time and encourage someone else to pursue his or her dreams. Everyone gets overwhelmed at times. They get filled with self doubt and lose courage. You can make a difference by helping others to keep their dreams alive. Encourage, and give input and affirmation. It may well be that, someday, someone you encouraged does something remarkable because you encouraged him or her.” Dr Mayall received a Doctorate in Education from the University of Western Australia earlier this year.

Organised by Young Sikh Association (Singapore) and the Sikh Centre, Singapore, the presentation ceremony is aimed at recognising the academic achievements of Sikhs, including those who pursue post-graduate studies and continuous learning. It is also an important platform to engage Sikh graduates and to impress upon them the need for them, as intellectuals, to contribute to the Sikh community and Singapore society. It is also an opportunity for them to develop networks with their fellow graduates.

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