It is important to pursue your passions even if it takes several attempts to succeed. Singapore’s new Acting Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, delivered this message to a group of young Sikh graduates on 7 November 2015, urging them to chase their dreams.

Speaking at the Sikh Graduates Tea Reception, Mr Ong also emphasised the importance for these graduates to identify suitable role models in their lives who they may be inspired by and therefore look to emulate. Drawing from his personal life, Mr Ong explained how his career decision to enter politics was inspired by a familiar role model. Now that he looks back, he acknowledged, his entry into politics, after he completed several postings throughout his career, was because of his father who was also a politician. Seeing his father in this light played a key role his decision as he viewed serving as a politician a noble and honourable thing to do. He thus encouraged the graduates to identify successful people as their role models as well as to understand that success takes time and a lot of sacrifice.

In addition to sharing his thoughts, Mr Ong also presented plaques to close to 40 graduates from the Sikh community who attended the event, organised by YSA and the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board’s Sikh Centre.

Mr Malminderjit Singh, President of YSA, spoke to the graduates on three points – the significance of pursuing their passions rather than choosing careers based on prestige or benefits, the importance of facing challenges and handling failures positively as well as the need to contribute to society. “I urge you to be opened to new opportunities and experiences that come your way and be ready to seize them when the time arises,” he said. “While many of you may be eager to hit the ground running over the next few months, I would like for all of you to seek out your passions and find fulfillment and purpose in the careers you set to build. It makes life more rewarding and you will find yourself fully immersed in the projects and tasks you undertake.”

One of the recipients, Mr Gurpreet Singh, who graduated with a Masters of Business Administration from the INSEAD Business School, shared his thoughts on the trials graduates today have to face to ensure that they get the best possible outcome out of their higher education. He shared the idea of multipotentialites, who have many different interests, and advised graduates to consider combining two or more of their passions and creating something new out of it. He added that with the ability to combine interests and passions, graduates would not feel like they have not achieved their goals while ensuring that they are more adapt to the ever-changing global environment.

The annual presentation ceremony recognises the academic achievements of Sikhs, including those who pursue post-graduate studies and continuous learning. It is an important platform to engage Sikh graduates and to impress upon them the need for them, as educated individuals and professionals, to contribute to the Sikh community and the Singapore society. It is also an opportunity for them to develop networks with their fellow graduates and professionals.

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