Published: 21 October 2023
Singapore Buddhist Lodge Vice-President, Mr Lim Lee Meng
Singapore Buddhist Lodge Education Foundation Chairman, Ms Tan Kiat Gee
Jamiyah Singapore Principal Director of Organisation & Interfaith Relations, Dr H M Saleem
Taoist Federation 1st Vice President, Mr Ling Kin Huat
Singapore Buddhist Lodge Board of Directors and Council Members
School and Association Representatives
Parents and Students
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. A very good afternoon to all of you. I hope you’re feeling good and happy.
2. I’m very happy and I feel very humbled and privileged to be invited to the Singapore Buddhist Lodge Education Foundation 45th Batch Bursary Award Presentation Ceremony.
3. This is a very important effort by the Foundation, to provide children from different backgrounds the opportunity to pursue their educational aspirations.
4. Our children are our future leaders, and we must help them realise their fullest potential.
5. I am very happy to be here, to do my small part to support the foundation’s efforts.
Awards for 2023
6. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was told that the foundation has been giving out this bursary award since 1979.
7. To date, they have given out more than 41,000 bursary awards amounting to over $22 million dollars! Let’s give them a big round of applause.
8. This year, the foundation will be giving out 247 bursaries: 18 more than last year, and totalling $437,000.
9. I want to congratulate all the recipients. Well done and congratulations.
Human Interest Stories
10. Let me share with you the stories of two amazing individuals who would be receiving the bursary award today.
11. First is Ricky Soo, a third-year student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic who is currently pursuing a Diploma in Banking and Finance.
12. Ricky comes from a humble family. His father is the sole breadwinner, working as a hawker assistant to support his family.
13. Ricky has been determined to do well in his studies because he wants to secure a good job and be the one to take care of the family instead.
14. He studied hard, attained outstanding academic results and has won many awards at school.
15. Ricky also found passion in non-academic pursuits.
(a) He took part in the 2022 and 2023 PolyFinTech 100 API (Application Programming Interface) Hackathons and emerged as the Category Champion.
(b) He was the President of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s special interest group for students who are passionate about environmental sustainability.
(c) He also finds time to assist in the Polytechnic’s orientation camps and sports carnivals.
16. Today, Ricky will be receiving the Endeavour Award, an award which recognises individuals who have excelled academically, displayed leadership qualities and have been active in their co-curricular activities.
17. Well done Ricky!
18. My second story is about Atiqah Nadzirah Binte Ishak. She is receiving the bursary award today.
19. Atiqah is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
20. Just like Ricky, Atiqah comes from a humble background.
21. Due to her father’s poor health, he is not able to secure a full-time job.
22. Given the family’s circumstances, Atiqah works hard, not just to cover her own living expenses but also to support her family.
23. She is currently doing her internship with CPF Board’s social media team, and occasionally works for events companies during the weekend to earn some extra pocket money.
24. Despite these life challenges, Atiqah has been doing well academically. She also finds time to be actively involved in her campus activities such as being part of the Freshmen Orientation Programme. Let’s give her a big round of applause too!
25. Ricky and Atiqah are just two examples of the many individuals who will be receiving the bursary award today and I am sure each and every one of you have a unique story and journey to share as well. I’m very grateful to the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, Jamiyah Singapore and the Taoist Federation for giving out these bursaries. It means a lot for a multi-racial and multi-religious society like Singapore.
26. We are thankful for organisations like these which provide such opportunities and graciously create the platforms for us to build a better society; a society that always cares for one another. And the most beautiful thing that is found in Singapore – we do it regardless of race, language or religion. I want to urge all of you to continue these efforts, so that each of us, no matter who we are, or where we come from, will have a chance at a better future by being able to develop to our fullest potential.
27. Education is something close to my heart.
28. In fact, learning is a lifelong journey. I hope that all of you here today will continue your pursuit and thirst for education. Let me quote Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “Learn as if you were to live forever.”
29. Wise and inspiring words.
30. I would like to thank all of you here today for making this possible. Thank you for having made a difference to many young lives.
31. To all award recipients, continue in your education journey with marvel and awe, lead meaningful, productive lives, and remember to always pay it forward.
32. Congratulations, once again. Thank you for having me.