2021 Virtual President's Scholarship Award Ceremony: Speech by President Halimah Yacob

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service

Chairman and Members of the Public Service Commission
 
Ladies and Gentlemen


Good evening. Every year, the President’s Scholarship is conferred to outstanding young individuals who exemplify the values and ethos of the Public Service, and demonstrate strong leadership traits in their own ways.
 
Today, I am pleased to award this year’s President’s Scholarship to two exceptional young ladies who have demonstrated remarkable leadership qualities and strong commitment towards serving our nation. They are Lieutenant Ang Zyn Yee and Miss Wong Chia Ying.

Zyn Yee is passionate about the environment and serving the community. She hopes that more can be done to promote social mobility in Singapore. Zyn Yee is actively involved in the Kampong Glam Youth Network, which comprises a group of youth volunteers who aims to make a difference in the community through projects, interest groups and programmes. With her keen interest in the environment, Zyn Yee spearheaded ‘The Tumbler Experiment’, a project to foster a green culture within the community through the use of reusable containers and the reduction of disposable waste. Zyn Yee also founded the ‘Straw Free Singapore’ movement, an initiative to reduce the use of disposable plastic straws. By raising awareness in schools and businesses, Zyn Yee successfully convinced a number of large corporations to embrace the movement.

Zyn Yee will pursue Economics and Statistics at Brown University and will serve in the Singapore Armed Forces.
 
With a heart for the community, Chia Ying envisions Singapore as a nation of people who embrace our shared humanity and open our hearts to bridge differences. She spends her free time tutoring and implementing enrichment programmes for less privileged students through Heartware Network’s Tuition Programme and Project Vitamindz. She also helped to organise Education and Career Guidance initiatives in SGExams, a non- profit society supporting students through online community spaces, resources and volunteering opportunities. Chia Ying was part of a team that supported ground-up tuition projects targeting students in need of additional academic support during the COVID-19 period. They worked with the various social service agencies and community organisations to reach out to help the students.
 
Chia Ying will read English at University of California, Los Angeles, and will serve in the Teaching Service upon graduation. 
 
My heartfelt congratulations to both Zyn Yee and Chia Ying.
 
It is heartening to know that Zyn Yee and Chia Ying continue to be deeply involved in community work and I hope to see them contribute back to society in the near future. It is important for the public service to have committed leaders who are grounded and have a heart for the people they lead and serve. As recipients of the President’s Scholarship, you have the responsibility to take the lead in galvanising different segments of society, and to guide Singapore forge a future it desires. 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is the test of our generation. No one could foresee the pandemic. When the virus first surfaced last year, few knew how it would drastically impact our lives and livelihoods.
 
Our people have remained united despite the challenging times. We have heard stories of compassion and hope in our society, and how Singaporeans have come together as one nation to support one another. 

I am glad that the public service has also stepped up during this period. Many dedicated and diligent public service officers have been working tirelessly to manage the crisis, whether it was in contract tracing operations or in implementing support measures to help businesses. 

We have had to make adjustments in our daily lives, including the way we commemorate our nation’s independence. On Monday, we celebrated Singapore’s 56th birthday with a scaled-down ceremonial parade. For the first time in our history, we have to postpone the National Day Parade show segment, which will be held only later, on 21 August. 

The COVID-19 pandemic will not be the last we face as a nation. As future leaders, you have to remain steadfast and continue to serve with dedication and humility. Stay resilient and adaptable so that you can create policies that will serve the best interest of Singaporeans. Stay engaged and connected to the community and listen to the views and concerns of our people with empathy and understanding. It is your duty to embody the values of the Public Service, uphold the trust that has been placed in you, and do your part to support Singapore’s continued success. 
 
Finally, I would also like to congratulate your families, principals, teachers and friends, for their roles in developing your potential and shaping your character and values. I am confident that you will do us proud. I wish you all the best in your journey ahead and look forward to you serving our nation with pride and passion.
 
Thank you.