SINGAPORE - They are Mr Arturo Neo, 19, from Hwa Chong Institution; Mr Brendan Dean Zhi Min, 20, from NUS High School; and three other 19-year-old alumni of Raffles Institution - Mr Tommy Koh Kit Shaun, Miss Lee Zi Xin, and Mr Eugene Lim Zhi Wei.
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Speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the scholarship award presentation ceremony at the Istana today evening:
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Mrs Teo
Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat
Chairman and Members of the Public Service Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen
Every year, the President's Scholarship is awarded to exceptional young Singaporeans with a deep passion to work in the Public Service. Recipients are chosen from among the most outstanding in their cohort. President's Scholarship recipients are given opportunities to forge meaningful careers in the Public Service and many of them have gone on to contribute as leaders in the Service.
A President's Scholarship recipient needs to not only excel in his or her chosen field of studies, but also be of impeccable character, an outstanding leader, and deeply passionate about Singapore.
2014 President's Scholars
This evening, the Public Service Commission recognises the intellectual capabilities and the leadership potential of five outstanding individuals who have committed themselves to the continued success of our nation.
The 2014 President's Scholarship is awarded to:
Mr Arturo Neo Yong Yao;
Mr Brendan Dean Zhi Min;
Mr Koh Kit Shaun Tommy;
Miss Lee Zi Xin; and
Mr Lim Zhi Wei, Eugene
All five of them have also been awarded Public Service Commission scholarships.
I congratulate each one of you. Your journey has just begun.
Shaping the Way Forward for Singapore
As we celebrate Singapore's 49th year of independence, let us not forget our humble beginnings. From a small trading port, Singapore has since progressed on many fronts.
Today, Singapore's education system is the envy of many nations. Our universities are among the world's finest. Most recently, NUS was ranked one of the top eight in the world and number two in Asia. We have one of the best public healthcare systems in Asia, and an excellent environment in which to live, work and play. Economically, we have done well, and have recently been ranked as the city with the best investment potential. Our efficient and effective Public Service has attracted the interest and praise of many other nations.
We have our pioneers to thank for these achievements. Without their perseverance, determination and foresight, Singapore could not have come this far. Our founding fathers established the foundation for our nation's success. Singapore will continue to need people of such fortitude and strength to bring our country forward.
Our current and future leaders will have to deal with many increasingly complex issues. As a small, open economy, Singapore is vulnerable to external economic shocks.
Even technology, which has enhanced our lives, must be handled with caution. Singapore is starting to take the lead in addressing some of these public challenges that many countries are also grappling with and there are no easy answers from copying what others do. There will also be unanticipated global and regional developments - what former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfield termed as "unknown unknowns" - which will affect Singapore in a connected world.
As recipients of the President's Scholarship, the onus is on each one of you to help tackle the challenges facing Singapore, and bring our country to greater heights. Doing this will require not just intellect, but empathy with those in our community. The Public Service must exercise integrity, courage and commitment to provide sound policy-making and serve the interests of our people. As public servants, you must engage the public constructively, especially at the early stages of policy-making. Be sure to consult a wide range of stakeholders, hear the voices of our citizens and keep an open mind to the increasingly diverse views that Singaporeans hold. Build relationships with all communities and leverage on the diversity that makes Singapore unique in so many ways. Above all, remember that everyone has a part to play in creating a better, brighter future for Singapore in the years ahead.
I am confident that you will live up to the high standards expected of you, and do exceedingly well to help take Singapore to the next stage of our growth as a nation. I wish each one of you success as you begin your journey as a President's Scholarship holder. I also congratulate your families, Principals, teachers and friends, for their roles in developing your potential and shaping your character and values.
Once again, I would like to congratulate Arturo, Brendan, Tommy, Zi Xin and Eugene on being awarded the President's Scholarship.