Finding the courage to take action

Megan Tan overcame her shyness to deliver a speech championing animal welfare at the Asia for Animals Conference.

IN THE NEWS

WHO: Megan Tan, 10, a pupil at Maha Bodhi School, gave the keynote address at the Asia for Animals Conference. A keynote address is the main speech at an event that talks about the important ideas of the event or conference.

Megan delivered her speech in front of an audience full of adults, including Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam.

WHAT: Mr Shanmugam said Megan was a shy girl and noted that it must have been difficult for her to stand in front of an international audience to give a speech.

"But she decided to make the speech because of her deep care and concern for animals," he said.

WHY: In Megan's speech, which she wrote herself, she highlighted the importance of animals to humans and to the planet.

She first realised that many animals were treated unfairly through a documentary she watched five years ago.

More importantly, she decided that she was not helpless despite her young age.

"When (animals) get abused, they cannot defend themselves or tell us how they feel. So I think it is up to us to speak up for them," she said.

"I may be only 10 years old, but I have decided that I can make a difference, too," she added.

Megan also designed four animal-inspired notebook covers to help raise funds for the animal welfare group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.

THE TEACHER SAYS

There will be many times in your life when you will encounter situations where people, animals and the environment may be hurt or harmed and need help.

Often, those problems may seem too immense for any one person to solve on his own.

However, remember that your every action makes a difference. Your actions could even create a ripple effect by inspiring others to take action as well. Megan, for example, did not let her age - or her shyness - get in the way of helping animals.

Instead, her efforts to promote animal welfare have grabbed attention and admiration precisely because of her young age. Megan's example has moved and inspired many people older than her.

You are about Megan's age too. You have as much power to contribute to the world as she does.

This article was first published in The Straits Times' supplement Little Red Dot by the Editorial Projects Unit.


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