Convocation speaker: SUSS was ‘last choice’, but now grateful for focus on knowledge & values

The Education Minister praised it as one of the best speeches given by a graduand at a convocation ceremony.

Sulaiman Daud | October 10, 2019 @ 12:35 am


A speech by Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) graduant Wong Ee Wai won praise for its trenchant message on how to deal with rejection in a positive manner.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who was attending the convocation ceremony as the guest-of-honour said, “today I heard one of the best speeches given by a graduand at a convocation ceremony.”

His “last choice”

Wong, a graduate from the full-time accountancy programme, told the audience on Oct. 9 with complete candour that SUSS, previously known as SIM University, was his “last choice”.

Wong said that he is one of the those who was “rejected from almost every other public university”.

In fact, his father told him bluntly in Mandarin that he didn’t have much of a choice, when he asked whether he should accept the offer.

However, Wong chose to see the bright side, and said: “But SUSS had opened a door when others were shut – it believed in us!”

The value of the humanities and the “little things”

He elaborated that SUSS’s curriculum, with work attachments and service-learning projects, provided the right kind of flexibility for adult learners.

Wong said that “it was the little things” that SUSS does differently.

For instance, he appreciated the value of the Common Core modules, which introduced arts subjects to his seemingly-unrelated degree.

“Many of us had initially questioned the relevance of history, literature, culture and technology in a business degree. For me, these modules were very tough, introducing concepts and knowledge that I was completely unfamiliar with.

Yet today, I believe they are an integral part to my education, developing a world view enriched by multiple fields of knowledge.”

Besides common core modules, Wong also highlighted how service-learning projects, work attachments, overseas experience as “gears in a mechanical watch” work together to create a complete experience with the right type of flexibility for adult learners.

Balance economic growth and social development

Wong also paid tribute to the part-time students, who had to juggle their studies with their work and family commitments. Said Wong:

“I am prepared for life because of SUSS and I am grateful to the faculty who spent days and nights teaching us not just knowledge but also values.”

According to Ong, Wong did so well during his internship at Ernst & Young that he was offered a job before he was graduated.

In his own speech during the ceremony, he said that the SUSS name itself was chosen to symbolise the need for students to have a “strong sense of community” even as they pursue career success, and to balance economic growth with social development.

President Halimah Yacob, Patron of SUSS, and Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose son also graduated from SUSS, were also in attendance.

You can see Ong’s post below:

Related story:

Indonesian President Jokowi attends his youngest son’s graduation ceremony at SUSS

Top image from Ong Ye Kung’s Facebook page.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve and his favourite person is Jürgen Klopp. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

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