Take 5: 12 February 2018 by Mr Neo Hock Kheng
Good morning Mdm Tan, Mr Chung, Mrs Selva, fellow Colleagues and Gessians!
It is my pleasure to share with you one of our school core values Integrity this morning. There are two key messages I would like to highlight:
Key Message #1: Integrity Is Our Foundation
As we know, Singapore is well known as a clean city, not just its environment but more importantly, we have a “Clean system with high standard of Integrity”. Our system is built on a solid foundation – Integrity. This would not have been possible without the belief and effort of our Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who spent his whole life in building a system and government with high standard of Integrity.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said, “If you want money, don’t be in politics because when you take a bribe, the entire fate of politics vanishes.” Mr Lee and his Government had set a high standard of Integrity to keep the system clean and this has enabled Singapore to rise as one of the least corrupt nations. Indeed, one key success factor for Singapore to achieve and shine on top of the World is the high standard of Integrity which has taken root in our society. The culture of integrity that Mr Lee Kuan Yew and our pioneer leaders have created is truly a wonderful gift to Singapore.
As we enjoy our peace and prosperity over the years, we must not take this culture of Integrity for granted. Instead we must continue to strengthen the Integrity as our foundation in order to stand firm, strong, and stay united as One People and One Nation to face any storm that may come our way.
Key Message #2: Integrity Is Not Just words, But Action.
Integrity is not about how much we know, because knowing a lot will not make a person of high integrity. Most importantly, we have to put integrity into action. And this need moral courage to make it happen.
What is moral courage? Moral courage is about standing up for what is right. Speaking up and standing firm on doing things the right way despite external pressure, even when there may be a negative impact on one self.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a man of integrity. He said what he meant and meant what he said. He stood up to be counted for whatever he believed in; and, his word was his bond. Mr Lee once said, “Leaders must be prepared …… to keep the system clean. We have to keep our own house clean. No one else can do it for us.”
Gessians, what can you do to keep our house clean?
Let me give one good example, Georgia Ng of 4F. Last year when she discovered that additional marks were given to her in the SA2 Chinese exam, and though the additional marks could make a different of one grade, she immediately informed me without hesitation. With moral courage, Georgia has put integrity into action. I believe there are many Georgias among you, who have the moral courage to uphold integrity and do the right thing. You must always be prepared to take personal responsibility, be accountable for your own actions and do not make excuses for wrong actions. This is important because you are the future of Singapore.
Therefore, we must always uphold integrity and stand up for the right things with moral courage, and not for our personal advantage. Remember what Mr Lee has reminded us, “We have to keep our own house clean. No one else can do it for us.”
Please take down these 2 questions for self-reflection:
1. Why is Integrity so important?
2. How can we uphold and strengthen Integrity as our foundation?
Gessians, I wish you a meaningful and fulfilling journey as you put Integrity into action.
May I also take this opportunity to wish everyone Good Health, Happiness and 旺旺 (Prosperity) while we usher in Year of the Dog this Thursday!