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Transcript of Minister Lawrence Wong's Remarks at SMU's Virtual Commencement 2021 on 24 August 2021

24 Aug 2021
Dear graduands,

1. Congratulations to one and all on reaching this important milestone in your education journey!  

2. You are graduating in the midst of a global pandemic that has and will continue to change the world.  

a. It has already impacted some of your university experience. For example, the shift to home-based learning, or the cancellation of some of your overseas trips.  

b. You will continue to feel the impact after you graduate and start work. For example, you may have to work from home or have virtual meetings.

c. Some of the changes are temporary in nature. But not everything will go back to how they were before Covid-19. 

d. So you will have to take all of this in your stride, and prepare for a new normal and a permanently changed world.

3. In many ways, Covid-19 has been a huge test of our resolve and solidarity.

a. We have all experienced tremendous stresses and strains over the past 19 months.

b. But we have continued to hold together as one people.  

c. We have looked out for one another, and helped those who are in need.  

4. So Covid-19 has not weakened us.

a. Instead it has made us stronger, more resilient, and more united as a people.

b. In this crisis of a generation, we have shown ourselves and the world what Singapore and Singaporeans can do.

5. So always remember what you’ve been through over this period as you embark on your next steps.  

a. Take time and reflect upon what is important to you, and how you want to make your mark.

b. Pursue every ambition and go as far as you can. 

c. At the same time, I ask that you make our community a priority. 

d. Think of the many who have made countless daily sacrifices throughout this pandemic – from our frontline and essential services workers, to the silent heroes who have gone out of their way to help the vulnerable in our midst.

e. I hope their service will inspire you to look beyond yourself, and consider how you can, in turn, serve others who are in need. 

6. So as you pursue your dreams and chase the rainbow, always remember the responsibility you have to one another, and the things you can do to make a lasting difference in the community. 

a. We are living in extraordinary times.

b. You have risen to the challenges, and you have proven yourselves to be an extraordinary generation.

c. So I look forward to hearing more of your achievements in different fields, as we continue to work together for a brighter future and a better Singapore.   

d. My heartiest congratulations once again to each and every one of you.