Speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the 2015 President’s Scholarship Award Ceremony On 14 August 2015 at the Istana

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


Good evening. Every year, the President’s Scholarship is awarded to outstanding young Singaporeans who are committed to public service. Recipients of the President’s Scholarship represent the best in their cohort, and display exceptional qualities beyond academic achievements – servant leadership, uprightness of character and a steadfast drive to improve the lives of others in the community.

2015 President’s Scholars

This evening, four outstanding young men and women have pledged to give their utmost for the continued success of our nation. They are Miss Lim Shu Qi Clara, Miss Lim Tze Etsuko, Second Lieutenant Russell Ewe Yuhang and Probationary Inspector Tan Kuan Hian.

Clara will be the first President’s Scholarship recipient in nine years to read Engineering.  Etsuko will read Law and join the Singapore Legal Service upon graduation.  Russell will be serving in the Singapore Armed Forces and Kuan Hian in the Singapore Police Force. Russell will be reading Politics and Philosophy, and Kuan Hian Liberal Arts.

I congratulate each of you on being recognised by the Public Service Commission for your leadership potential, commitment to service and strong desire to contribute to Singapore’s prosperity and progress.

I would also like to acknowledge your families, principals, teachers and friends for their continued support, and their roles in developing your potential and shaping your character and values.

Beyond SG50: What Lies Ahead

A few days ago, we came together as one people to celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence.  It was a remarkable milestone for our nation.

We have much to be proud of – a strong SAF that protects our country’s sovereignty; an effective Home Team that keeps our community safe; and an education system that is highly praised worldwide. We have a thriving economy which continues to attract foreign investments, and we are a leading hub for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

We have our pioneers to thank for Singapore’s achievements and success. With grit and determination, they overcame the odds and laid the foundation on which many of our accomplishments today are built. We must recognise that we are beneficiaries of the labour of our pioneers, and that we are responsible for continuing to improve Singapore for future generations. We must not, and cannot rest on our laurels, despite what we have achieved.

Leading Singapore to an Even Brighter Future

As recipients of the President’s Scholarship, you carry the important mission of continuing the legacy of our forefathers, and leading Singapore to greater heights. In a more diverse Singapore society, you will need a discerning mind, to think critically through the issues and challenges confronting Singapore and our people, and to formulate policies which will serve the interests of Singaporeans. You must engage and understand citizens at all levels, encourage and harness new ideas to serve the people, and place the nation’s continued progress as your top priority.  

The responsibilities placed on you are high and I encourage you to seize every opportunity to do good, especially towards those who are less privileged. Beyond achieving economic success for our country, lead by example in building a caring society.

In all that you do, remember to uphold the principles which undergird our Public Service – Integrity, Service and Excellence.


You have come in a long tradition of President’s Scholars, so many of whom have done us proud with their achievements in the universities they went to and in their Civil Service careers.

By accepting the President’s Scholarship today, you have also accepted the responsibility that goes with it.

We hope that you will preserve and protect the best of what has made the Public Service and our nation strong, while innovating and improving so that the Service stays relevant to serving Singapore into the future.

Clara, Etsuko, Russell and Kuan Hian - I am confident that you will live up to the expectations placed on you and contribute to bringing Singapore to greater heights.

Thank you.