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Young Expressions

22 March 2002

Forging Regional Cohesion for Global Advancement

Hello and welcome to Young Expressions, where we feature the writings of young people in Singapore. In this edition we bring you the first of a four part special, that focuses on four university students from Singapore, who'll be joining 20 of their contemporaries from five other Asian countries for the upcoming Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative that will take place in July.


 The four student Ambassadors from  Singapore selected to participate in  the 5th Hitachi Young Leaders  Initiative.
 
 They are: (clockwise from left)  Gerald Goh, Singapore Management
 University; Mervyn Sek and Mustafa  Izzuddin, National University of
 Singapore and Rita Zamzamah Binte  Mohamed Nazeer, Nanyang
 Technological University.

In today's programme, we meet Rita Zamzamah binte Mohamed Nazeer, a 3rd year student at Nanyang Technological University. She is one of the four Singapore student ambassadors who'll be attending the 5th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative.

"I have grown up with a passion in life. People. My parents inculcated a strong sense of people-centredness in each of the four daughters. It was in 1995, that I made a personal decision to commit myself to community service. I joined the Singapore Children's Society as a volunteer. The joys of volunteerism bloomed in me until I decided to join our four-legged friends at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Community service knows no boundaries. While conducting activities for the children, and fund-raising for the animals, I found myself very attracted to nature. In 1999, I joined the Nature Society.

My passion for community service self-developed and evolved to a point that it has become so much a part of my life. Community service is definitely a way of life I would like to promote to the masses. It is more the experiences it has brought me, which gives an unspeakable sense of satisfaction and joy to life. I believe that in community service, I give to myself just as much as I give of myself. Perhaps the intangible benefits may be less popular than the tangible ones. However, many of us fail to recognize that the essence of a society's strength lies in its intangibles.

We have heard that 'Bad Money Drives Good Money', and quoting Professor Koh Tai Ann, 'Bad English Drive Good English'. I fear that 'Bad Hearts Drive Good Hearts'. With the current spread of terrorism, this is a genuine fear. Each society should build towards cohesion, be it national, regional or global. Our government has pointed out that our 'heartware' has to complement our 'software' and 'hardware'. As Egalitarian as that sounds, I believe that progress is not in achieving this ultimate goal but moving, or even inching towards it. Social cohesion is indeed a crucial pillar in the region's structure.

With my passion for people, my future as a teacher fits perfectly into my life's jigsaw. Teaching has indeed been an exciting experience for me. Among my high-flying peers, I have chosen the road less travelled. Yet, this road has a place for me, and I am glad to be on it. I am certain that this road will lead me towards a fulfilling career I will never regret.

Educating the young is a tough mission to undertake. Teaching facts from textbooks towards academic excellence is not just as tough. School is about holistic education, where each child brings and takes away unique experiences of life. School is where friends and foes are made, and where life's experiences teach each child how to live. Each and every one of them is a gem that needs to feel precious and important in society. It is my hope to develop the 'heartware' of our impressionable young, into developing good hearts over bad hearts.

In this dynamic society, where the only constant is change itself, each and every one of us have a role. In a feeling of insecurity, we may have the tendency to incline to the 'bad side'. Fostering a closely-knitted society allows us to cope with changes as part of a robust structure. Especially in this current economic slowdown, ASEAN calls for greater regional cohesion to bolster economic, political and social support. Social cohesion provides multilateral assistance with common benefits of increasing investments, jobs and thus, growth. This engine for growth builds a robust ASEAN infrastructure, which enhances global competitiveness.

This initiative is an active move by Hitachi to encourage communication among the Asian youths. In joining this initiative, I hope to challenge my personal set of ideologies with that of the other participants'. De-structuring my possibly myopic points-of-view, I hope to broaden my perspectives of life and the issues surrounding them. It is indeed my hope that us, people with 'Good Hearts' will drive out 'Bad Hearts'. Or perhaps more accurately, influence the 'Bad Hearts' in seeking them to show their other side.


1. In what ways do you think that 'Regional Cohesion' will benefit the progress and growth of the ASEAN / Asia Region?

The continual challenge the world faces today, is that of keeping up with changes. Especially in the current economic slowdown, ASEAN calls for greater regional cohesion to bolster economic, political and social support. Regional cohesion provides multilateral assistance with common benefits of increasing investments, jobs and thus, growth. This engine for growth builds a robust ASEAN infrastructure, which enhances global competitiveness.


2. What qualities do you think an entrepreneur should possess? Who among the entrepreneurs in the Asia do you admire and why?

An entrepreneur is one who takes charge of one's action as, embracing the fruits of success and repercussions of failure, just as gracefully. One with a non-conformist thinking, a successful entrepreneur sees risk and failure as natural and necessary for success. Bernard Harrison, CEO of Wildlife reserves, is possibly not often recognized for his ability to balance entrepreneurial demands and passion for wildlife. I admire his passion and dedication to conservation, as well as his natural gift to maximise utility in the constraints of resources.


3. How do you feel the role of media can help advance or foster regional cohesion?

In this exciting time of change, it is essential for the people of the region to be kept informed. On top of just providing factual information, I feel that the media plays an educational role to encourage and motivate readers towards a global moral sense, which increasingly unites us all. Readers should be aware of biaseness in various media, in pushing individual interests. It is thus crucial to move towards exposure to various media in obtaining an objective and informed point-of-view.


4. How do you perceive the role of big organizations, in relation to social and community responsibility?

It is important to maintain an effervescent mix of companies in the region. Big organizations, together with small local and foreign companies, should compete and complement each other to thrive towards regional cohesion, where big organizations act as platforms for establishing players to grow. A self-sustaining enterprise ecosystem can result from contributions in various directions from sectors of society.


5. How do you think you can contribute to and benefit from participating in this initiative?

I hope to challenge my personal set of ideologies with that of the other participants' in this Initiative. De-structuring my possibly myopic points-of-view, I hope to broaden my perspectives of life and the issues surrounding them. In this dynamic exchange, while I learn from others, I hope to contribute in enriching their experiences with my thoughts and presence. This Initiative is also an exciting opportunity for us to lay the foundations of network towards sustaining regional cohesion.


6. Should you be selected for this programme with the main theme “Asia’s Roadmap – Forging Regional Cohesion for Global Advancement”, which one of the following workshop sub-themes would interest you most? And why?

a. Cultivating Entrepreneurial Spirit in Asia
b. The Growing Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia
c. The Changing Role of the Media in Asia

I am most keen in exploring the sub-theme 'The Changing Role of Media in Asia'. I have always been interested in the evolution of media in the world. Asia, in particular, is unique due to its strong and distinct cultural influences. The gap glares with the coming of globalization, which calls for a revise in the role of media in Asia. I hope to take this opportunity to delve into, and discuss this issue.

 

22 March — Young Photographers series : Winner of the Photographer of the Year Award (SAFRA) - Yian Huang .
15 March — Young Photographers series - the Poet Photographer Leonard Goh.
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Iraq-war-South East Asia.
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Asian Journal
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Singapore takes first step to help Iraqi war victims.
Arts Arena
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A new way of community service. (Part 2)
Philosophy Today
Taoism – Offering a Way of Life
Young Expressions
Young Photographers series : From the Stage to the Shutterbox - Vivian Lee.
EcoWatch
The Write Stuff
Ronin And Revolutionaries.
Snapshots
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