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Thursday, March 14, 2002

Leaders of the future

What should they be like? 

By Zubaidah Nazeer and Sarah Ng

DEDICATION, initiative and passion, sincerity and the desire to place society above self.

These are the traits good leaders should have, said four undergraduates selected out of 700 to represent Singapore at the fifth Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative (HYLI) yesterday.

Without realising it, the four had echoes the same points also made yesterday by Environment Minister Lim Swee Say who addressed 135 secondary four students at a leadership seminar held at the National University of Singapore.

Mr Lim said: "The first step towards leadership is learning to serve with a purpose... it is not about creating success and deriving satisfaction for yourself.

"Good leadership is about what you do for your community and country, and that with a sense of passion."

He should also be an agent of change.

"Secondly, a good leader cannot be someone who follows the wind... he must be able to look beyond trends and initiate changes," Mr Lim added.

And the coincidence went beyond opinion. The four undergraduates - Rita Zamzamah Mohd Nazeer, Mervyn Sek, Mustafa Izzudin and Gerald Goh - were identified as potential future leaders based on their active community service involvement and leadership poistions.

Rita, 22, a third-year National Institute of Education undergraduate, said: "As a leader, you must be drivem by a strong sense of of social responsibility and passion for doing what you do, not merely doing it for the sake of meeting personal targets."

The teacher-to-be participated in SPCA and Singapore Children's Society activities and strongly believes in promoting environmental awareness.

Active involvement is NUS honours-year economics undergraduate Mervyn's calling card.

Said the 23-year-old: "The mark of a good leader is in stepping forward to use your skills for the benefit of all. Society gains and you will in turn earn the respect you deserve."

Mervyn should know - he hold more than 40 leadership positions in 10 student organisations.

First-year NUS political science undergraduate Mustafa, 22, believes a leader needs "vision" and should be "able to bring people form diverse backgrounds together to achieve that common goal".

Mustafa is honing these skills as a Mendaki Club executive committee member. He also helps out at the Malay Youth Literary Association.

Gerald, 23, a second-year finance undergraduate in the Singapore Management University, feels that a leader needs a "can-do" spirit which seeks opportunity for the betterment of society.

Gerald, who wants to be a banker, hopes to be as creative as Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo!

The four will join 20 undergraduates from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan during the five-day Hitachi-sponsored forum to be held her on July 29.

They will exchange ideas on how to cultivate entrepreneurial spirit, corporate social responsibility and discuss the role of the media in Asia.


2002 Singapore Press Holdings