Many young Singaporeans
spend their Saturday afternoons hanging out at
their favourite coffee joints or simply surfing
the Net at home. Such pastimes are not for one
South West youth.
For 23-year-old university
student Mervyn Sek, Saturday means making his
weekly trip to the MINDS Guillemard Gardens School
to meet a very special friend Yi Biao,
intellectually challenged youth two years his
junior. He has been doing this since 1998.
Wests Mervyn (centre) with his Singapore
team mates .... all
set to showcase the vigour and giving sprit
of the nations youth at
the 5th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative
Mervyn, a resident of Telok Blangah Heights since young,
recently did the South West community proud by being
one of four university students selected to represent
Singapore at the 5th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative
(HYLI) to be held here from July 29 to August 2.
The event will bring together 24 students and opinion
leaders from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore and Thailand. They will discuss various issues
under the theme Asias Roadmap Forging
Regional Cohesion for Global Advancement. I
had expected many applicants and was not very confident
of winning, Mervyn told BRIDGE shortly after he
was declared a winner. I felt I did not perform
during the intense panel interview session that covered
a multitude of issues. Thus,I was plesantly surprised
when told I had made it. I feel very honoured and encouraged
that my hard work and determination have been appreciated.
The HYLI will be an excellent platform to gain
a broader perspective of regional and global issues.
I expect the participants will develop a greater understanding
of the different cultures of the six countries.
To prepare for the meeting, each student has to put
up papers on three
topics which will be circulated to every participant.
Mervyns topic is The Growing Importance
of Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia.
I enjoy interacting with people and organising
events for the benefit of others, Mervyn said.
My passion has always been youth activism and
volunteerism for community service. I feel there is
more to life than doing things for oneself and accumulating
material goods. It would be more satisfying if you could
make time to reach out to others who are less
fortunate, to help them enjoy themselves, or develop
For instance, I am very happy with the progress
that Yi Biao has made. He has slowly learnt to understand
the behaviour norms society expects when I bring him
on trips around Singapore on public transport, and has
Mervyn is majoring in economics at the National University
of Singapore (NUS) and is in his honours year. He holds
a Local Merit Teaching Scholarship from the Public Service
Commission and will embark on a
one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Education upon graduation.
His leisure pursuits include photography and going to
the movies. He loves to attend self-development seminars
and workshops to learn something different. Thus, when
he saw an email circulated within NUS inviting undergraduates
to apply for the 5th HYLI, he decided to give it a shot.
Mervyns community projects have so far stemmed
from opportunities within NUS and the National Volunteer
Council. He has recently responded online to the South
West CDCs call for volunteers and hopes to do
more for his neighbourhood community, even while he
completes his studies.
For more information on volunteering in the South West,
please phone Surin Kaur on 6470 2878 or email Surin_KAUR@pa.gov.sg.
Mervyn has served in more than 40 positions in
the National University of
Singapores student organisations and other
volunteer programmes. Some of these include:
- Project Director, 1999/2000 of the Freshmen
Volunteer Camp. He was also the initiator of
the inaugural camp.
- Chairperson, Volunteer Action Committee of
the NUS Students Union, 2000/2001
- Life Smart Trainer, National Volunteer
Centre and Integrative Learning Corporation
Life Keys for Life Smart Teens
- Committee Member (Fund Raising Task Force),
Singapore Red Cross Society Young
Leaders Club Programme, 2002