JUL — SEP 2012 ISSUE 5
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MCYS ACTING MINISTER CHAN CHUN SING
HIGHER, FASTER, STRONGER
CHARACTER BUILDING IN SPORTS LEADERSHIP
Teo Chee Hean Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Home Affairs; Co-ordinating Minister for National Security
A Champion of Character: How Young Sportswoman Yeo Jia Min Stays on Top of the Game
Life Lessons Through Sports: How Sports Taught Me to Navigate Situations and Handle People
Spotlight: Physical Education Leadership Lessons? Two Physical Education Teachers Share Why
Paying it Forward: Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme
Passing the Torch: Halogen’s Board Movements
Higher, Faster, Stronger: The Leadership Face-Off 2012
Michael Palmer Speaker, Parliament of Singapore; Member of Parliament, Punggol East SMC; Partner, Harry Elias Partnership
Board of Directors
[Chairman] Lim Soon Hock Founder and Managing Director, PLAN-B ICAG Pte Ltd [Treasurer] Bill Padfield Chief Executive Officer, Dimension Data Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Chan Heng Wing Senior Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Non-Resident High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Cho Pei Lin Managing Director, Asia PR Werkz Pte Ltd Raymond McConnell Co-Founder and Managing Director, Sandler Training® Singapore Soon Sze-Meng Director of Cross-Border Business, APCEMEA Visa Worldwide Pte Ltd Martin Tan Co-Founder and Executive Director, Halogen Foundation Singapore Jeffrey Yip Co-Founder, Halogen Foundation Singapore
Sports and Nation-Building: A Q&A with MCYS Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing
Overcoming the Odds: With Sim Yi Hui, Co-Leader of the Singapore Women’s Everest Team
Editorial Team Jael Chng Editor
Faith Luo Jinghui Sub-Editor Daphne Lee Sub-Editor Peter Oh Designer
Contributors Shawn Khoong Fiona Lam Kristin Loo Charles Phang Halogen360 is a quarterly publication of Halogen Foundation Singapore. Halogen360 is distributed free to 2000 people, including ministers, partners, educators, volunteers, donors, and in the National Youth Council and *SCAPE. Copyright is held by Halogen Foundation Singapore. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. To provide comments or request copies of this publication, please email singapore@ halogenfoundation.org. Printed by NuColour Pte Ltd For advertising enquiries or media, contact Jael at firstname.lastname@example.org
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It is more than just the Game. 0.01 seconds. That was how agonisingly close the race between Singaporean Canagasabai Kunalan and Malaysian Mani Jegathesan in the 1966 Asian Games was. As Kunalan humorously related the story to us at The Leadership Face-Off (p.6), Jegathesan won by just his neck having crossed the finish line before his.
From the Director’s Laptop
In the heat of such competition and potential rivalry, amid high tension, stress and the drive to win, lies the test of true character. “Sportsmanship is about the ‘right’ things you think about and do before, during and after the competition”, said Kunalan. Years on, Kunalan and Jegathesan remain good friends who respect and admire each other. Such is the spirit of the Olympics—it is so much more than just the Game. Yes, it is about the excellence that brings victories. But it is also about respect and friendship—values that reflect the Olympic Spirit. London is gearing up for the Olympics which will commence on 27 July 2012. The Paralympics shortly follows on 29 August 2012. Its focus this year is to “Inspire a Generation”. To the organisers, the Olympics games represent not just where the journey ends but also where it begins. Using the games as a starting point, the organisers launched the “Inspire Programme” which birthed “Inspire projects”. Under this programme, over 2,700 community projects have been launched. One of the projects is “Voyage to Success 2012”, where disadvantaged young people have to overcome their challenges while sailing around Britain. This aims to raise young people’s aspirations and resilience through adventure. Another project is “100 Days of Peace”. Through conversation and research with young people and community leaders, this project aims to reclaim London streets from crime. Likewise, in this issue of Halogen360, we will be exploring the role of sports in leadership development. Meet 13-year-old sportswoman and student Yeo Jia Min who triumphed with the Under-19 singles title for the National Junior Championships (p.3), draw lessons from educators who use Physical Education classes to develop leaders (p.5), hear the heart of Acting Minister for Community, Youth Development and Sports, Mr Chan Chun Sing (p.7) and read about Sim Yi Hui’s journey on the extremities of Mount Everest (p.9). We dedicated this issue to sports as we see many parallels of sports and leadership. As you watch the Olympics this year, look out for leadership teaching moments and see how those can be translated into life lessons for your young leaders.
Co-founder and Executive Director Halogen Foundation Singapore
A Champion of
How Young Sportswoman Yeo Jia Min Stays on ABOVE: Jia Min and her parents who support her in every step of her badminton journey.
Miss Yeo Jia Min’s first brush with badminton came at the age of seven. She followed her parents to the former Vincent Hall along Upper Bukit Timah Road where they played badminton recreationally. She too picked up the racket and played occasionally with her parents’ friends. To occupy her time there, her mother, Madam Judy Wong, asked a badminton coach she knew if Jia Min could take lessons under him. The once-a-week training under Jia Min’s first badminton coach, Mr Tan Eng Han, an ex-national doubles player, led her to enter her first competition in the Cheers Age Group (Singles) Under-11.
The Under-15 Singles of the 2010 Li-Ning National Age Group quarter-finalist at age 11, and clinched the title the year after in 2011.
Last year, Jia Min was selected into the National Intermediate Squad (NIS) at the age of 12 and was its youngest member. In March this year, Jia Min triumphed again with the Under-19 singles title for the National Junior Championships. As part of the NIS, trainings took on a different intensity for her. She trains an average of 4.5 to 5.5 hours daily, except on Sundays. How does the 13-year-old juggle school and a hectic training schedule? “I learnt how to manage my time better, prioritise and make use of the free time that I may have,” she says.
Jia Min, who was eight, played against a ten-year-old and though she did not win, it was the start of her keen interest and passion for the sport. “I just feel good whenever I play badminton. Playing badminton is more like taking a break from my studies while having fun at the same time,” she says. “Although trainings may be quite tough at times, I still enjoy it because I love the game.” Over the years, Jia Min has won these games and awards: •
The Under-11 championship title at age 9, when she played in the 2008 Cheers Age Group (Singles) Badminton Championships. The Under-11 singles title in 2009 at age 10, when she represented Singapore at the Li-Ning Youth International. The Under-14 Berita Harian/Pilot Pen/Ashaway Youth Badminton Championship.
RIGHT: Sik Tat and Judy, Jia Min’s parents, sending her off at Changi Airport for a training camp at Guangzhou China in June 2012, organised by the Singapore Badminton Association.
Top of the Game
By Daphne Lee
above: Jia Min training with the National Intermediate Squad at the Singapore Sports School.
For this self-motivated young badminton athlete, movies and shopping with friends are some of the sacrifices she makes. “As I have to spend so much time attending competitions or trainings, I have to work doubly hard within the limited time. I have to get homework and revisions done in order to get the grades that I would be able to get if I had the time to study as a normal student.” However, she adds that juggling both her studies and badminton has made her stronger, mentally and physically. “I am better able to take the stress and difficulties which I face, deal with them and overcome them,” she says. Jia Min, formerly a student of Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH), entered the Singapore Sports School last month where she will balance an intensive training schedule and competitions along with her school work. “We considered long and hard before deciding on the transfer of schools,” says Madam Wong. “Jia Min enjoys the learning at NYGH and her teachers have been so patient and helpful in her studies as she pursues her sport.” Jia Min is grateful for the times when her NYGH teachers extended the homework deadlines. They also gave her extra classes upon her return from competitions overseas so that she could cope with her studies. The biggest credit goes to her parents who have played an instrumental role in encouraging, shaping and making an impact on her when it comes to badminton. “They have been supporting me tirelessly, taking care of my nutritional needs and providing me with moral support at every competition local or overseas,” she says. She also learnt to place greater importance on being a person of good character above her sporting achievements. “My mum stresses to
me that I should be a champion of character and to be humble and respectful, whether I am a sports person or not.” Madam Wong, a lawyer, and her architect husband, take turns to send Jia Min to her training sessions daily and they are present for all training sessions in the evening. Madam Wong also ensures Jia Min has family time with her second elder brother over weekend dinners at home. For now, as she begins a new term at the Singapore Sports School, Jia Min’s goal for this year is to win the ANA Asia Youth Tournament in Japan in October. “I see myself pursuing a career in badminton and my dream in the future is to represent Singapore to get a gold medal in the Olympics,” she says.
My mum stresses to me that I should be a champion of character and to be humble and respectful, whether I am a sports person or not. Jia Min Daphne Lee believes in the power of the written word and that every person has a story to share. As a freelance writer/ mother/business owner, she juggles rhetoric, playdates and business decisions all in a day.
Life Lessons Through Sports How Sports Taught Me How to Navigate Situations and Handle People Sean’s love for sports began in his formative years. “I was introduced to sports at a young age. It started off with family runs on the weekend, and as I grew up, I spent my evenings playing basketball in my neighbourhood. Sports has become an integral part of my life,” he shares. This sports aficionado had taken on numerous sports during his school days—he represented St. Hilda’s Primary School in swimming, rock climbing and sailing in Tampines Junior College (TPJC), played handball and soccer, and was a lifesaver (yes, lifesaving is a sport!) in university. Besides playing on his respective teams, he also served as the Vice-Captain of his sailing team in TPJC and as a committee member of the National University of Singapore Sailing. When we are asked to think about the advantages of playing sports, the physical benefits usually jump to the forefront of our minds. Yet, the mental values and life lessons that we can learn from it are not to be undermined. Having to juggle studies and trainings made Sean realise the importance of prioritising and allocating his time wisely. He would block out his evenings for trainings, and work on other commitments before and after that. “Sports also taught me how to handle different types of people, which was challenging, especially when there were people who were more skilled than me. I had a junior who was a national sailor… slightly more arrogant. I learnt how to manage such talent while teaching them structure within the team.”
By Fiona Lam
learnt to manage his team’s expectations and points of view, with his somewhat different take on defeat. “I played for the love of the sport. I didn’t play that hard to win, so defeat was not a big thing to me. I was usually the one telling the team after a loss that it was alright. To me, it is always better to lose graciously than to win viciously,” he explains. More than about winning, the tough trainings taught Sean a lot about discipline and endurance. In his own words, “They made army seem like chicken feet!”—very unlike many other Singapore men who would say their years in the army were challenging. Beyond school and the army, his sports lessons have also extended to work. Sean’s father, the sportsman he looks up to, taught him an important life lesson—that if he did not want to drown, he had to learn how to swim. He applies this to his work now as he witnesses how one needs to constantly learn how to swim and navigate the new waters if they do not want to be left behind. To Sean, there is so much we can learn from sports, such as people and team management, communication skills, perspectives on defeat and success, discipline and endurance. He hopes that coaches, educators and parents can see the potential lessons, extend them beyond the game, and make them relevant to youths as lifelong skills. That is an answer he hopes to provide here in Halogen. As he oversees curriculum development, he includes sports examples in Halogen’s Everyday Leadership modules where applicable. Sean Kong has been a volunteer with Halogen since 2005. He is actively involved in youth work and now works with Halogen as the Head of Lab, overseeing research, curriculum and training development. Apart from loving youths, he loves the outdoors and adventure. His dream is to sail across the Indian Ocean.
There were also times where things did not go smoothly for his teams and he saw tempers fly. As a team member and leader, Sean
Spotlight: Physical Education Leadership Lessons? Two Physical Education Teachers Share Why
Here in Halogen, I have the privilege of meeting educators who have been entrusted with the responsibility of Student Leadership Development. Among them, I have noticed that many are Physical Education (PE) teachers. As I pondered upon this trend and read up about it, I realised that this is a natural fit as sports is a great means to build leaders. Through sports, students can develop their value system, character and leadership competencies.
By Jael Chng
As highlighted in our Executive Director’s foreword, the focus of the London Olympics this year is to “Inspire a Generation”. The “Inspire Programme” has created millions of opportunities for many to get involved in the Games spanning the areas of culture, sport, education, sustainability, volunteering and business. With 10 million people in the United Kingdom involved in these projects, 9 out of 10 project leaders have been inspired to run similar projects in the future. This is the beauty of inspiring a generation—it multiplies.
Halogen360 6 I believe this is also the hope of many educators—to inspire a generation of young leaders to lead well and see the effect multiply. We had a chat with two budding Physical Education teachers on their thoughts of sports and leadership. They are Grace Tan, PE/English Language teacher in Pei Hwa Secondary School and teacher in-charge of the Outdoor Activities Club, and Benjamin Fong, PE and Computer Applications teacher at another secondary school. Character Building in Sports Character building is a common thread between building leaders and sport. A leader will not be able to lead nor command respect from others if his character is questionable. One’s character determines the values being communicated to fellow teammates and the quality of one’s leadership. The role of sports is then very essential as it has the potential to hone one’s character. Increasing Self-Awareness Through sports, one’s strengths and weaknesses become more apparent. When taking part in competitions or even during regular training sessions, the interactions with teammates and opponents help to raise one’s self-awareness. Often, such moments provide opportunities for one to realise that there is so much that can be learnt from others. Sports can teach one to be more accepting of our flaws and confront them with a positive mindset (one that seeks to improve on weaknesses). At the same time, sports can also bring out hidden talent, which can be further tapped upon. Similarly, in building up leaders, having self-awareness is pertinent. A leader who is confident with a positive outlook about himself, and able to accept himself for who he is, will be able to lead out of his innate being and be an effective leader. Rising Above Stress and Failure Leaders must be able to manage stress that comes from expectations. Pressure to produce results comes from coaches, teachers and bosses. Whether a leader or teamplayer, one needs to see beyond and work around challenges rather than let them overwhelm us. Amid mistakes and stress, we must stay focused on the goal. However, failure is normal, be it losing literally in a competition or just the feeling of being an average joe in the team. As teachers, it is important to provide a “safe” place for students to learn to pick themselves up when they fall. Students can learn to choose to dwell in self-pity and remain in the rut, or rise above the failure or feeling of being a failure. The latter leads to a gain in confidence as they take small
steps to better themselves. Through these experiences, they understand that great leaders are not the ones who make the least mistakes, but the ones who learn from their mistakes. Building Confidence When one engages in an activity that he/she does well in, inevitably, they will feel good about themselves. It then spurs them on to want to continuously improve. It is similar to leadership. We give them minor roles and responsibilities, mentoring and guiding them to be able to make the right decisions on their own. Responsibilities are increased till they reach a level of competency where you can trust them to carry out tasks without your guidance. Students then feel able and empowered. Creating Teachable Moments As a PE teacher, we can be intentional about inculcating values in our lessons. Regardless of the game or activity being taught, there will be teachable moments to highlight key values which are important in shaping the character of students. We do not have to only mention positive attitudes or examples observed; the negative examples are worth mentioning so as to teach right from wrong. More than just Physical Education PE is a valuable subject and contributes much to developing one’s character. It is very dynamic and definitely not “dead”. In PE, we work with pupils who may have psychomotor problems and cannot carry out simple tasks such as basic throwing and catching. We also have to work with students who regard themselves to be better than the rest and those who have low confidence. Some students refuse to take part because they either do not want to feel sweaty and dirty or simply lack confidence. We can take the opportunity to motivate, nurture, correct and discipline. Given the different nature of our pupils, no one lesson is the same and there will always be times for us as PE teachers to emphasise to our pupils the importance of developing one’s “heart ware” in addition to the hard skills learnt to play a particular sport. We can inculcate values such as teamwork, humility, respect, honour and integrity.
Jael Chng champions relevant ways of communicating with young people at Halogen. She blogs, tweets, snap photos, videos, posts on Facebook and writes for an online magazine.
Sports and Nation-Building A Q&A with MCYS Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing By Charles Phang and Faith Luo Jinghui
Nelson Mandela, then-President of South Africa, had a tough road ahead of him. He was on a mission to abolish apartheid in South Africa; to change mindsets and unite a nation which had been divided by race for some 50 years. While attempting to tackle the country’s problems, Mandela attended a game of the Springboks, the country’s rugby team. The Springboks was made up of whites and symbolised white supremacy. To the blacks, this represented apartheid, and they cheered against their home team. Knowing that South Africa would host the upcoming 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela put into action a plan to bring together the nation. Together with the Springboks captain Francois Pienaar, he believed that they could use the event to unite and inspire South Africa. Players interacted with the locals and Mandela, a black, showed his support for the Springboks. Through much efforts and faith, the Games grew in support, until one could see citizens of all races—both whites and blacks— attending the later games. Eventually, to the surprise of the nation, South Africa won an unexpected victory. Who knew? Sports was key in pulling the nation of South Africa together in its time of need and great change. How about Singapore? We joke about our soccer team and reliance on “foreign talent” to participate in Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games. But what purpose does it serve? It puts our name on the world stage, it brings out the Singapore brand and it challenges and inspires local talents to be better, to name a few. The Committee on Sporting Singapore and Ministry of Community, Youth Development and Sports has put in effort to nurture young talent through, for one, the Singapore Sports School, which opened in 2004, and the Health Promotion Board encourages Singaporeans to develop a healthy lifestyle through sports. What role does sports play in our nation? Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, share why sports is important for a nation, the link between youth and sports, and sports and leadership:
Halogen360 8 H360: How do you describe your leadership style? Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing: I try to abide by three principles: 1. To Lead by Example: Not to do unto others what we do not want others to do unto us, and not to get people to do things which we ourselves will not do. 2. To Serve, not Be Served nor be Self Serving: To try to do good for the people around us and make life better for them. 3. To Be Part of the Solution and Not Part of the Problem: To do our best to improve things but not be an obstacle to others’ efforts to do better. H360: Being the Acting Minister for youth and sports, do you see a common denominator between the two? What is your approach in handling these two areas? Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing: Sports is a means to an end, where the end is having Singaporeans who are future-ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Youth are our nation’s saplings for a better tomorrow. How we invest in their development and what values we inculcate in them will determine their future and consequently, our future as a country. At the individual level, we want our students to be resilient, worldlywise and disciplined in their pursuits. At the community level, we want our youth to have a sense of national identity, care for their fellow men and desire to give back more to society over and above what they have benefitted from. Through sports, we can achieve all these and more.
H360: What qualities do you think our sports leaders should display? How do we nurture these qualities? Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing: Sports leaders play a crucial role in developing and nurturing our young athletes, both in terms of sporting excellence and character building. Beyond technical proficiency, they must strive to embody sportsmanship, through behaviour such as emphasis on the team, respect for the opponent, perseverance, humility in victory and graciousness in defeat. They should be driven by the long-term development objectives of the athletes in mind, rather than meeting short-term agendas of winning. Under Vision 2030, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) will be setting up a Coaching Academy and a Sports Academy, which will include a Sports Leadership and Development curriculum, to provide technical training and soft skill development so that our sports leaders will be able to perform both roles well. H360: Our athletes are also leaders in their own right, as they are all role models, especially to Singaporeans. What lessons can they offer Singapore’s youth and how are they expected to conduct themselves? What positive influence can they have on our youth? Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing: There is a story of passion, hard work, fighting spirit and teamwork behind every successful athlete. These are universal values for all of us, if we want to succeed in any endeavour. To be role models, our athletes must also conduct themselves as true sportsmen and women on and off the sporting arena, by showing respect for others, and being humble and gracious. That way, we hope that our athletes can inspire all Singaporeans, not just our youth, to dream big, work hard and achieve breakthrough performances in their own areas.
At the individual level, we want our students to be resilient, worldly-wise and disciplined in their pursuits. At the community level, we want our youth to have a sense of national identity, care for their fellow men and desire to give back more to society over and above what they have benefitted from. Through sports, we can achieve all these and more. Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing
Charles Phang was formerly an intern with Halogen and now volunteers as a member of the Halogen Volunteer Editorial Team. His day job involves telling stories as a TV Journalist and Producer with Channel NewsAsia.
Faith Luo Jinghui chose to join Halogen after attaining her degree from down under. At other times, her “itchy fingers” can be found holding a drawing pen or on music instruments.
Overcoming the Odds
With Sim Yi Hui, Co-Leader of the Singapore Women’s Everest Team By Kristin Loo ABOVE: Yi Hui’s love for the environment has brought her to many places. Here, she treks the Gobi Desert.
The human race is literally in a human race. Everybody is racing forward to better themselves. However, if progress means taking the effort to overcome barriers and challenges, why do we still want to progress? The quest for progress is an investment for a specific return. The more challenges you put yourself through, the more yields you expect in return. As such, what sort of challenges would you want to put yourself through to improve? Extreme environments and dramatic landscapes have always fascinated and inspired Sim Yi Hui. This inspiration stemmed from reading stories of early explorers like Freya Stark and Mildred Cable. They stirred her appetite for adventure by their sense of purpose in what they set out to do in harsh environments. In 2009, Yi Hui and her team decided to challenge themselves—to climb the daunting Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848 metres in height. Even after much training, Everest still proved to be very demanding. Besides the extreme cold temperatures which could plunge to -40ºC, they had to face the risks of threatening avalanches and deep crevasses. As the team neared the summit, Yi Hui met with a huge setback. She suddenly developed a chest condition which could prove fatal higher up the mountain. This was where she had to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life—whether to continue the journey or not. Going on meant putting her team at increased risk. Turning back meant not reaching the summit after five years of training. Moreover, getting help or rescue could endanger the lives of the people who would come to her rescue. After much deliberation, Yi Hui decided to stay back. She waited in both agony and anticipation till finally, she received news that the rest of the Singapore Women’s Everest Team had summited Everest. This was a significant moment. Not only did they beat the odds and accomplished huge personal achievements, it also marked a proud moment for Singapore. They were the first group of Singaporean women who conquered the peak. While Yi Hui felt extremely happy with the team’s success, she had to reconcile that with her own personal disappointment. Was she considered a failure? What did success really mean to her? After some reflection, Yi Hui recalled that her team agreed
that to have just one of the members standing on the summit would mean success for the team. In her decision to stay back, she put the team before herself and that, was true teamwork in action. Back from Everest, Yi Hui is now working in the Raffles Institute of Experiential Learning, where she feels is an authentic platform to help young people understand themselves, experience the world and make decisions that have real life consequences. Through sports and outdoor activities, she sees that there are a lot of leadership traits that can be honed, such as resilience and the ability to operate in the unknown. This is not a story commonly heard. We celebrate the success of the six women who made their way to the peak. We salute Yi Hui for the courage to place others before her, so her team and Singapore wins. We believe her story and work now have much to contribute towards building young leaders.
RIGHT: Sim Yi Hui sharing her Everest story at Halogen’s National Young Women Leaders’ Day in March 2012.
This was where she had to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life—whether to continue the journey or not. Going on meant putting her team at increased risk. Turning back meant not reaching the summit after five years of training. Kristin Loo did a short stint in Halogen and is now a volunteer. She works as a Project Executive where she enjoys the excitement of handling events.
Paying it Forward
Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme By Shawn Khoong and Faith Luo Jinghui
ABOVE: Ang Mo Kio Secondary School students with their mentor, Barry Clarke, who guided them through their Action Leadership project.
How can we combine our resources and expertise to give back to today’s youth? This thought drove the Cambridge Alumni and Halogen Foundation Singapore to start the Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP), a youth mentoring programme with a leadership and community focus. Over six months, the mentors met weekly with the 55 students from the Normal Academic Stream at Ang Mo Kio Secondary School. The students had the opportunity to develop their own Action Leadership project. To prepare them, the students were equipped with an understanding of leadership and practical skills such as project management and effective communication skills by Halogen, while being mentored by the Cambridge Chapter (Singapore) alumni members. Students were encouraged to live up to their potential as a leader and to consider how their choices decide their contribution and legacy. Owning the project from start to end while being guided by mentors, students put theory into action. They served through five community projects where they cleaned vicinities and baked with the elderly of the Asian Women’s Welfare Association. Another group held a mini-carnival for the autistic children at Pathlight School.
RIGHT: TODAY newspaper featured the CHYLP programme in its Youth Feature on 25 June 2012. It highlighted how the Cambridge mentors and Halogen are lighting the way for young leaders.
Funding for two of the groups’ projects were provided by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) through the Mayor’s Imagine Fund. The Fund supports youthdriven volunteer community projects. From planning to execution, the students faced many obstacles and had many reality checks. Throughout the process, they were encouraged to independently make decisions, while mentors then debriefed the experiences and drew out the learning points. Barry Clarke, one of the Cambridge mentors, said, “I definitely saw more confidence arising as a result of the programme...
I think the key thing is to enable children to grow up to become adults and make good choices throughout their youth years and into adulthood. That’s a great challenge, with society changing, with pressures on society.” One student, Rachel Sim Siew Chen, said, “They not only helped in developing my character but also gave me a chance to portray my leadership qualities. With the aid of Halogen, I was also taught to be responsible, how to communicate well with others and how to be a good leader. Going through this has changed my perspective in life.”
RIGHT: Students cleaning wheelchairs of the residents of Asian Women’s Welfare Association.
When youths lead their own projects, they are empowered. They realise their ability to identify needs, vocalise their passions, use their strengths, work in a team and change their communities and spheres of influence. As Vice-Principal of Ang Mo Kio Secondary School, Carol Lim shared, “In Ang Mo Kio Secondary, it’s not just about young people who are driven, resourceful and knowledgable, but (young people who) know how to make an impact in that community around them. If we see all our young people as having that potential to lead and serve, they should bring that and role model that when they go out into the workplace later.” Perhaps for the mentors, it is a way of “paying it forward”. Our mentors, be they in the form of teachers, parents, employers or kindly strangers, once sowed into our lives. We now “give back” to the next generation. We empower them with our belief in them, our presence and advice we pass on. That is one of our ways of expressing gratitude for the help we have once been given—the pairing of competent hands with compassionate hearts.
Cambridge-Halogen Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP) will be held for a third time in late 2012. We are looking for working professionals and Cambridge alumni who are above 28-years-old. If you would like to sign up as a mentor or find out more, please contact Darlene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Palmer Immediate Past Chairman, Current Patron with Teo Chee Hean, Patron
Passing the Torch In the Spirit of the Olympics, here at Halogen, we have witnessed a significant moment such as that of a torch relay. Since last month, the flame was passed on by Mr Michael Palmer, our Chairman of the last two and a half years, to Mr Lim Soon Hock. As with the Olympic flame that represents purity, the endeavour for perfection and the quest for victory, peace, and friendship, Mr Lim Soon Hock now carries the Halogen flame. The Halogen flame represents leadership, influence and the building of young leaders of vision, competence and character. Mr Michael Palmer continues to champion the Halogen vision by continuing as our Board member and being our new Patron, and Mr Lim Soon Hock has taken on the role as the Chairman to further drive the cause of Halogen. We are honoured to have such great leaders to lead us. Current Patron, Mr Michael Palmer, and Chairman, Mr Lim Soon Hock, share their heartbeat for the youth and shed light on their new roles. H360: Mr Palmer, what was your greatest leadership challenge in your time as Chairman of Halogen Foundation Singapore? Mr Michael Palmer: I think the greatest challenge I had as Chairman was to raise funds so as to enable Halogen to continue to do the good work it does. Halogen is a unique charity in that it supports crisis-prevention work among young people. The cause is not necessarily appealing for people to give to, but nevertheless important in our society today. H360: What were your greatest joys in being Halogen’s chairman for the past 2 over years? Mr Michael Palmer: The best moments for me would be to see the energy and enlightenment that the students experience when they go through one of Halogen’s leadership courses. It’s almost as if someone turned on a light in their minds—widening their perspectives and helping them realise that they can lead, create change, and have so much to offer. It makes it all truly worthwhile. H360: When you passed on the baton of building young leaders to Mr Lim Soon Hock this June, what did you charge him with? Mr Michael Palmer: Soon Hock has a wealth of experience and needs no charge from me. But I assured him and Halogen of my continued support. H360: Taking on the role of Patron, together with your role as Speaker of Parliament, where would you like to steer the development of our young people in Singapore? What advice do you have for educators and youths today?
Mr Michael Palmer: Regardless of your views of the globalised world we live in today, it is here to stay and we have to learn how to deal with it. Our younger generation of Singaporeans will have to learn to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow. All I will say is that there is no shortcut to hard work. We need to be bold and take the lead where we can. Each of you is a leader in your own right. The only question is whether you will seize the opportunity and seize the day. Only you can decide whether you will be the captain of your soul. H360: Mr Lim, you have chalked up many accolades, including leading one of the world’s top technology multi-national companies and sitting on many boards. With your busy schedule and with the wide selection of charities out there, why did you come on board as Chairman for Halogen? Mr Lim Soon Hock: The Foundation seeks to develop and train young leaders who can change the world in the issues they strongly believe in, by inspiring and influencing young people to lead themselves and others well. It is a laudable cause worth supporting and one which I prescribe fervently and I subscribe to passionately. Since its inception in 2003, Halogen has reached out to about 70,000 students through leadership training in schools, inspirational events such as the National Young Leaders’ Days, as well as action projects where young people create social projects for their communities. Having no time should therefore never be an excuse for not supporting and contributing to a compelling and worthy cause, such as that of Halogen’s, no matter how busy one is.
Lim Soon Hock Chairman
Halogen’s Board Movements By Jael Chng
H360: With your keen sense of trendspotting and strong business acumen, what is your vision for Halogen? Mr Lim Soon Hock: Halogen is already doing a very good and commendable work. It has carved for itself a name for training and educating students to become leaders. Going forward, we can build on this success and our strong brand equity to drive holistic leadership training and education for our students to a higher level. We will have accomplished this if we can take our students, as our future change makers, to a higher intellectual plane, to not only better understand leadership in theory and in practice, but also to develop the intellectual inquisitiveness on the art and science of leadership. H360: Taking on the baton from Mr Michael Palmer, what do you want Halogen to continue to be and do? Mr Lim Soon Hock: Mr Michael Palmer has built a strong and enduring foundation for Halogen. What I hope to do is to build on that foundation and challenge the Halogen team to see and to expand our scope for leadership education. Having been a Chief Executive Officer for many years, I believe wholeheartedly that one of the most effective ways to impact our world today is through entrepreneurship. I see leadership and entrepreneurship as synergistic and symbiotic. It is important to develop and grow leader-entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-leaders, who will not only maximise opportunities and
profits, but also maximise the impact they can have on society, through able and astute leadership. Leadership and entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive and if we can start equipping our young leaders with entrepreneurship skills, we can raise a generation of young leaders who will have a significant impact on the economic progress and well-being of Singapore, irrespective of whether they are business entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurs. H360: With all your corporate experience and also being Chairman of the National Family Council, where do you want to take Halogen to? Mr Lim Soon Hock: Halogen would have arrived when our future accomplished leaders and successful entrepreneurs attribute their success and achievements to the first inspiring lessons in early training and initial education on leadership, which they received from Halogen. I am confident this will happen, given the significant number of alumni which Halogen would have produced. H360: What do you champion young people to be and achieve? Mr Lim Soon Hock: Every young person can be an accomplished leader and/or a successful entrepreneur. If one is prepared to learn and assimilate, one’s capabilities and capacity are not the limit.
Fact File Mr Michael Palmer
Mr Lim Soon Hock
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Speaker, Parliament of Singapore Member of Parliament, Punggol East SMC Partner, Harry Elias Partnership Government Parliamentary Committee: Chairman, Home Affairs and Law (2011) Government Parliamentary Committee: Chairman, Defence and Foreign Affairs (2008 – 2011) Year of Birth: 1968 Number of children: 1
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Founder and Managing Director, PLAN-B ICAG Pte Ltd Former Vice-President and Managing Director, Compaq Computer Asia Pacific Corporate Advisor, Medibank Health Solutions Chairman, National Family Council and Centre for Fathering 2009 National Day Public Service Medal Year of Birth: 1950 Number of children: 3
Higher, Faster, Stronger The Leadership Face-Off 2012
By Fiona Lam
ABOVE: 120 participants from 30 schools participated in the preliminaries held at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Museum.
Get selected as one of only four from your school to form a team. Enter a preliminary round where you have to challenge 29 other schools to be the “highest”, “fastest” and “strongest”. Compete among the best 10 schools in an intense three day two night camp. Be challenged in your leadership, team building skills and perseverance. Emerge as the champions! This was the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School team’s journey in this year’s The Leadership Face-Off (TLFO). Serangoon Garden Secondary School and Crescent Girls’ School came in a close second and third respectively. Its second year in the running, this nationwide leadership competition for secondary school students strongly emphasises leadership development in character and citizenship. It was designed by Temasek Junior College, Temasek Secondary School and Halogen Foundation Singapore, in collaboration with the Singapore Sports Council. In line with the upcoming Olympic Games, the participants were challenged to be “Higher, Faster, Stronger”.
LEFT: Students participating in one of the challenges at the preliminaries. They competed to create the highest structure that could bear the weight of as many balls as possible.
At the preliminaries, thirty schools battled it out in activities which required thought and quick reflexes. The participants also heard from Mr Canagasabai Kunalan, one of Asia’s athletic giants in the track and field arena. In his humorous manner, he shared how the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect translated into leadership qualities, captivating the 120 student participants amid peals of laughter. Eventually, 40 students in 10 teams of four were selected for the action-packed finals. It was a three day two night residential camp based at Downtown East, where four challenging tasks were posed. Students were challenged to create a novel sport and have other participants play it, produce a video promoting the Olympic spirit, collect pledges from the public in support of the London-bound Team Singapore and to creatively raise funds for the President’s Challenge.
To turn the difficulty level up a notch, participants worked with people from other schools for two of the tasks. In the various teams they were in, they figured out and complemented each others’ strengths and weaknesses. They also quickly familiarised themselves with strangers to cooperate on tasks because teammates would grade each other on how well they performed. Those grades in turn were added to their school’s overall score. When asked for their key takeaways from this competition, the common replies from students were “sacrificing for a common good”, “thinking from others’ perspectives”, “teamwork” and “rising up to the challenge”. Nurul Huda Rosli from Gan Eng Seng Secondary School shared, “During the competition, I learnt that as leaders, we have to step up despite the surrounding atmosphere. We should be the change we want to see (and) not just wait for things to happen.” To obtain feedback for their growth, participants also employed the Student Leadership Practices Inventory®* which helped to measure their leadership behaviours and guide them to take action to improve their effectiveness as leaders. Being placed in such an intense environment where they had to think quickly, solve problems creatively, be spontaneous, take the initiative and boldly work with strangers both in and out of the camp, I witnessed many friendships formed, and the positive change in our young leaders. The quiet ones stood forward and took charge on various occasions while the vocal ones learnt to take a backseat. The hesitant ones learnt to make decisions while the impetuous ones learnt to analyse situations thoroughly before taking action. Each stepped out in the quest for excellence and respect for others, showing both competence and character. Like how raw grain turns to cooked rice in a pressure cooker, these young people, placed under pressure and challenged towards a worthy cause, were pressed to unleash their true potential. *The Student Leadership Practices Inventory® (SLPI) is part of The Leadership Challenge® suite of programmes and products. The Leadership Challenge® is a research-backed programme from America by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. Halogen offers The Leadership Challenge® workshop and The Student Leadership Challenge® Certified Facilitator Training for educators, and the Student Leadership Challenge® workshop for students. We also administer SPLIs. For more information on how you can employ this tool or join the workshops, please contact Darlene at email@example.com.
Fiona Lam recently graduated from SMU. She was an intern at Halogen and now volunteers while working at a Public Relations firm.
Halogen Happenings What’s Coming Up? 17 Aug 2012
Charity Golf Challenge 2012 The Charity Golf Challenge is part of Halogen’s annual fundraising efforts to carry on and expand the vision to build the next generation of competent leaders with character and values. Our Guest-of-Honour for the event is Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. For enquiries or to book a flight, please contact Ivy at events@halogenfoundation. org or +65 6509 6700. Come alongside us to plant seeds which will grow to be society’s change-agents and leaders.
13 - 14 Sep 2012, 1 - 2 Nov 2012
The Leadership Challenge® Workshop A leadership programme developed by bestselling authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, this workshop is specially for educators who want to foster a greater understanding of leadership, hone their leadership skills, and become impactful leaders. It is based on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. Find out more at http://www. leadershipchallenge.com. To enquire or sign up, please email Darlene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 Oct 2012
Teachers’ Leadership Summit: Teaching Leaders, Leading Teachers Join us at our Teacher’s Leadership Summit this October, where we will be fielding experienced speakers to share their insights on the topics of enterprising leadership, digital leadership and leadership framework development. Be a teacher who teaches leaders and leads teachers. More details will be released soon. For enquiries, please contact Ivy at email@example.com.
8 - 9 Nov 2012
Student Leadership Challenge® Certified Facilitator Training Be equipped to train students in the student’s version of The Leadership Challenge®. Halogen Foundation Singapore, partnering John Wiley and Sons, is the exclusive certification partner in Asia-Pacific. To enquire or sign up, please email Darlene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 Nov 2012
National Young Leaders’ Day and National Primary Young Leaders’ Day Want to inspire young people to think beyond themselves? Do you believe that they can be leaders who can create change? This November, Halogen will be bringing inspiring speakers and role models to share their stories with Singapore’s youth. Don’t miss these events! More details will be released soon. For enquiries, please contact Ivy at email@example.com.
Halogen Impact A Snapshot of Some Recent Programmes
Reach for Jan-Jun 2012
# Youths: 6,617 # Parents: 180
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Leadership Seminar for South Zone Vice-Principals about leadership principles and values to meet future challenges. Strategic planning skills workshop for South 1 Cluster Heads of Departments. The Leadership Challenge® workshop and the Student Leadership Challenge® Certified Facilitator Training for educators.
# Educators: 513 # Facebook fans: 2,506
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The Student Leadership Challenge® Workshop at Deyi Secondary School. Mass talk on The Leadership Challenge® at Raffles Girls’ School. Everyday Leadership modules at Da Qiao Primary School, Crescent Girls’ School, Si Ling Secondary School and Meridien Junior College for student leaders. Everyday Leadership modules at Tao Nan School, Temasek Secondary School and Nanyang Junior College for selected cohorts.
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Facilitation of learning for the Young Social Entrepreneurs Programme 2012 by Singapore International Foundation. Everyday Leadership modules for Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)’s Youth Leaders Seminar 2012.
The Great e*SCAPE We loved the greenery of our previous office at Old School @ Mount Sophia and hearing the sounds from Timbre’s live band whenever we stayed back to hangout. But the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has decided not to renew Old School’s lease and so, we have moved! Our new office is at the youthful *SCAPE on level 5—you’re always welcome to pop by and say hi. Visit us at 2 Orchard Link #05-07B *SCAPE Singapore 237978, or call +65 6509 6700 before you visit!