Hard Seats Lecture with Minister Chan Chun Sing
S R Nathan Hard Seats Lecture with Minister Chan Chun Sing
Many of you who would have wished to attend the exciting Fireside Chat with Minister Ong Ye Kung were unable to do so as it was very quickly oversubscribed. Fret not, for the Society is pleased to announce that on 11 January 2018, 7pm, I have invited Minister Chan Chun Sing to inaugurate the first in our series of Annual S R Nathan Hard Seats Lectures at the Pyramid Club.
"I want to tell you all about what made this country. Hard work, persistence and a first generation that always sought hard seats - not the cushy seats we were sitting in for the dialogue session.” So said our Sixth President of Singapore, S R Nathan, a few months before his death last year when he kindly addressed a small group of our alumni, mainly our younger members who we invited to meet and hear from the great man.
At his request, that session was an intimate, closed doors dialogue, limited to a dozen. Though already ill, Mr Nathan graciously spent two hours with us to share his thoughts on social mobility, leadership and the future of Singapore. With true candour, he also shared his concerns for the less fortunate in our Society, his worry about stress, mental illness and suicides amongst our younger Singaporeans and exhorted us as privileged members of Society (especially our millennials) to feel a duty to put back into the country and to not just be takers.
Inspired by Mr Nathan's call to emulate the public service and sacrifice of Singapore's first generation leadership, I am pleased to announce that the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore has inaugurated the Annual “S R Nathan Hard Seats" Lecture Series with eminent leaders as an annual keynote event of The Oxford and Cambridge Society, in memory of our beloved former President of Singapore.
The aim of the "Hard Seats" Lecture Series is to provide a platform for us to learn from leaders and changemakers from varied walks of life who have overcome and tackled challenging circumstances to bring about impact and change in their various spheres. Thereby I hope we as a membership can then better play our part in Society, individually and collectively.
Minister Chan Chun Sing (an alumnus) is eminently suitable to do the honours. From relatively humble beginnings - and like Mr Nathan, Minister Chan was raised in a single-parent family and has said that his poor background has made him more determined to succeed. Minister Chan was awarded the SAF (Overseas) and President's Scholarship in 1988 to read Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating with First Class Honours. He then served with distinction in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for 20 years, rising to Chief of Army, before entering politics in 2011.
A leading member of Singapore's fourth generation political leadership - Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Deputy Chair of the People's Association, Minister Chan has been widely touted as a potential future Prime Minister of Singapore.
The Straits Times, for instance, noted that after entering politics in 2011, Minister Chan was the first in that batch to be promoted to full Minister. In addition to his familiarity with military and defence issues, Minister Chan also has strong links with two key groups: the trade unions (NTUC) and grassroots organisations (People's Association). Within the PAP, after the 2015 General Election, he was tapped to head the executive committee of the party headquarters; he is also the Party Whip, rostering Members of Parliament to speak and ensuring they vote according to the party line. In October this year, when asked if he would like the job of Prime Minister, Minister Chan simply replied, "All of us have to be prepared to do the job when called upon." Repeating a quote by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, he added that, "In Singapore, leadership is a responsibility to be borne, not a position to be sought."
I have asked Minister Chan to adopt a "Hard Seats" approach to talk about the issues that irk our society and share his views on Singapore's future/ our challenges / how we help the less fortunate. How does he see his role within the "4G" leadership?
Book your calendars on 11 January, 7pm at the Pyramid Club to discuss these issues and more at our Inaugural S R Nathan Hard Seats Lecture. Sign-up details are forthcoming in a separate e-mail.
Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore