Principal of Temasek Junior College, Ms Susan Leong
Board and Committee Members of Business China,
Our keynote speaker today, Dr Martin Jacques
Guests, Teachers and Students,
A very good afternoon!
1. First of all, on behalf of Business China, I would like to welcome all of you to our signature student event - the China-Quotient Student Forum. Today, we are very excited to have with us Dr Martin Jacques, renowned author of the best-selling book, “When China Rules the World”, to share his insights into China’s rise. Will China really rule the world? What will happen when China rules the world? More importantly, as a junior college student, I am sure many of you would be wondering how this would create an impact on your future.
2. Now, most of you would be 17 or 18 years old? That is exactly the same number of years that China took to multiply her GDP per capita by 10 times, from US$779 in 1997, to US$7595 last year . Since initiating market reforms in 1978, more than 500 million citizens were lifted out of poverty . That is about 100 times the current population of Singapore. Those were no mean feat. How did China do it? What did the determination and gumption of her people show us? What can we learn from her experience?
3. Singapore and China may be vastly different in physical and population size, but we share very special bonds of friendship. 70% of Singapore’s population is Chinese. Most of our forefathers and your great-grandfathers probably came from China. Although formal diplomatic relations between Singapore and China were established in 1990, Singapore and China relations date back a long way with century-old ancestral ties and cultural affiliations. Way back in the late 1970s, when China was just beginning to open up, Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister and Founding Patron of Business China, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was already making frequent visits to China, laying the foundation for strong bilateral ties between Singapore and China.
4. Over the years, our economic cooperation have also gained traction across many sectors. Singapore has been China’s top source of direct foreign investment for the past two years and China was also Singapore’s largest trading partner last year. China’s rapid growth offers abundant opportunities on many fronts, be it in terms of internships, career advancements or business opportunities, hence it is important that you, as the leaders of tomorrow, are able to seize these opportunities and ride the China wave.
5. It is with this aim in mind that Business China partners with like-minded institutions to organise talks and forums to pursue our common objectives. Launched in 2007 by our Founding Patron, Singapore Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Business China strives to nurture an inclusive bilingual and bicultural group of Singaporeans so as to sustain our multi-cultural heritage, and to develop a cultural and economic bridge linking the world and China.
6. We are happy that Temasek Junior College shares the same commitment towards equipping our youths to be future-ready, China-savvy and connected with the world. TJC, being one of the first colleges to offer the Chinese Language Elective Programme or CLEP back in 1990, has a strong tradition in promoting Chinese language and cultural capabilities in our youths. We are heartened to know that today, besides the CLEP, students can also pursue China Studies in both English and Chinese and at H2 levels.
7. This year is a special year for Business China as we celebrate our eighth anniversary and the 25th anniversary of Singapore-China diplomatic relations. Over the years, we had organised more than 200 multi-faceted events benefitting some 50,000 Singaporeans. As China’s society is constantly evolving, it is necessary for us to always keep abreast of her developments and understand its relevance to Singapore.
8. On that note, I would like to thank Dr Jacques for taking time off his busy schedule to share his invaluable insights with us today. We will open the floor for questions later on, so go ahead, take the opportunity to ask all your burning questions and join in the discussion. At the end of the day, I hope that this session will help you gain a better understanding of China and that you will walk away feeling inspired and empowered to conquer your dreams!
9. Thank you!