It’s not every day that I get to receive amazing invitations to dine with leaders of our nations – so when I did receive the invitation to a gala dinner with the Prime Minister of Singapore and his cabinet team – I was totally thrilled and honoured! I was the proud recipient of the SG50 funding in 2015 through my “SG50 Inventions Camp by Children” which showcased the innovative talent of our children to invent clever practical tools to help our pioneer generation live healthier longer lives. I did this project with the heart intention to reach our young generation and connect them to the real issues facing our pioneer generation.
You can view the highlights of this special project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRplifx5c8s
Our awesome night started at the Flower Fields Hall at Gardens by the Bay with a full security check (just like the airport!), a whole crew of media reporters anxious to film and interview the PM were there, and his team of body guards in plain clothes were on serious duty – looking intense and alert! The buffet spread was fit for a king with gourmet grilled teriyaki whole salmon, a delicious spread of local delicacies and a huge fusion dessert table which I thoroughly enjoyed (a little too much)!
The Cabinet team who came included Minister Heng (Finance minister), Minister Wong (National Development minister), Minister Tan (Social and Family Development minister) and Madame Ho (PM Lee’s wife). My husband and I planned our evening like it was mission impossible – stalking – ummm I mean talking to every minister possible and trying our best to take selfies with them!
There were great speeches from the distinguished guests, a beautiful video of the SG50 projects and then Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared about his passion for Singapore, SG50 and what it meant to him personally as he fondly referred to his father – the founding PM of Singapore – Mr LKY.
PM Lee ended his speech with a powerful message quoting a Chinese expression “Qian Cheng Wan Li” (we will have a great future, Singapore will enjoy brilliant prospects and be on the ball) that spurred me to think more about the limitless possibilities in Singapore.
In just a few months I have seen our Science themed workshops grow in number and influence from reaching hundreds of children who are interested in learning STEM subjects to now reaching community centres, home shelters, special education schools, international schools, Girls2Pioneer programs (STEM for girls), single mothers and partnering with Mothercare Singapore and Gymberoo play and music to reach parents and domestic workers keen on engaging young children in meaningful STEM based play. The opportunities are indeed expanding and the work itself is becoming more focused to reach children (and parents) of all abilities to provide equal access and opportunities to learn Science in a fun and hands on way.
When you start on a new project or new venture – my good friend Dr Tim Goh from the Melbourne Business School Australia advised – you should always start from the heart – and everything else, the business model, programs, the content, the people who will surround your work and lend support – they will all come… and that’s exactly what happened to me. From a heart felt passion fuelled project with 90 children to a gala dinner invitation to dine with the Prime Minister – in just 14 months of arriving to Singapore….some amazing flames started to ignite and like minded strangers came around…
Finance minister Heng Swee Keat – said in the Straits Times recently that we need two things for Singapore’s future:
Innovative enterprises and a stronger more caring society.
I could not agree more…