Speech - Address by Ms Low Khah Gek, CEO/ITE, at the Closing Ceremony of the VTC-ITE International Student Seminar 2024, 28 Jun 2024, at 9.40 am, Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong

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  • Publish date:28 Jun 2024

Mr Victor Hui
Deputy Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong

Mr Donald Tong
Executive Director, VTC

VTC and ITE Management

Staff and Students from VTC, ITE and Shenzhen Polytechnic University

Ladies and Gentlemen

Shrinking World

Over the last three days, as we listened to the speakers and students describe the various challenges, innovations and new opportunities in Hong Kong and Singapore, we would realise that though our lands may be 2,585km apart, we feel much closer together emotionally as we are confronting similar issues (such as global warming, sustainability, liveable spaces, and inclusion) and as we all strive to create a better future for our respective communities. 

Buzz and Energy

The energy and buzz generated by the students throughout this Seminar have been inspiring and exhilarating. Walking through the exhibition booths and attending the various presentation sessions, I observe the following attributes among all the Seminar participants. And to make it easy for us to remember the attributes, I have named them (‘ABCDE’), so there are five:

  • A – Your appreciation of each other’s perspectives and ideas. During all the presentations, you listened attentively, you cheered, you engaged enthusiastically, in particular I want to highlight Shenzhen Polytechnic University. Dramatic presentation of the power of perseverance, or was it the power of love? And you all engaged with them enthusiastically and so it makes all the presentations very enjoyable.
  • B – is for your Boldness. Your boldness to think out of the box to create new possibilities and solutions. And all the 30 projects demonstrate your boldness and creativity.
  • C – C is for your Commitment to confront the issues and problems of the day. I give you three examples: So, we have the students from VTC Youth College, their project on Breathing Skyscrapers confronted global warming. We have the students from ITE College West, their project Mindscapes: The Journey Within, confronted the issue of mental health issues. The project by VTC IVE (Sha Tin), your project on Narrative Gerontology and Digital Storytelling, confronted the issue of senile dementia among the elderly. I still have D and E right.
  • D – is for your Determination to make improvements; and
  • E – is for your Eagerness to make a positive impact

And this Determination and Eagerness are demonstrated by the following three projects. From ITE College East, the Next Generation Traffic Lights for a more Inclusive Society. ITE College Central, coffee capsule buddy, and VTC IVE (Sha Tin), for your project on Dokodemo Call.

This really exemplify throughout the Seminar, A your Appreciation, B your Boldness, C your Commitment, D your Determination, and E for your Eagerness.

And we, as the adults, the non-youths in this group in this room, all the adults here were truly impressed and inspired by all of you. So, I wanted to applaud all the presenters.

As this Seminar draws to a close, I wish to draw on the third Speaker, Mr Ted Kwan’s framework, to highlight the impact of ISS. Now, his is a framework to measure social impact. But I think they are very applicable to measure the impact of ISS.

And remember his advice was, must be numeric, so we need to use numbers. Must be story-telling, tells a compelling story of the impact made.

So, and there are three tiers of impact. The first tier is more personal and social. So, we have 600 students from VTC, ITE, and Shenzhen Polytechnic University. So, I need to do a dipstick now and I hope you will respond.

Are you happy with the ISS? (Yes!) OK! Conclusion, 100%! Participants are happy and satisfied.

Have you made new friends? (Yes!) 100% have made new friends.

Would you recommend ISS to the next batch of students? (Yes!) 100% would recommend.  

So, I am following are advice and framework, [use] numeric to tell a compelling story. But there’s still a tier two. The tier two is about knowledge and skills. So, I need to check with all the participants – in the months leading to ISS, have you worked very hard to prepare for the presentation and exhibition? (Yes!)

So, I would say, all 600 participants 100% demonstrated extensive research skills, 100% demonstrated deep compassion for the community, 100% demonstrated superior innovative capability, and 100%, all 600 of you, demonstrated great communication skills. Well done to all of you.

The third tier is about the specific actual deliverables to the wider community. There are 30 projects, collectively, from 600 of you. The 30 projects offer practical solutions to benefit all the Hong Kong and Singapore community, and the Shenzhen community.

The 30 projects will touch thousands of lives. The 30 projects are commercially viable, and any venture capitalists who invest in your projects can expect return on investments. Again, well done to all of you.

Acknowledgments and Appreciation

This shows that ISS has made significant impact and it’s worth, we should continue to have ISS for future batches of students. So, to conclude, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to six groups of people, who have contributed towards a very successful and enjoyable ISS 2024.

First, we thank our three guest Speakers, Edmund Lee, Mark Ong, and Ted Kwan, who provided invaluable insights on the sub-themes of Innovation, Sustainability and Social Impact.

The second group, we want to thank, in particular, the students who came on stage to present and the students who man the booths and did the presentations. You have set a very high standard and I hope future ISS will be able to measure up to your standard.

The third group will be the VTC and ITE student performers. In particular, at the opening, we were very struck by the Symphonic Band, by the choir, by the dragon dance. And, in particular, we want to thank our VTC friends, for singing Singaporeans favourite national song, Home. You must have learned the song and we are very appreciative.

The fourth group of people are the VTC and ITE organising committees. The staff, they have worked very hard. You have meticulous planning, seamless coordination, multiple rehearsals, and you have made possible the diverse range of activities and experiences for all the students, making this Seminar a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience for all of them. So, thank you for all the work by the staff.

The fifth group, I want to thank VTC management, staff and students. We appreciate all the painstaking efforts you have put in to ensure my students and my staff, to have a wonderful time in Hong Kong. We thank you for being hospitable and gracious hosts.

I want to assure Donald that, we have spent a lot of money already, and we will be spending more. We will be helping and supporting the Hong Kong economy.

The final group I would like to express my very sincere appreciation to all the participants. You are the ones who made the Seminar so inspiring, engaging and enjoyable. But I hope you have found it to be enlightening, enriching and enjoyable yourselves, and that you will continue to connect as friends with your fellow participants.

Two more messages before I end. To all the ITE students and staff, have a safe trip back to Singapore. Don’t forget to go home ah. I know you love Hong Kong. But you can always come back and visit.

To the VTC staff and students, my ITE colleagues and I, we look forward to hosting you in Singapore at the next ISS in 2026.

我将在2026年下次在新加坡再見! 多謝大家!

Ngo dei yi ling yi lok nin joi Sāngāpgō jaigin. Dohjeh daaihga!