Youth can be referred to as the time of life when one is young. It also identifies a particular mindset of attitude. It is also defined as a social position that reflects the meanings different cultures and societies give to individuals between childhood and adulthood. It is no doubt that youth is the life stage of constructing the self-concept that is influenced by several variables such as peers, lifestyle, gender, and culture. It is the time of a person’s life in which they make choices which will affect their future.
How do you see yourself as an individual? What’s your identity? What are the choices you make today that are beneficial for you and people around you? Here are three youths who dared to conquer the unknown.
Kenneth Sng – The 1st International Student as the President of Student Union Abroad
Singaporean student Kenneth Sng delivered the opening remarks ahead of the second US presidential debate on 9 October morning. The 24-year-old Mr Sng spoke before a crowded debate hall as the Student Union president, welcoming everyone to Washington University in St Louis on behalf of the student body.
He is the first international student to serve as the Student Union’s president. The Office of International Students and Scholars at Washington University said in its official newsletter that the role of Mr Sng in the event holds special significance. This is especially more so “considering how issues surrounding immigration policy have become so prominent in this election”, it said.
“This is a very important year for the student union. It’s the first time they’ve elected an international student to be student body president in the long history of Washington University, and this year, we were selected to host the presidential debate. So, I feel a sense of responsibility and duty to students who have elected me, and the international community,” he added.
According to interviews with the university’s student newspaper, Mr Sng said he ran for president of the Student Union because he thought the university’s financial allocation process was not transparent or streamlined enough when he tried to start a Singapore students’ association.
The final-year student added that he intends to bring his approach to campus life back to the civil service when he graduates and heads back to Singapore in May. “If I have that sense of purpose and meaning in a career in civil service, I’ll definitely continue for as long as I can.”
Nathan Hartono – A Singing Sensation Who Took China By Storm
Singaporean Nathan Hartono, 25, finished second-place in the immensely popular Sing! China competition on Friday night in Beijing. Hartono, who is the first Singaporean to enter the final, had competed against five other contestants in the final held at the National Stadium which was won by China’s Jiang Dunhao.
The panel of four mentor-judges were Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou and singer-songwriter Harlem Yu, along with Chinese songbird Na Ying and rocker Wang Feng. The other finalists were Guangzhou’s Wang Chenrui and Malaysian singer Jeryl Lee from Na Ying’s team, Xinjiang’s Jiang Dunhao and Shenyang’s Xu Geyang from Wang Feng’s team and Jilin’s Yang Meina from Harlem Yu’s team.
Hartono is the sole contestant from Jay Chou’s team. He picked two Jay Chou classics – singing the Nunchucks rap hit with his mentor and the Longest Movie ballad by himself.
After the two rounds, spectators at the stadium voted and the top two scorers – Hartono with 35,577 votes and Jiang Dunhao, who had the highest score of 39,962 votes – got to vie for the crown through another solo performance.
The Singaporean crooner then picked a medley of Moonlight in the City and Woman Flower – songs by Singaporean singer Mavis Hee and Hong Kong legend Anita Mui respectively.
A panel of professionals saw 47 supporting Jiang and 45 picking Hartono. The Singaporean received 45,613 of votes while Jiang garnered 59,852 votes from spectators.
Hartono, who goes by his Chinese name Xiang Yang in the show, was the hot favourite going into the final, based on his performance in the semi-finals on Sept 30.
His score of 93.65 was the highest among the 12 semi-finallists. He also received 47 out of 51 votes from industry professionals and 333 votes from a pool of 350 live audience.
PLMGS Robotics Team – The Underdog
A team of 10 students from Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary) (PLMGS) remembers the “welcome” they received when they entered the competition area for a regional robotics competition in Indonesia.
They were laughed at.
Pitted against over 300 boys from various Asian countries at August’s World Robot Games, the girls set to work. “At first we felt intimidated,” admits 15-year-old Ling Yin, also in Sec 3. “But we just kept trying.”
After tinkering with wires and voltages, and putting their robots through various obstacles, the team emerged victorious four days later, clinching 15 awards across 34 categories at the annual competition.
For the girls, the wins showed how far they had come in a short time. The school’s robotics group had been established less than a year before.
When Mr Indra Ahmad, the school’s Mathematics and Design and Technology teacher received an invitation for an earlier robotics contest in 2015, he decided to put together a group of students who were interested to give it a shot.
After two months of preparation, the team ventured into the Asia Math & Engineering Competition 2015 with trepidation due to their own prejudices about girls and engineering. They came in second. That made them hungry for more success.
The school was invited to participate in the competition in Indonesia after doing well in the Singapore leg where it won first and second places in the search-and-rescue category, ahead of Woodlands Ring Secondary School.
With two months leading up to the World Robot Games, the team would meet once a week to plan. Competitors were given problems that had to be solved using robots. After weeks of brainstorming and trial and error, the team created three types of robots for the disaster recovery theme of the competition.
They created a search-and-rescue robot which could use a gripper to retrieve objects and pull and push things, a “sumo” robot that could simulate the pushing of big boulders and a robot that could follow floor maps to reach people that may be trapped or captured.
PLMGS was Singapore’s only representative.
In addition to three gold awards, two silvers and two bronzes, they won eight performance awards, plus a spirit award for showmanship and perseverance.
“The sky is the limit for these girls,” said Mr Indra.