Monday, 28 October 2013

by Wong Sher Lynn, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2013

A good evening to Dato’ Hamzah, Encik Hisham, Principals, teachers, proud parents, ladies and gentlemen and above all, prefects. 

Let me start off by enlightening you on what brought me here onto this stage today. A wise man once said “The greatest journeys in life begin with the smallest steps.” My journey of a lifetime began with a small step through the gates of Cempaka Damansara back in 2009. On my very first day in school, I told myself “I’m not joining any society, not playing any sport and I’m going to enjoy myself in secondary school.” And yes, I did exactly that. Did I really enjoy myself though? I’m not so sure.

Then I moved on to Form 2 and that was when I met the most competitive, intelligent and active bunch of students. Every one of them were involved in almost every school activity and event you can name. Be it the one they hate the most or the one they love the most, they would do it anyway. I realized that if I didn't do something about myself, I would be the loneliest person in class. So, I followed them. I joined everything I could and believe it or not, I even submitted my prefectship application two and a half years ago because of them. They changed my school life and made a positive change in me.

Fast forward to two years later. When I first took the stage to accept this post around this time last year, many thoughts flashed through my head. A part of me felt excited and just could not wait for the challenge of the long obstacle course lying ahead of me. But the other part of me had so many doubts and was terrified and paranoid of so many things. 

The illustrious list of people who held this post made me question my ability again and again. I thought, what if I fail to be a good head prefect? Will I be able to hold up my reputation? If I go on listing my insecurities, this speech would probably never end. But, out of the many things I was worried about, delivering this speech was definitely one of them. Despite the fact that the due date for this speech was in a year’s time, I was extremely terrified of making a fool out of myself. It came as no surprise to those who know me personally that I was always the last in line when it came to speaking in public and being in the centre of attention. 

Oddly enough but undoubtedly proud, I became the head prefect of Cempaka Damansara. And tonight will be the last time I will introduce myself with this title. 

As time passed by, not only did I manage to conquer both my phobias, but I also became more comfortable in my own skin. Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering why I am telling you the most embarrassing stories about myself. They say, "Leaders who are honest about their weaknesses often survive, and not only survive, but they win loyalty at an even deeper level." So rather than hide flaws, shine a light on them. We’re all human. Nobody is perfect. Thus, I would like to prove to you that the flaws in leaders are not barriers to leadership but rather enablers of it. I am not ashamed of what I was back then but I am proud of what I’ve learnt and what I’ve become from being the person I was. 

As my term came to an end, I started to question myself what I would say in my speech. It was then when I realized that this will be the highest hurdle that I will ever have to leap across because it is almost impossible. It wasn't due to my glossophobia, but it was the task itself, which requires me to express the inexpressible. It’s because no sum of words, speech or presentation can truly convey what I ought to say today and what lies in the chambers of my heart. Nonetheless, I will try my best and I hope all of you will bear with me for just a few minutes. 

Tonight, I would like to channel the focus of my speech to the Prefects’ Board, a group of selfless leaders who have stood by me through thick and thin, a group I have led with pleasure and pride. Many students regard prefects as the police in school or annoying robots programmed to stand still at the top of the stairs or to patrol the canteen. These police robots with their sternest faces, constantly nag students to tie their shoelaces, pull up their socks or put their smart card in place. But no matter how these students view us, they will never ever come close to understanding the true meaning of being a prefect, which is unfortunate. It is not enough to merely experience prefectship, it would not do justice to our title. Rather, it should be cherishing every opportunity to lead, even it means being police robots for seven hours every school day. 

As J. Donald Walters once said, "Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance." These prefects wholeheartedly embraced their leadership regardless of the way they are being perceived, which prompts me to take this opportunity to recognize the leaders in my prefects. What most people don't realize are the sacrifices that every prefect continuously make. It could be something as small as an argument with their siblings to make sure their feet land on the hall's parquet floor before the clock strikes 7.15 a.m. every Monday or as dreadful as coming back to school in the middle of the school holidays to prepare for a performance for a special assembly or even worst, bearing the resentment from students or friends because of the immense amount of duties that take precedence over them. 

No matter how small a sacrifice or how big a sacrifice, they are sacrifices nonetheless. Perhaps the biggest sacrifice of all was their decision to give up the option of rebellion and undertake the responsibilities of upholding the principles of this school. These prefects put their responsibilities above themselves every single time and the fact that they do proves how dedicated and committed they are. They did not succumb to temptations and stayed true to the oath they took.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Without these prefects, I would not be standing here and I would not be the person I am today. With that, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all prefects especially the outgoing prefects of 2013, who I call my special bunch of friends. I have to admit, becoming the head prefect is no walk in the park but the promise I made to lead this board was the best decision I have ever made. 

Thank you all so much for selflessly giving your all, never complaining, the new lessons I learn from you everyday, for our friendships and most importantly, for always reminding me that I can always trust you. Your loyalty, courage and undying energy will never be forgotten. And without you, this year could not and would not have been as successful as it was. 

To my ever-so-loyal deputy, Azmin Massoumi as well as our DC Head, Wong Shi Jinn, thank you for keeping the board together and assisting me whenever I needed help. 

To the existing prefects, I know you may not be the ones under the spotlight tonight but thank you for being here today to lend a helping hand and supporting your juniors and seniors. There will be many more challenges ahead of you and I know you will continue to strive and leave a legacy alongside your new heads, Kai Xin, Amanda and Wye Mun. 

To the incoming prefects, your journey as a prefect officially begins. The ties you have around your neck is what you have earned with your blood, sweat and tears. Every morning when you put on this tie, remember the long arduous journey of probation you went through and the challenges and responsibility you entail.

To all teachers, thank you for being patient with me and understanding what my duties entail. Apart from that, to our advisor Encik Hisham, and our chairman, Dr. Rizal, thank you for your endless support and for believing in me. 

I have always been a firm believer of the notion that “great leaders are those who take a little more share of the blame and a little less share of the credit”. Our principals, Puan Farah, Puan Sapura, and Puan Rajini, are the epitome of great leaders and I would like to express my gratitude to them for their patience throughout my learning process. Your influence and great leadership will forever be engrained in me.

Although Dato’ Freida can’t be with us today in this occasion, her charisma can be deeply felt as though she was here sitting in front of me tonight. I would like to pay tribute to her dedication and inspiration and thank her for making our stories here possible.

Lastly, with all my heart, I would like to thank my parents for paving the right pathway for me to walk on, to lead me to an extraordinary school where my great journey of self-discovery and self-development began. 

And to the proud parents sitting on the floor, thank you for understanding, compromising and sacrificing your time and energy for your children. They would not be where they are today without all of you making everything possible for them. Tonight isn't just a celebration of your children's achievements but most importantly, it is a testament to the continuous support you give and the unwavering faith you have in your children.

Humbly, I have a kind request for you. Please stand up and put your hands together for the incoming prefects, the current prefects, the outgoing prefects, our teachers, our principals, our chairman, our founder and our parents for without each and every single one of you, we could not have possibly endured this journey and would not have anyone to celebrate with at the end of it. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

To Kai Xin, Amanda and Wye Mun, I trust that the Prefects’ Board of Cempaka Damansara will continue grow under your leadership. 

Thank you.


Photo credit: Encik Khairul 

Side-note: A very special thanks to Aisya Abu Bakar for giving me her support and helping me tremendously with this speech.
by Unknown 21:31 63 comments | in , , ,

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