Azhar Khalid

They are the future of Singapore.

Bear with me with this slightly longer post. It's my personal reflection.
Proud to be at my daughter’s Aliya graduation at ITE College East. It is a special and touching moment for me to celebrate her success.
Aliya is our third daughter out of four siblings. Many of us are familiar with the term 'the third or middle child' syndrome and may have certain perceptions of it. Today, I stand proud to witness how much my beloved daughter has grown and matured. Success is not defined by benchmarking your child against others. It should never be.
Admittedly she’s not the purely academic sort. Her primary and secondary school experience was traumatic. Being often ostracized, looked down upon and teased by her peers and teachers in our unsympathetic and non-compassionate educational system and perhaps even, society, Aliya naturally became very sensitive and had low self-esteem.
When she was first posted to ITE, Aliya wouldn’t want her friends to know that she has other siblings. I almost teared when I heard the reason why. It’s not because she hates her siblings. Instead she fears the humiliation of being questioned by her friends "how come you end up in ITE when your sisters are studying law in university and your younger brother is in an independent secondary school?" Her sensitivity reflects how deeply scarred she had been going through the system.
But little would one know that Aliya is a gem and has a heart of gold. She’s the only one ever in the family who had forced me to pullover to the side while driving because she saw a dead cat and wanted to help revive the cat. She’s also the only one who would automatically go out of her way to help anyone in need and her amiable character makes her a very likeable person with relatives and friends. Her pleasant personality makes it seems easy for her to get all kinds of jobs even on part-time basis. She’s very street smart and that makes her a real survivor.
Despite all the challenges, it seems that Aliya had found her footing while in ITE. She started to get good grades and GPAs, and made it addictive for her to perform even better.
She now wants to continue her studies and get into a poly for her diploma. God-willing, we pray that she achieves her goals and as parents we will always give our full support to help her achieve her dreams.
Aliya, I want you to know that you are very special to me since you were a baby and now you are all grown up I just wish you success all the way. I have faith and believe that you will emerge stronger than yesterday.
It’s my first time being at an ITE graduation ceremony, and as I watched all the ITE kids graduate and reflected on my own experience raising Aliya; it is a stark reminder for me on the virtues of humility and showing respect to others.
All of them have so much enthusiasm and they are the future of Singapore. Never write them off as I can see hunger for success in their eyes and fires in their bellies to make it big in life. Everyone deserves a second, third, fourth or even more chances in life. It’s all about just learning to respect that we each have different paths, capacities to learn and grow, and strengths to offer in life.
The only one true superior being is God Almighty
Azhar Khalid