Bringing out the best in me.

When I think about who, or what, brings out the best in me, I think about two overarching categories. The first being my support system, and the second being, my country -- Singapore.

This is an exciting time to be in Singapore, as there are so many sectors that are being recognized for the work that they are currently doing, for instance, the social services and social good sector. However, as a Singaporean who has resided in Oregon in the US for the last 7 years -- a land where there isn't very many other Singaporeans, I feel like one of the only reasons I am who I am today, and grown into the person I am today, is because of the overwhelming love and support I get from my support system. The different groups of friends I have made along the way who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams no matter how crazy they may be, but they've always been able to see the good in it. My family, who have continuously loved me for who I am. No matter how homesick I get on certain days, because of that Singapore spirit in me, I know overcoming anything is possible, as long as we endure and put in our best -- that is the Singapore spirit, just like how our forefathers endured and overcame in order for us to enjoy the safe space we call home today.

I am incredibly thankful for my family who has supported me through thick and thin, and allowed me to grow and spread my wings and fly by letting me pursue my dreams, purpose and passion. It hasn't been the easiest journey, but with their support, I have always been challenged to be the best version of myself. Through their love, I have been able to achieve so much for myself. And it is my hope that this love will be able to transcend generations, as I believe that knowledge is meant to be shared, as an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest :)

As Singapore turns 52, let us never forget our continued quest for building a country in which we want our future generations to be able to live and thrive in. Let us never forget to be thankful for what we have today, and to continually turn limitations into possibilities. It is through authenticity, openness and acceptance that we are able to acknowledge each other's hopes and dreams for our island home. Let us keep building on the strong foundation that was built for us, to foster a society that not only tolerates racial and religious differences, but goes out of its way to embrace them.

Let us keep bringing out the best in not just ourselves, but each other around us.
Sandra Benny