Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Ministry of National Development
1. Since completing a Graduate Diploma in Translation and Interpretation (GDTI) at NTU in 2006, you have gone on to translate a book and previously mooted the “SG Translate Together” online portal, the Translation Talent Development Scheme grant and chaired the inaugural term of the National Translation Committee. What do you have to say to your juniors at the School of Humanities doing the GDTI?
The GDTI was one of the most memorable and useful courses I have ever had the privilege of attending. It was an excellent introduction to the basic skills that professional translators are equipped with, and also exposed me to trainers who were talented practitioners of the craft. I was fortunate in being able to work on a number of translation-related initiatives in the public sector after entering politics. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to do something for translation professionals – they are “my tribe”!
2. You oversee the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Senior Minister of State and make official trips to China in particular. What are your dreams and hopes for the next generation of Singaporeans keen to make their mark in China?
China is a very important partner for Singapore and will continue to offer opportunities for many in the region and the world – whether they are investors, business owners or professionals. I hope that Singaporeans will be able to make the most of our share of such opportunities. This means we cannot let up on our efforts to foster bilingualism and bicultural awareness.
3. Let’s now turn to the work of the Singapore Together Alliances for Action (AfAs), which you co-chair. In closing the digital safety gaps for women in Singapore and protecting them from online harm, what is the progress you envision for the country?
Technology is an enabler of many good things, but one thing we must not allow it to enable is misogyny. If we are not vigilant, the hard-won gains in women’s advancement over the past decades can be eroded by sexist and exploitative behaviour online. With the work of Sunlight AfA and SG Her Empowerment (SHE), I hope that Singapore’s women and girls can feel as safe and empowered online as they do in real life.
4. As an accomplished political leader, who inspires you and why?
I am always inspired by our late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. He was, to me, a complete leader who exemplified a wide range of outstanding qualities, but most of all, it is his courage and conviction that moves me beyond words.