Mrs Jaya Mohideen
Advisor of MINDS,

Ms Choo Shu Hui
Vice Chairman of MINDS,

Ms Sally May Tan
Chief Executive Officer of MINDS,

Mr Kenneth Tan
Chairman of Singapore Film Society,

Mr Royston Tan,

Executive Director of Chuan Pictures,

MINDS Board Members, Staff and Clients,

Partners, Donors, Volunteers,

Caregivers,

Guests


        Good morning.  I am honoured to join you today at the third edition of the MINDS Film Festival.

2 I would first like to congratulate MINDS, your clients, partners and sponsors, on the inaugural launch of MINDS’ very own two short films.  This film festival is not only a celebration of diversity, but it is also the very essence of what our Singapore stands for: a society that is multicultural and inclusive, and how much we can achieve when we put our hearts – and if I may be permitted a small pun – and minds together.

3 On that note, I would like to commend Royston Tan and the films industry for giving the MINDS trainees and clients this wonderful opportunity to self-advocate and make a meaningful impact.

4 Please join me in a round of applause to thank everyone who has made this film festival possible.  

5 I would also like to encourage industry players, institutions, and the general public to emulate this excellent initiative of the film industry and collaborate more with MINDS.    

FILMS AND US

6 Earlier, I had a chance to interact with the MINDS Perform trainees.  What struck me was their passion, and the commitment of the training officers to empower them to pursue their interests.

7 Their passion is palpable in the short film we watched, Rehearsal.  We discovered their hidden talents in playing the taiko drums and other percussion instruments, as well as the Gangnam Style dance, but what I found most captivating was their happy smiles.  It tells me how much these trainees truly enjoy the process of learning and doing – even when the going gets tough...

8 … Because that’s when the tough get going!  Mdm Mimi Tan and her son, Benson, exemplify this resilience of spirit.  Rejected at first from mainstream school competitions, Mdm Tan worked tirelessly with Benson’s coaches and teachers to channel his attention deficiency and hyperactivity into sports.

9 Today, Benson is an accomplished swimmer with a gold medal from the 2011 Special Olympics, but his feats would not have been possible without the love and unwavering support of a strong caregiver, who are often the unsung heroes.

10 The dialogue “….Rashid tidak berbeza daripada orang lain” or “Rashid, you are no different from anyone else” is a heart-warming reflection of strong caregiver support in Layang Layang.  I want to thank the caregivers here today for selflessly devoting your time and energy to your loved ones.  Like Rashid, your loved ones will always remember and cherish what you have done for them, and you will always have a special place in their hearts. 

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

11 It is said that it takes a village to raise a child.  And on that note, I would like to commend the teachers at MINDS, who continually strive to make their lessons interesting and engaging through the use of technology.  

12 I had the opportunity to explore the Multi-Touch table earlier, which allows teachers to customise lessons according to differentiated abilities, so that students can learn at their own pace. I was also very impressed by MINDS’ use of Virtual Reality technology to impart essential daily skills, and I had a lot of fun using the VR Magic Mirror to top-up my EZ-link card.

13 Leveraging technology is not new to MINDS.  I was told that some years ago, at the MINDS Towner Gardens School, the “Talking Tom” application was introduced to the students.  For those who are unfamiliar, Tom is an animated cat that repeats whatever is said to it.  

14 Pretty soon, everyone wanted to speak to Tom. This included a student who had selective mutism and was non-verbal in class – this child eventually engaged Tom in full conversations!

15 These are the stories that inspire us and uplift our spirits.  To MINDS’ teachers and training officers, thank you for your dedication, and for helping the students and trainees find their voices.

CONCLUSION

16 This film festival is not only a showcase of talents and abilities, but also a celebration of the human spirit, love, dedication, and how we can overcome the odds when we pull together.

17 It is a poignant reminder that there is opportunity for everyone at MINDS, be it a chance to embrace technology or to pick-up life skills for integration into society.  No one is left behind, from the children to adults, regardless of their backgrounds.

18 I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the entire MINDS family – students, parents, teachers, administrators and volunteers – for inspiring us all and giving hope to many.  Thank you and I wish you joy and fulfilment in the journey that lies ahead.  

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