Five years ago, Megan Tan watched a documentary depicting the cruel treatment of animals kept in cages and killed for the commercial value of their skin. The gruesome video sparked her interest in taking a stand against animal abuse.
On Tuesday, the 10-year-old girl took a significant step in her activism by delivering the keynote address at the Asia for Animals Conference in front of an international audience and Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.
The Maha Bodhi School pupil spoke about her love for animals, noting that they "are also an important part of our ecosystem".
"For instance, we won’t have any fruits to eat if not for the honeybees and the bats that pollinate fruit trees. And although vultures look like filthy birds, they help eat carcasses and keep the environment clean," she said.
She also shared about her project to raise funds for the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) by selling notebooks with animal-themed covers designed by herself.
"I may only be 10 years old, but I have decided that I can make a difference too."
In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, Mr Shanmugam said he was very impressed with Megan’s speech and shared the full text of her keynote, adding that she had written the speech herself.
"I was told that Megan is a very shy girl. Thus it must have been difficult for her to stand in front of an international audience and give a speech. But she decided to make the speech because of her deep care and concern for animals," he said.
The minister also noted that Acres lowered the minimum age of its volunteers to accept Megan as a volunteer.
Mr Shanmugam's Facebook post has been a hit with netizens, garnering over 1,680 "likes", almost 800 "shares", and more than 120 comments mostly singing the praises of Megan as of Thursday morning.
Facebook user Tina Hee said in her comment: "I love the guts, the compassion and the passion of this young girl. Thank you for sharing this!"
Another Facebook user Shalini Carnis said: "She's blessed with best parents who support her passion and dream. We adults have lots to learn from the upcoming generation!"