Reporter's take

Jose Hong
Jose Hong
Toh Wen Li
Toh Wen Li
Lester Hio
Lester Hio
Lester Wong
Lester Wong
Yuen Sin
Yuen Sin
Priscilla Goy
Priscilla Goy

It may seem like only crazy people would climb the highest mountains, cross deserts or willingly go to the coldest places on earth.

But those I interviewed for this series were perfectly normal. One might be intimidated by what they either achieved or are aiming to achieve.

But as I interviewed three Singaporeans whose lives embodied the adventurous spirit, I mostly felt inspired.

They talked to me about the determination that kept them going, rather than any physical strength.

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In some ways, the lesson we can learn is in the name of this series: "adventurous spirits", and not "adventurous bodies".

The drive to succeed - indeed, the drive to train themselves so they could succeed - is something you and I can aspire to too.

Next year, I hope to write about you completing the next big adventure.

Jose Hong

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/adventurous


When looking for people to profile for the community spirit segment, I decided to focus on those who have done something good for their neighbours.

Charity, after all, begins at home.

While interviewing the three Singaporeans featured, I was struck not only by their passion for helping those around them, but also their humility and sincerity.

Their contributions may not seem particularly large. Yet where human relationships are concerned, it is precisely the little things that matter.

Madam Jumiah, Madam Veerama, Dr Sin - and thousands of other Singaporeans doing their bit for the community, one good deed at a time - are living testament to the fact that the kampung spirit, in a way, still survives, and thrives.

Toh Wen Li

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/community


The start-up scene in Singapore is hot right now, with entrepreneurship a sexy buzzword within the tech industry, promising disruption, innovation and growth.

But in reality, it takes determination, grit and idealism - tempered with a healthy dose of realism - to start a company and see it through, while guided by a long-term vision, as both Sunseap and Ninja Van have shown.

They are two different types of local businesses - the former, a family business with almost 50 years of history, and the latter bursting onto the scene three years ago - but they showcase the reach and diversity of start-ups here.

They are two examples of how the wide range of home-grown firms, big and small, manage to excel on this tiny island, and export the best of what Singapore can offer the world.

Lester Hio

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/entrepreneurial


Very often, sport can appear to comprise two distinct groups: those who win, and everybody else.

The natural tendency when looking for the sporting spirit is to try and locate it in our most dominant winners, whether a Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt or Roger Federer.

But the winners do not have a monopoly on the sporting spirit.

The sporting spirit is not talent which, capricious and fleeting, offers its blessings at random only to withdraw the same as the body ages and the mind dulls.

There is no doubting that Jeremia Christy Suriadi, Chia Tee Chiak and Syed Abdul Kadir possess some degree of talent, but each has also put in the time and work in their own fashion, to become better or help someone else become better.

Dedication is a choice made by every athlete who has ever picked up a sport and wanted to be good at it.

It is a measure of the athlete's mettle that tests everybody, and excludes no one, in the spirit of fair play.

Lester Wong

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/sporting


It is tempting to think of education as a mere exercise of jumping through academic hoops in one's youth.

Many may also have heard of terms like SkillsFuture or lifelong learning, but know little about them besides the fact that they are government buzzwords.

But the tide is turning.

Beyond the confines of the physical classroom, between work shifts and family commitments, a growing wave of Singaporeans have started to take learning into their own hands and, in doing so, defy rules and shift norms.

Some, like Mr Yap Jia Qing, brave the judgment of close ones when they decide to put a formal education programme on hold.

Others, like Mr Paul Ng and Ms Prema Subramaniam, buck the trend by returning to school at an age when most are happier to kick back and enjoy retirement.

They are a reminder that there is intrinsic value in learning how the world works and finding ways to better it.

By boldly charting new paths in education, they also show how to stay ahead in areas like innovation, creativity and knowledge production.

Yuen Sin

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/inquisitive


Caring for others is often seen as an issue of ability. But really, I think it's about availability - a willingness to free up some time to help.

You could be 18 or above 80; no one is too young or too old to help. You could be a busy mum with a four-year-old son to look after; you can still find time to help.

The three profiles featured here have different backgrounds, and they reiterate the fact that anyone - not merely people with lots of strength, time or wealth - can exemplify the compassionate spirit.

The etymology of "compassion" is Latin, meaning "co-suffering", and that can seem intimidating.

But having interviewed many good Samaritans, I've noticed that they often find it rewarding to help, so rewarding that the "suffering" pales in comparison.

I guess the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart - not your ability to care for others, but your availability and willingness to do so.

Priscilla Goy

WATCH THE VIDEO http://str.sg/compassionate

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Reporter's take'. Print Edition | Subscribe