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What Defines You As An Individual?

As part of the Voice Of A Fairsian Programme, Elizabeth Ng from Secondary 4G2 talked about the importance of defining ourselves and not letting others define the kind of person we are. Although this is not a topic that many people talk about, she feels that it is nonetheless a noteworthy topic. (This speech was delivered in March 2020 during morning assembly.)

Elizabeth’s Speech

Good morning Ms Chen, Vice-Principals, teachers and fellow Fairsians! I am Elizabeth Ng from Secondary 4G2, and I am a student councillor. Today, I will be sharing on the topic of who and what exactly defines us.

Have you ever wondered if it is true that all Singaporeans engaged in panic buying during the COVID-19 crisis? Do all Singaporeans give in so easily to fear and misinformation? I personally believe that we should not be so ‘kiasu’ and follow the actions of the crowd.

We often let others define us based on our grades, our looks, the things we do and even our past, but does others’ perception of us truly reveal who we really are? If these little things that others say about us are negative, then why do we still allow ourselves to conform to them and prove these people right? Maybe this is because we want to feel accepted by our friends, or perhaps we are afraid of being left alone. Most of us have a home to go back to where we feel accepted and where we can be ourselves. However, do we truly behave normally when we are with these groups of people or are we merely conforming to what they say about us without even realising it, so that we can be accepted by these people?

So, what exactly do I mean? Here's an example. Imagine you are with a group of people you just met, and you are instructed to complete certain tasks together. Initially, everything goes smoothly, and everyone is happy and feels included. However, once you reveal the stream you are from, this group of people you were having fun with just a moment ago starts to ostracise you. How would you feel? While it might make most of us feel disheartened, take a minute to pause and ask yourself: "Am I really defined by what others think about me? Why should I let their actions discourage me?" It is up to us to believe in our own abilities and to not let what others do or say define us.

Let me use another example to further elaborate my point. Katherine Johnson was one of the few African American mathematicians who worked at NASA. She was also the inspiration for the movie ‘Hidden Figures’. Throughout her time at NASA, she experienced criticism, racism and gender barriers. However, she did not let these affect or define her. Instead, she ignored those who looked down on her and kept striving to improve herself. Katherine Johnson once said, “I don't and never feel inferior to others. I’m as good as anybody, but no better.” She stayed humble and worked hard, which enabled her to prove others wrong.

Through the examples that I have shared with you, it shows us how important it is for us to define ourselves and to not let others define who we are. If you remember, at the start of this speech, I asked everyone if all Singaporeans engaged in panic buying. In my opinion, not everyone did so. While there might be some who embody the worst traits in us, there are also many people out there who willingly help others by providing masks and hand sanitisers.

To conclude my sharing, we should not blindly follow what others do, and not let others define us. Instead, we should define who we really are because all of us are uniquely different. Ultimately, we are responsible for leading our own lives and making our own decisions.

Thank you!