William Yeow

B.A. double major in Art and Japanese


Before I begin my speech, let me first say that it is a great honour to be standing here today, and to be able to say a few words on behalf of the graduating cohort.

When approached for the opportunity to give this speech, the first thing I did was to reach out to friends on Facebook. Having finished my last set of classes in the Fall of 2012, and no longer having to make the trip to and from TUJ each day, I must say that to be honest I felt a little sad, a little out of touch. I was concerned about being able to deliver a message that would resonate. And so, I reached out to Facebook, asking friends if there was anything they would like mentioned. Uh-oh. Maybe not the best idea. It was risky; like citing Wikipedia in a paper. I'd say, "Don't do it!" but you're all sitting here today so I think we're good. No more papers.

The real question is: Why Facebook? And to put it simply, I'd say it's about "influence". You see, I believe that everything affects us in some way; sometimes great, sometimes small, good, or bad, but always having an effect. Look around you; some familiar faces, some not. But what are they wearing? Is he or she starting to nod off? I hope not! Anyone checking their phones? All of these things affect us in some way, and elicits a reaction.

In other words I guess what I'm trying to say is that each and every one of you sitting in your seats, is the result of a years-long back-and-forth between your surroundings, and yourself. A constant interaction. Simultaneously however I think it's true, that we can never fully realize how much the people around us mean to us, affect us, and play a part in making us who we are. Likewise standing here today if I had one regret about my years at TUJ, it would be my inability to personally thank each and every one of you for having played a part in my journey. I stand here today, because of you, and to be very honest that is no exaggeration.

TUJ is not a very big campus. I think a lot of us have complained about it over the years; wished it was bigger, better, had more facilities. Am I right? But on the other hand I think that it is precisely because we have a restrictively small campus, that most of the faces we see next to us today are familiar to some extent, and have affected us in turn.

Fellow graduates, friends. I began this speech by saying that it is a great honour to be standing here, and it certainly is. I cannot personally thank each and every one of you for being a part of my university life, but I hope that we can all appreciate the company of those around us as we mingle and reminisce throughout the rest of the proceedings this afternoon. Appreciate the good memories, the bad ones, and even the times that seemed to take forever to pass, simply because they never do. Time is relative. Nothing lasts forever, and despite us all sharing the experience of watching the seconds tick away ever so slowly on our watches and smartphones, things have changed. We sit not in yet another classroom, but take our places here, finally, at our graduation. Nothing lasts forever.

The good news is that that's only half the story. We cannot choose to remain stagnant, but we can surely choose what we take with us, and how such things affect us now, and in the years to come. Fellow graduates, as you look back on your time at TUJ, just remember that you were never alone. We are, all of us, a part of this University and its traditions, and it has affected us inasmuch as we have contributed back to it. Remember that, and remember how we got here, for this is a day of closing, of celebration, but also of new beginnings. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives, and while I'm sure we all aspire to be the very best in our own endeavours, I hope that we can take a little something from our time here, and in doing so move onward to even greater things.

Thank you and congratulations!


文学士 アート学科・日本語学科同時専攻