Student Speech @ the Graduation Dinner, 17 July 2015, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles

Faculty and staff of the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, fellow Cohort 2 mates, family and friends, a very good evening to all of you.
Before I begin my speech, I like to thank my adopted mother, Doris Wood for attending the Hooding Ceremony and for being here with me tonight. 

I like to thank my two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth and Isabella Liew for making the sacrifice to be with me in the last few days. And thank you for buying me a few pairs of beautiful socks for my graduation. 

Just as importantly, on behalf of Cohort 2, I like to express my deep felt appreciation to the faculty and staff. Thank you for your lessons, encouragement and support throughout the doctoral journey. 

The Chinese has a saying, 一日为师,终生为父. 

What it means is that “Once you are my teacher even if it’s for a day, I owe you a debt of gratitude throughout my life, the same debt of gratitude as I owe to my parents.”

To all my cohort 2 mates, welcome to the end of the beginning. The end of the doctoral journey but the beginning of a life of possibilities. 

The doctoral program has been an amazing journey. 

It feels like yesterday when we were sitting in class on day 1 and we were asked to think of a dissertation topic. Day 1?!

That same day, I remember Ken Iong told me about the regalia that we would be wearing for our graduation. At that point, graduation seemed like such a distant future away. 

Ken, you have taught me to keep the end in focus. As a fellow entrepreneur, you have taught me that if we press on and keep pressing on to press on, we will win the final prize.

Iris and Brenda, you’re my models, mentors, and motivators. 

Abdulhannan and Dulcie, I can’t imagine how anyone can complete the doctoral journal and still find the energy to go through another major event like a wedding, having a child, and a job promotion. 

You inspire me to realize once again that challenges can be conquered. You’re both conquerors. 

Leeanne, you’re the philosopher of the group. Your words have so often got me thinking. You have taken my metacognitive skills to a higher level. 

Fawzi, you’re another person that puts my intellectual faculties on an overdrive. We may not agree in all things but I know you’ve sharpened my mind. 

Kathryn, I’ve seen you taking charge and driving a group project to completion. Your inner strengths and leadership abilities will take you far.

Russell, I’ll never forget your sense of humor. Your postings on the WhatsApp group especially during online classes kept us awake and alive. As a wonderful human, I know you’ll continue to touch and transform lives.

Ing, to me, you’re the smartest in this cohort. I suspect you’re smarter than what you choose to reveal to us. With your intelligence and your ever-ready smile, you’ll move mountains in your own time.  

Luke, my closest neighbour in terms of proximity and closest friend in Brunei. Your passion and vibrant energy will continue to make a positive difference to the world around you. 

Michael, the youngest in our cohort and probably the most ambitious among us. The same courage and survival instinct that took you to what was once a strange land to you will take you to better places in life. I look forward to hearing about your progress in life. 
Rhonda, my friend in the brick and mortar world and on the Net. 
Thank you for indulging me by reading my blog. I’m inspired by how you singlehandedly brought up and look after your kids. I’m sure your kids know you’re a great mother and you’re a great soul. 

Ken Ito, I left you last because I want to salute you. When I register for the program, I thought I would be the oldest in the class but you beat me by a long stretch. 

Whenever I talk to you, I feel like I’m talking to a kind uncle, an uncle who has given a large part of his life to the community. A man who is rich in wisdom and so willing to share his life with me and many others. 

Thank you one and all for being my friend and walking this journey with me. I hope we will be friends till the last day of our life. 

I have some closing thoughts for us to reflect upon. 

Let me start by asking my fellow cohort mates a question. 

How many of you will still be passionate about the gap analysis framework after graduation? 

How many of you will not be passionate or as passionate about it? 

How many of you will have nightmares when you hear the three words, gap analysis framework?

While doing my dissertation and more so after completing it, I thought long and hard about the gap analysis framework. 

To me, it is more than a theoretical model. It has become a philosophical presupposition, a way of life. 

If nothing else, the gap analysis framework taught us that we must constantly ask ourselves: 
What are the problems tomorrow that we have to start resolving today?
What are the opportunities tomorrow that we have to start capitalizing on today? 

The gap analysis framework taught us to be problem solvers. We should be solution providers in an increasingly globalized world. 

A world that is fraught with challenges, risks, and dangers.

A world that needs help in so many places across the planet. 

A world that is frequently plaque with natural as well as man-made crises. 

A world where there are many souls who are lost, finding a direction in life. 

These souls have dreams. They have aspiration to live a better life. 

I pray that we will rise up to fill the gaps that are in the world around us – gaps in our family, our workplace, and our community. 

The gap analysis framework taught us that we have almost unlimited potential. We can live a life of possibilities. 

We can become dream chasers and world changers. 

We can live our life not just for what it is right now but also for what it can become in the future. 

We can deal with the world not just what for it is today but also for what it can become tomorrow. 

We can change possibilities into realities. 

Listen to the song…

The Impossible a Dream

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong

To love pure and chaste from afar

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

To fight for the right

Without question or pause

To be willing to march into Hell

For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true 

To this glorious quest

That my heart will lie peaceful and calm

When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this

That one man, scorned and covered with scars

Still strove with his last ounce of courage

To reach the unreachable star.

Fight On!

Thank you.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflection and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on Visit my Inspiration blog at For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at Please visit my website, Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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