The Malaysian Indian National Education Development (MIND) Association organised the 2nd National Indian Youth Convention 2010 on Pursuing Excellence on July 3, 2010. Prominent members of the Indian community in Malaysia who have excelled in their field of endeavour, be it business, arts, law or academics, were invited to speak to more than 500 youth gathered at the Grand Dorsett Subang. In a one day seminar that was webcast globally to audiences in 6 countries, young people from the Indian community had the opportunity to listen to and interact with successful personalities who have made the Malaysian Indian community proud.
Vijay Eswaran presided over the closing plenary session of the seminar and started by explaining what being an India means to him. He reminded the audience that India was one of the oldest civilisations in the world and at one time the Indian empire stretched all the way across Malaysia and Thailand to the Philippines. He brought up an important point with the listeners – You must know where you come from, before you know where you are going. This sentiment resonated with the audience.
Must to the delight of the crowd, he switched to Tamil to elaborate on his message and explained that one must never be ashamed of speaking one’s own language. It’s alright to make mistakes because that’s how one learns and worrying about people laughing at you was pointless when it comes to one’s personal growth.
He illustrated his point by playing a video of a young illiterate street vendor from India who sells a fan made of peacock feathers to tourists in 11 different languages. The boy has never been to school or has had any type of formal education. But his entrepreneurial skills and ability to learn from his surroundings makes him exceptional. Hence, he pointed out that one must never blame or be held back by one’s background.
He also spoke about an experiment conducted by a computer education firm in India that started a revolution with a remarkable experiment ten years ago. The company stuck a high speed computer through a hole in the wall fencing its headquarters which was adjacent to a slum. Within minutes curious children from the slum came over to explore it and within a few hours had figured out how to operate the basic functions of the computer. In a few days, they had learnt how to use programs like Word and Paint and were busy playing games of the Disney website!
Vijay showed a short video that documented this experiment and pointed out that one should not allow their circumstances or background to stop one from exploring new options. Following the much treaded safe path may seem easy, but success comes to those who take risks.
He told the youth that as long as they have faith in themselves and the passion to achieve great things, they can start living their dreams. Quoting his favourite icon and role model, Mahatma Gandhi, he said, “Be the change that you want to see.”
He received a thunderous applause from a delighted crowd that wanted to hear more from him! This event proved to be yet another success for The MIND Association, as its impressive line-up of speakers also included other towering Indian personalities such as Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam, Dato’ Sri Edmund Santhara, Professor Dr. Shamala Devi Sekaran, Dato’ AK Nathan and Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.