Empowering the future

Energy plays an undeniably instrumental role in every aspect of our daily lives, be it at home, in school or in the industry. We go behind the scenes and speak to two EMA scholars, who possess innovative ideas and a passion to shape the future of Singapore’s energy landscape.

By Yvette Tan

Meet Ren Kejia and Eng Zi Guang, two fresh scholars from the Energy Market Authority (EMA). Though they may be of a tender age, their ambitions and plans for the future are anything but naive. With bright prospects and a promising career ahead, these are two names you should definitely look out for in the future.

Promising beginnings

Ren Kejia: In September, I will be heading to the US to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. Why economics? I think Economics is very relevant to many things in the world, not just economic decisions but even simple decisions that crop up in our everyday life such as deciding where to go for lunch.

Economics is a way of thinking. The energy sector allows you to directly apply economic concepts that you have learnt, and to translate that into practical decisions in energy policies and implementation. Personally, I think that is the beauty of economics.

Eng Zi Guang: My decision to study Chemical Engineering was driven by my long-time interest in science and engineering. I feel that science helps us to understand the many things we observe around us, and engineering allows us to put that knowledge to use in practical applications. In Chemical Engineering in particular, we are able to take the scientific principles out of the labs in order to apply them at larger scales.

Engineering also trains the mind in analytical problem solving, and to take a holistic view of the entire system or process. This in turn would allow for more insightful approaches in any given situation that one might encounter, including those of relevance to the energy sector.

Ahead of the pack

Kejia: To me, EMA is not just a scholarship provider, but a family. The environment here is very warm and friendly, and they really try to integrate us into the family. When I first accepted the scholarship; they immediately invited me to participate in company events. It’s honestly a very warm community and that’s what makes EMA special to me.

Zi Guang: Working at EMA would allow me to help shape Singapore’s energy landscape and policies. I’m excited to be able to contribute back to society through my work. Going forward, I know I will always have the opportunity to apply myself towards tackling the many challenges in the energy sector and make a difference in Singapore’s future.

On obstacles ahead...

Kejia: Moving to America in September will not only signify a change in my academic life but also signify a huge change in my perspective. Being in such a small country like Singapore, we need to have a better global perspective of us in relation to the world in order to stay relevant.

However, I know that my stay in the States will not be without its challenges. You are bound to face a certain degree of discrimination in such a large country with a melting pot of cultures. However, I am aware of these challenges and embrace them with the knowledge that through overcoming these obstacles, I will become a better and stronger person.

...and facing hard facts

Kejia: I think one common problem faced by the energy industry is a lack of public awareness. There has to be greater public awareness regarding sustainable energy as a whole. I think a lot of people in society don’t realise how fast our energy resources are depleting, and so they don’t see a need to change their consumption habits.

It’s really an ongoing process. A single campaign will not have a huge effect on changing people’s habits. Instead, it has to be a series of ongoing campaigns that will lead to a gradual change in our societal mindset. It has to start at homes or in schools, where kids are most impressionable and where habits like these can be cultivated from a young age.

Zi Guang: I believe the main issues in the energy sector would be the twin challenges of energy security and environmental impact. Aside from managing local demand and diversifying our fuel sources, a move towards the increased use of cleaner alternative energy systems in Singapore can no longer be a question of if, but rather of how and when.

While facing these challenges, I believe we are also presented with opportunities to grow Singapore’s economy by promoting the development of clean energy technology and positioning ourselves as a leader in the field of energy management, in order to capitalise on increasing global demand for such expertise.

A goal in mind

Kejia: As an EMA scholar, you have to possess true passion for the job. When you sign up for a scholarship, you’re not signing up for a free financial ticket or a free meal, but a career. EMA scholars need to think on their feet, they need to be innovative because energy is constantly changing. You need to find new solutions and spearhead new technologies. To do all that, you need to have a passion for energy.

Though this is a bit premature, I am hoping to make alternative energy more accessible. If possible, I would want to be at the forefront of this change, but I don’t want to build castles in the sky now and speak before my actions. I guess the best thing to do now is really to experience as many things as I can and to equip myself with the relevant skills so that I will be able to make a tangible difference.

Zi Guang: Aside from the usual factors such as one’s results and character, I think one’s interest and passion are really the driving factors behind a career with EMA. As an EMA scholar, you must be excited by the prospect of making a difference to Singapore through working with the energy industry, and to contribute towards shaping the future of Singapore’s energy landscape.

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