The Allure of Science

If the wonders of science have always captured your imagination, a scholarship with A*STAR might be your perfect gateway to explore the boundless scientific realms, as scholars Pua Khian Hong and Gladia Chork will tell you.

By Lim Yan Wen

Not everyone is cut out for a career in doing scientific research. But guided by a fervent passion for science, a proactive attitude and an inquiring mind, a career in research can be a fulfilling one.

Just ask Pua Khian Hong – the 24-year-old scholar with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is currently serving a one-year attachment with the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). The bespectacled young man graduated in May 2009 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry.

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Diving into the Navy

A career with the RSN is more than just adventure out at sea. Scholars LTC Kelvin Lim and CPT Eddie Sue tell us how working in the Navy is both challenging and meaningful.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

When you step onto the wharf at Tuas Naval Base, what greets you is the oceanic landscape you’d usually associate with a picturesque beach holiday – with, of course, the exception of the naval warfare paraphernalia lining it. But before you think it is all sun, sea and fun, let LTC Kelvin Lim and CPT Eddie Sue share more about what life in the Navy is truly about.

The Navy is tasked with the crucial role of defending Singapore and its vital sea lines of communications from sea borne threats. Joining the navy may be one of many choices in the entire spectrum of careers available to a job-seeker, but for these two scholars, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) stands out as an ideal fit for anyone seeking a meaningful life.

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MHA: The Right Home

On the lookout for a meaningful profession that helps impact lives? The MHA may just be the right home for you.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

Nestled in the thickset of Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is a plethora of organisations working to service society and uphold the nation’s laws and decrees. Two of them are the Singapore Police Force (SPF), and the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) – source of the celebrated tagline ‘Captains of Lives’

The scholarships offered by the MHA are coveted by many, though only those with unstinted zeal for the various professions manage to attain them.

For two scholars from SPS and SPF, their journey through the mounds of the public sector began with the scholarship – and it has yet to end.

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STB - Cultural Aspirations

Thanks to the STB scholarship, Magdalen Chua is now in a dynamic and flourishing industry that keeps her constantly motivated and challenged.

By Stella Seet

Candidate description
Magdalen Chua
Designation: Manager, Sightseeing and Attractions Cluster Development, STB
Studied: International Relations, Brown University
Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural and Tourism Studies, University of Perpignan
Master’s in International Resort Management, Institut Vatel

“Things are changing, and tourism has a high profile in Singapore,” says 27-year-old Magdalen Chua, a scholar with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “It is something that has shaped the way a lot of people see Singapore, and it has also impacted the lives of Singaporeans.”

While studying Arts in junior college, Magdalen developed a strong interest in culture and communications, and a scholarship with STB seemed a perfect match for her inclinations towards the industry. However, to ensure she was making the right decision, Magdalen did her due diligence and thoroughly researched on the agency’s missions, objectives, and core business beforehand.

“I wasn’t interested in a structured nine-to-five job,” says Magdalen, on how STB’s vibrant corporate culture was a suitable fit for her effervescent personality. “When I came for the interviews, I got the sense that it would be a very dynamic industry.”


FIREfly (STB): Placing Singapore Centre Stage

A career at the STB is more than about shining the spotlight on Singapore as the ideal tourist destination – it enables you to play a part in increasing Singapore’s presence on the world map.

By Charlene Tan

Michele Ng, FIREfly Scholar (STB)
Designation: Management Trainee, Corporate Communications, STB
Studied: BSc in Marketing and Accounting, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University

Imagine you’re watching a blockbuster movie, in which the opening scene shows a strapping man alighting from a yellow taxi along a busy city street. Where do you think the movie is set? All the elements point to one location – the iconic New York City.

How is movie-making related to tourism, you might wonder.

Michele Ng, a FIREfly scholar with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), has the answer.

“With the right kind of marketing, I feel that New York’s draw as a backdrop for films is what Singapore can use as a benchmark,” comes her witty reply. For someone interested in dance, fashion, art, and all things creative, 24-year-old Michele has much to offer the vibrant community at the STB.


SSC - Come Play With Us


Formed in 1973,the Singapore Sports Council is tasked with developing a city where sports is a way of life. It aims to create sports champions and enjoyable sporting experiences by cultivating a sporting culture, achieving sports excellence and creating a vibrant sports industry.

Candidate description 1
Fan Chian Jen
Designation: Deputy Directory, Motorsport Industry Development, SSC

Candidate description 2
Mark Chew
Designation: Manager, New Media, SSC

Man and machine
Fan Chian Jen has always been fascinated by man’s ability to “connect” with machines, such as through motorsports, when “connection levels” are raised to extremes. As a car fanatic, he was actively involved in drifting for a while, before high maintenance cost of the sport became too much to bear.

Previously, Chian Jen was Project Director of the Changi motor racetrack at the Prime Minister’s Office. Back then, once each of his projects receives the go-ahead, it would be handed to the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) for further development and execution. After some time, Chian Jen decided to join SSC as he yearned to be an integral part of the development of motorsports and its industry for Singapore.

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IDA - At Future’s Forefront

With the National Infocomm Scholarship, Lin Zhihao’s ‘accidental success’ in the field of infocomm is given a boost.

By Cheak Hong Ian

Candidate description
Lin Zhihao
National Infocomm Scholar
Studied: Computer Engineering, NUS

Lin Zhihao has found his niche in the multi-billion dollar local infocomm industry, thanks to the National Infocomm Scholarship (NIS).

“It will definitely be an exciting experience to be able to join this growing and thriving industry. I suppose the best thing about this field is that because of its sheer size, almost anyone can find his niche in it,” gushes the 25-year-old.

The National Infocomm Scholarship
This scholarship programme is offered by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts which was formed to promote Singapore’s interests with the increasing mergence of Telephony and Information Technology.

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MOE - She’s Lovin’ It

Constant opportunities to stoke her students’ enthusiasm for their studies continually motivates this MOE scholar, whose passion for teaching was ignited at the age of 18.

By Tricia Chan

Candidate description
Samantha Wong
Designation: History teacher, Meridian Junior College
Studied: History, University of Warwick

When Samantha Wong took an unexpected journey on a 13-hour flight to Heathrow six years ago, a boy cried and sang a song for her.

Six months earlier, Samantha, who was waiting for her ‘A’ level results, had taken up a relief teaching post at a neighbourhood school. The boy in question was a difficult student who initially wouldn’t respond to her efforts. However, Samantha slowly realised that his aloof exterior was a facade for hiding his problems at home.

“For the first time, I was exposed to students from backgrounds not as privileged as mine, who had things other than grades to worry about. They had to deal with domestic abuse, broken families, and making ends meet,” she says, highlighting how students today face more life issues than before, and teachers need to be both educators and life coaches. With patience and perseverance, the former Victoria Junior College student was able to get through to the student.

The eye-opening experience motivated her to make teaching a lifelong mission. So, she took up the Ministry of Education (MOE) Teaching Scholarship, which sent her to the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

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MOE - My Teacher, The Trendsetter

One scholar got more than he’d hoped for when he applied for a PSC scholarship 10 years ago. He shares his life-changing journey…

By Tricia Chan

Candidate description
Daniel Hue
Designation: Economics teacher, Anderson Junior College
Studied: Mathematics and Economics, Cornell University
Master’s in Economics, London School of Economics

Daniel Hue, a Public Service Commission (PSC) Overseas Merit (Teaching) scholar, is both a teacher and trailblazer.

Through the scholarship, he had the chance to study at Cornell University in the United States, and later crossed the Atlantic to do his master’s at the London School of Economics(LSE).

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MOE - From Sir, With Love

Someone who listens to his students and inspires them to be better people – that’s the type of teacher MOE scholar Alvin Chen aspires to be.

By Tricia Chan

Candidate description
Alvin Chen
Designation: Mathematics and Physics teacher, Jurong West Secondary School
Studied: Physics and Mathematics, University of Bristol

From the way Mathematics teacher Alvin Chen rattles on about his classes, experiences and co-curricular activities (CCAs), you might be fooled into thinking he’s a seasoned veteran.

In reality, the recipient of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore Government Scholarship, now known as the Education Merit Scholarship, has been teaching for less than a year. Nevertheless, what the scholar has achieved in that short period of time has certainly been impressive.

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