Chen Yuanlin (’13) is a graduate who has just started her career. Mdm Juliana Lim (’72) is a committed community volunteer who has since retired from an illustrious career in the arts. Their paths crossed when Yuanlin received a bursary set up by Juliana in honour of her father. They met, they dined and they bonded; over shared ideals and a sense of mutual gratitude.
Yuanlin was awarded the Class of ’72 Bursary – James Lim Teck Liang Bursary during her studies as a Social Work major at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She did not know who James Lim was then. What she knew was that she thrived in this field of study and was hungry to learn more.
“When I was informed that the donor would like to meet me, I naturally became curious about the donor and also the name on the Bursary. I wanted to thank this person, because the Bursary has helped me so much,” shares Yuanlin.
For someone who was used to working during holidays to supplement her own daily allowance, the Bursary allowed Yuanlin to focus her energies on her studies. A school placement at The Singapore Buddhist Lodge Vision Family Service Centre also paved the way for her first fulltime job there, doing counselling and casework.
Helping students like Yuanlin was exactly what Juliana intended when she established the Class of ’72 Bursary – James Lim Teck Liang Bursary. She was also extremely glad to give back to her alma mater through a class gift.
“Besides supporting the Class of ‘72 which spawned friendships that lasted 40 years, I also wanted to share the story of my father, who was an educator and missionary. Apart from instilling in his five children the love of knowledge and virtues such as honesty, hard work and justice, he also demonstrated a generous spirit by conducting church choirs in his free time and housing in our tiny home, to his children’s bewilderment, strangers in need of a place to stay, sometimes for years,” Juliana explained.
When the Bursary was awarded, Juliana wanted to know how the recipient was doing and whether she could augment the grant with other kinds of support.
With these thoughts in mind, she started meeting up with Yuanlin regularly, and even introduced her to other family members. They quickly became fast friends who exchanged stories, experiences and advice.
Together, they handpicked a graduation gift of a coat for Yuanlin, to mark her entry into a new life chapter, from student to career woman.
While Juliana admires Yuanlin’s determination in doing well in her studies despite challenging circumstances, Yuanlin is very inspired by Juliana’s commitment to volunteer work.
“She gives her time tirelessly to the causes that she believes in. I hope to do the same one day,” says Yuanlin, who will be starting a new social service job assisting people with eye conditions.
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