When Alisha Gill graduates this year with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) degree from NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FASS), it will be a proud moment not just for her parents, but for the Ngiam family as well. Alisha was the first student to receive the Mr and Mrs Ngiam Fook Quee Scholarship, which was set up in 2006 by the Ngiam family in honour of their parents. The Scholarship supports a four-year Honours degree in Economics. In an inspiring show of family commitment to the cause of education, 15 members of the Ngiam family – the second and third generation – collaborated to set up this gift.
Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen, acting as a representative of the family, puts it simply, “It was time to give back. We are older. We are comfortable. Time to pass it on.” Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen and his four siblings have experienced, first-hand, the warmth of a helping hand. When their father passed away while they were still in primary school, he and his siblings received scholarships and financial aid from various sources, both private and public, including their clan association. The four brothers went on to University and professional success. They are now retired or “actively ageing” as they prefer to be described.
Tong Dow is currently Pro-Chancellor of his alma mater, NUS. Tong Yuen is busy with RSVP, a voluntary organisation that promotes volunteerism among senior citizens. Tong Lan, who was an Associate Professor at the NUS School of Pharmacy, is now indulging in his long-held interest in art. Tong Tau, who was the first CEO of Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, is now on a second career as a consultant and adviser for the agro-technology industry. Their sister, Kiow Ngo, is a happy grandmother.
Now Alisha is basking in the warmth of the Ngiam family’s generosity. She says, “The Ngiam family has been incredibly generous. I have been able to go through four years of university with a sense of calm, knowing that my tuition fees are being taken care of. I know that for many people, this is a constant source of worry.”
Alisha, who was also a part of the University Scholars Programme, an inter-disciplinary academic programme, is looking forward to a career in the public sector. Returning to school after a few years of work is also a possibility, she says. Passionate about the study of Economics (“I am constantly excited and amazed at the diversity of situations to which Economics tools can be applied”), she is keen to contribute to a better understanding of income disparities in societies. She says, “I believe that anyone with aptitude should have the funds to help them along. I would hate to be a person who doesn’t give back to society or to causes that I believe in.” As Alisha embarks on the next phase of her life, another Ngiam Fook Quee Scholarship recipient, Lee Zen Wea is just mid-way through his University days. Zen Wea is a Second Year undergraduate FASS student, who is also a part of the University Scholars Programme. With his tuition fees taken care of, Zen Wea is able to afford overseas trips to broaden his range of experiences – both academic and personal. He has already participated in the Yale Summer School programme and has also been selected for a Student Exchange Programme with the University of Nottingham, UK. He says, “The best gift that one can give a person is the gift of opportunity. The Ngiam Fook Quee Scholarship has expanded and enriched my university experience. I hope that whichever field I work in the future, I will have a positive impact on society.”
To make a gift to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, click here.
For further information about making a gift to NUS, please contact Ms Ho Yuen Kwan on 6516 5755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org