The late Mr Yong Fong Lim persuaded his parents to allow him to study with like-minded friends in self-help groups instead of working as an apprentice in a medical hall. After the war put a halt to his schooling, he watched his contemporaries, fortunate enough to complete their education, benefit from improved livelihoods and economic conditions. Today, his son, Mr Yong Voon Chen (’90) has set up a bursary at the National University of Singapore (NUS) both in recognition of the challenges his parents overcame in the 30s to obtain an education and as a mark of appreciation for the tertiary education he received.
“My parents deeply believed that education was the key out of poverty and made sure that all of us – my seven sisters and a brother – not only went to school, but received an English education, and also attended enrichment classes. That was during a time when education for girls was considered a privilege,” shares Mr Yong.
To honour his parents, Mr Yong has established the Yong Fong Lim and Wong Yok Hin Bursary, to support financially-needy students across the University. He was moved during a working stint in Burma where he witnessed the struggles of the poor and he felt compelled to give Burmese students priority to the financial aid.
Mr Yong attributes his happiness, success and a positive outlook on life to his parents’ determination, perseverance and farsightedness.
“I sincerely hope that my story will inspire students to work hard and excel in their studies, and that the Bursary can possibly provide them with a lifetime of opportunities to achieve success in life,” says Mr Yong.
The Building alumnus also encourages fellow alumni to make a contribution to their alma mater if they are in a position to do so.
“Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said ‘Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace.’ Like her, I believe that each and every one of us is capable of making a contribution to help the less privileged,” he concludes.
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