Law alumnus Mr Sin Boon Ann (’82) considers his university education a privilege and wants more young people to enjoy the same benefits.
The Sin Jeok Tong Bursary was established at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to honour the late father of Mr Sin Boon Ann, a lawyer and former MP.
Born in Pahang in 1929, Mr Sin Jeok Tong came to Singapore as a young boy to receive his education. He became a teacher in the early 50s and continued teaching until his retirement from the education service in the late 80s.
“When he was alive, he generously gave his time and money to help students complete and succeed in their studies. He always believed that education is a great social leveller and that no matter what your station in life is, with hard work, success and a good life will always follow you,” Mr Sin shares on his father’s views.
The former MP also related a story of how he had a university classmate who was struggling financially and could not afford the school fees. Upon hearing about it, his father passed him a sum of money and claimed it was from a community service foundation. Mr Sin only found out, many years later, that his father had provided for his friend from his own pocket. The magnanimous gesture left a deep impression on both him and his classmate who remains a friend today.
“Some of my happiest years as a student were spent in NUS. I met my wife, Lee Meng, when I was a final year arts student. We dated on campus and spent many hours studying together in the library, and going for long walks to the canteens. I must say that the view of the harbour at sunset from the engineering canteen is absolutely stunning. It served as a perfect dinner setting for Lee Meng and I. I enjoyed very much, the musical concerts organised by the students’ union and the debates and discussions on national issues with my fellow students during our free time. For a period of time, I was staying either in Raffles Hall, Sheares Hall or Kent Ridge Hall. I had a great time there as well with my hostel mates. I can remember the evening runs to prepare for the marathon and the triathlon, and the late night suppers. Those were the halcyon and carefree days of a student’s life,” reminisces Mr Sin, who had the privilege of pursuing two Bachelors’ degrees in Arts and Social Sciences and Law.
The deputy managing director of Drew & Napier LLC described how pursuing a successful career and raising a family in the early days did not leave him and his wife time to connect with his friends from the University. Now, two of their three children have graduated and gone on to practise law while the youngest is in secondary school.
“My wife and I gave because we benefitted from a university education at NUS. Just as we have benefitted, we want others to benefit as well. It gives us great satisfaction to know that giving to our alma mater would allow students with financial needs to have a fair chance of going to university and doing well in life,” Mr Sin explains.
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