As a civil engineer in the newly independent Singapore, Mr Phan Kah Foh (1934-2005) poured his energy into contributing to the country’s nascent infrastructure by participating in significant building projects like the Singapore Changi Airport and the Housing and Development Board. Although he is no more, his commitment to developing his country’s resources lives on, thanks to the Phan Kah Foh Bursary set up by his family in his memory at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
“My parents were very strong believers in education, which they rightly believed to be the way that society improves itself,” says Professor Phillip Phan, Mr Phan’s son, who is based in the US. “Given their values, it was natural to commemorate my father’s life and contributions to Singapore society by setting up the Phan Kah Foh Bursary at the Faculty of Engineering.”
Over the years, families and friends have chosen to celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones with gifts to NUS to help students.
The Phan Kah Foh Bursary has been awarded to two Civil Engineering students. Of them, Prof Phan says, “We hope they will be successful and contribute to the education of the next generation of engineers.”
Drs Sung Wing Huen and Sung-Yap Siew Khim would agree. After their son Dr Sung Kah Kay and his wife passed away in the Singapore Airlines crash in Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Airport, they, along with friends, decided to commemorate his life by setting up the Sung Kah Kay Assistant Professorship at the NUS School of Computing. Dr Sung Kah Kay was an NUS professor.
“To us, it was a meaningful way of making our memory of Kah Kay come alive,” say Drs Sung. “His untimely departure was a great loss to us. But besides our loss, Kah Kay’s own loss was his unfulfilled dream of computer research work which was his life and passion.”
Over the last 11 years, the Sung Kah Kay Assistant Professorship has been awarded to three young computer scientists. His parents say, “We take pride in their achievements and in their contribution to NUS and the field of computer science. Seeing them and their families flourish gives us joy.”
Another memorial gift that has benefitted students across Faculties was set up by the Wan family. The Wan Boo Sow & Annie Tan Bursary was set up by the children in the memory of their parents. Mr Wan Boo Sow, an alumnus of King Edward VII College of Medicine, had always lived by the motto “If you always think only of yourself, you will always be unhappy.” His children decided to honour his philosophy by setting up The Wan Boo Sow Charity Fund in his memory, through which they set up the Bursary at NUS. Eight students from the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Science, Law and Medicine have benefitted from this gift. The family has also contributed three other gifts in their parents’ memory to the Department of Chinese Studies.
There are other such gifts honouring relationships and helping students. Mr Lam Kun Kin set up the Rebecca Sam Kwai Him Memorial Bursary in the name of, as he says, “a very dear auntie”, who encouraged, guided and supported his education and career choice. Mr Lam says, “She did not have the opportunity to reach university due to the family’s financial constraint, but she would have excelled in studies given her intellect and industry. Naming the Bursary after her is to commemorate her many efforts in encouraging numerous young people (including myself) to pursue academic excellence in spite of adverse circumstances.”
There’s also the Goh Sin Tub Scholarship and Creative Writing Prize set up by Dr Sylvia Goh in the memory of her husband, the Isabel Chan Professorship set up by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and Mrs Elisabeth Chan, in the memory of their daughter, who succumbed to cancer, the Bennett Lam Scholarship, set by his classmates (Class of ’76) after he was lost at sea, which has been awarded to 41 students… and others.
Recently, medical students at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM) launched the NUS Medical Society – Christine Chong Hui Xian Bursary in the memory of a loved schoolmate, who lost her battle with cancer in 2009. Christine was a Year 3 student, remembered by her friends for her plucky, giving spirit. The Bursary aims to raise S$150,000 to help up to three medical students each year. So far, 132 people, including 118 undergraduates from YLLSoM, have given towards this Bursary.
Emmett Wong, Christine’s friend, who is championing the Bursary, says, “Christine’s resilience stood out in all aspects of her life, right to the end. This Bursary honours her determination and fervour for life, and serves as an inspiration for all medical students. Christine’s spirit lives on through this Bursary.”
For information on making a gift to NUS, please call Ms Ho Yuen Kwan at 6516 5755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org