NUS alumna Chiong Yee Keow (’12), who received the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement this year, made the most of university life – excelling in academics and throwing herself wholeheartedly into community service. She received the Award, which is given annually to post-secondary students for outstanding achievement in academic and non-academic areas, for her contributions to the community and spirit of innovation and enterprise.
For her success, Yee Keow credits her family’s support and the Toh Kian Chui Bursary, which she received for four years at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Yee Keow, now a House Officer at National University Health System, says, “The Bursary enabled me to lead a relatively normal student life without having to worry excessively about the financial burden of school fees. This was particularly true in my final year when my mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and had to take a break from work.”
Yee Keow’s first-hand experience of being a gift recipient heightened her commitment to helping others. She says, “It made me more thankful and motivated me to continue to contribute as best as I could to pay this kindness forward.”
Yee Keow’s passion for community service saw her taking on various health-related projects. She was the organising chairperson of the Neighbourhood Health Screening project at Taman Jurong (2008-2009), where she improved the health screening programme by introducing evidence-based screening procedures such as fasting blood glucose and cholesterol. She also raised funds as sponsorship director of the Public Health Screening. “It was a most meaningful project as we brought health screening to the doorsteps of elderly and financially needy residents,” she says.
Yee Keow, who has been involved in community service since her days in secondary school, continues to act as mentor and volunteer doctor for the Neighbourhood Health Screening project. Talking about the importance of giving, she says, “Kindness should be paid forward. We should help future generations of students facing financial difficulty to level the playing field with their peers so that they don’t miss out on educational opportunities.”
She adds, “Thank you, donors, for making a difference in the lives of students. Even if it seems like a small amount to you, it goes a long way for us.”
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