Mr Lin Zhide, a Year 3 undergraduate at the Department of Real Estate, School of Design and Environment. National University of Singapore (NUS), might have had a very different life story. When an extremely negative tipping point struck his family, two contrasting paths were laid before him.
His mother, the sole breadwinner of his single-parent family, was suffering from health problems that were caused by overwork. In addition to a low paying full-time job, she would take up additional odd jobs to cover the housing rental and utility bills. She would come home drained and aching all over every day, with the ailments snowballing over to the next day, thus deteriorating her condition further. It all came to pass when she could not hold a full-time job anymore and Mr Lin sought to pay for the bills and his own allowance through part-time jobs.
“With very little savings in the bank, I felt like we were surviving on a well with a limited supply of water and it would eventually run out one day,” Mr Lin recalled.
The bleak reality of his family’s situation hit home when he witnessed his very own mother breaking down one night. Not knowing he was not asleep, his mother had finally let go of herself and unleashed a flood of sobs, tears and disappointment that had welled up within her: the frustration from her inability to support and provide for her son pouring out.
“It was at that instance that some senses were knocked right into me – that the strongest woman that I have ever known in my life also has her vulnerable side. She was always putting up a strong front before me. Little did I know how she was hiding her emotions and anger towards herself for being unable to support the family,” shared Mr Lin, who vowed to do his best to succeed in his studies at NUS so as to provide her with a better life in the future.
In essence, two different directions emerged in front of him: the first where he would need to juggle the demands of course work and part-time jobs, and hope that his academic results would not be compromised; and the second where a bursary would enable him to better immerse himself in undergraduate life at NUS and be much more prepared for his career.
It was through the help of the Raffles Quay Asset Management (RQAM) Study Grant for the Department of Real Estate that Mr Lin was able to journey on the latter path.
“I cannot imagine how different it would have been for me without the RQAM Study Grant. I would be actively working part-time jobs whilst juggling with my course work, which may translate to poor grades. Also, I might jeopardise future career opportunities by working full-time service jobs during school holidays instead of gaining significant work experience through internships,” Mr Lin assessed.
“RQAM affirms that it is our belief and responsibility to contribute back to society by supporting the less fortunate amongst us and via good quality education for deserving students. Education is one of the best ways to help the less privileged students to lay the necessary foundation for them to establish a meaningful career of their own,” said Mr Sim Puay Kiak, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at RQAM.
“No one should miss out on educational opportunities due to the financial circumstances of his or her family. We hope that through our support, the recipients will rise to be professionals and leaders who will contribute to society in the future,” Mr Sim added.
“The grant has enabled me to widen my perspectives in life and see issues in a completely different light. During my summer break, I travelled to Cambodia on a service learning trip and witnessed how underprivileged people led their lives and still found contentment despite facing much hardship. I have definitely grown wiser and more sophisticated in my way of thinking from NUS’ holistic approach to education,” said Mr Lin, who plans to express his gratitude to his benefactors.
“There is a quote that I came across some time ago: ‘Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.’ I live by these words because I believe that for it is in giving that we receive. Therefore, I hope to show my gratitude through actions by interning at RQAM and to giving back to others what RQAM has given to me.”