As firm believers that kindness begets kindness, long-serving faculty members and alumni from the School of Computing (SOC) came together to establish the SOC Pay-It-Forward Bursary fund at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2011 for needy undergraduate students.
Professor Khoo Siau Cheng (’83), Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at NUS and his wife, Ms Tay Lian Sang (’83), hope that through their contribution to this fund, they will be able to repay the acts of benevolence they benefitted from in the form of scholarships and bursaries during their University days and motivate bursary recipients to follow in their footsteps.
They share, “Our forefathers have provided us with a plethora of means and opportunities for achieving both a holistic university education in computer science and successful careers in information and communications technology.”
The couple believes that the synergy of information and communications technology skills with a heart of giving will do wonders for the betterment of society. The SOC Pay-It-Forward Bursary fund is therefore a manifestation of the couple’s desire to give back to society. Professor Khoo adds, “It serves as a convenient platform for those who wish to practise the value of giving, and for those beneficiaries to pay it forward, providing assistance for their future generations.”
Through this Bursary, Prof Khoo hopes that their gift will be able to motivate and inspire others to continue to spread kindness. He shares a Chinese idiom – 抛砖引玉 – which, roughly translated, says that a gesture can serve as an incentive for others to come forward and do likewise. “We are surrounded by various individuals, all with benevolent hearts, and the fund will serve as a medium through which their kindness can proliferate,” he explains.
In addition, Prof Khoo likens the cycle of goodwill to the process of seed planting. He says, “Giving is akin to planting a seed of generosity. It creates ripples and influences others to do likewise, thus providing vital nutrients it needs to grow. In time, the seed will sprout and grow into a magnificent tree, bearing fruits that produce more generosity seeds for planting.”
The couple deeply cherishes the value of a good university education and believes very much in NUS’ ability to mould future generations through education and quality research. “Giving to an organisation that has the potential to do good for the populace further adds sunlight to this metaphorical tree, which has the innate ability to multiply its beneficial effect. No doubt, we have benefited from NUS – it truly is a place with the wherewithal to aid an innumerable number of people and even mould our society, be it this generation or the next,” he shares.
“There is a Chinese saying: 付出就是幸福. We are fortunate to have the capacity for giving; giving is a blessing both ends of the give-receive spectrum ought to experience,” he concludes.
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