Kong Su May (’96), a vice-principal of a primary school, gives every year to her alma mater, the National University of Singapore (NUS). She tells us how to develop resilient children and why it’s never too early to teach them about giving.
Do you have any particular memories of NUS?
The best parts of my University years were spending time with my school mates, studying together, going for jogs around the school, swimming, playing tennis and participating in various activities at NUS.
How has NUS helped you get to where you are today?
The NUS environment promotes critical thinking, independent learning and independence which is helpful in what I’m doing. The culture is vibrant and allows for a lot of social activities that helped nurture my social skills.
What is the best lesson that you learnt in NUS?
NUS taught me that everyone is unique and has his or her talent. There is no one definition of success or talent.
What are your hopes for the recipients of your gift?
To value the education given to him or her and, when he or she is successful, offer something in return to society.
Do you think it is important for alumni to give to NUS? Why?
Yes. It promotes the culture of gratitude and helps provide a good quality education for those who are less privileged.
Should primary school students be taught about giving?
Yes. Young children need to learn that it is always more of a blessing to be able to give than to receive so that they will not grow up being too self-centred.
What is your advice for parents who have children in primary school?
Parents need to learn when to hold and when to let go and not be overprotective. Give children room to explore, make mistakes and learn, so that they can become more resilient. Parents should also work hand-in-hand with schools as a community to educate the child. As an African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child”.