“Someone once told me that a true gift is found in our sincerity to act for the happiness of others,” reflects Lim Jia Pei, a PhD student in her first year at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
The Biomedical Sciences graduate was awarded the Ong Hin Tiang PhD Scholarship in Cancer Research and is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at the NUS Department of Anatomy.
While Jia Pei is fully aware of the much-needed boost the Scholarship has given her in pursuing an education in a top-ranking university, she didn’t realise that it originated from a long-lasting heritage of hard work and humility.
The Scholarship was set up by the Ong Hin Tiang & Ong Sek Pek Foundation, whose funding comes solely from gifts made by the late Ong Sek Pek and his family. It all started when a poor young Chinese scholar named Ong Pek Boey came to Malaya in search of a better life for himself and for the generations after him. After his untimely passing, his family survived through frugal living and careful saving and after many years, managed to invest in land, buy a shop and start a business.
Five generations later, Mr Ong Sek Pek, the eldest son of Mr Ong Hin Tiang, never forgot his roots and established the family foundation to help the weak and the downtrodden just as his father had done on a personal basis throughout his life. Mr Ong felt that funding students’ education in cancer research was the best way to influence the future. After his passing, the Foundation was named after both him and his late father.
“I think the greatest gifts that one can give are hope and an opportunity to others to realise their dreams, and this is exactly what I have been given by the Ong family through this Scholarship. I am truly very thankful,” expresses the Malaysian Chinese student.
The aspiring scientist is highly inspired by stories of those who have made a difference in people’s lives through research and discoveries in the medical field.
She says, “The experiences and knowledge that I have gained while working in NUS further strengthened my passion for medical research and deepened my dream and aspiration to be able to make a difference through medical research that would positively impact the lives of people and society in the future.”
That is exactly what the Foundation hopes for for the recipients of its Scholarship – that they should never forget the hardship and sacrifices they experienced and always remember to help the less fortunate when they are able to.
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