National University of Singapore (NUS) student Joshua Ng remembers sleeping under a zinc roof that used to get very noisy on rainy nights. He also recalls the smell of the canal that was next to his house.
But those days are now far behind for Joshua. The Dean’s lister who had a Cumulative Average Point of 4.84 out of 5, who was a recipient of the Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation Scholarship, is looking forward to graduating with First Class Honours in History from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). He also plans on joining the Civil Service as an Officer.
The Sakura Bank (formerly known as Mitsui Bank) donated an initial sum in 1973 and subsequently increased their gifts over the years to establish the Sakura Bank Scholarship. It was renamed the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Scholarship in 2001 when Sakura Bank and Sumitomo Banking Corporation merged. The Scholarship is awarded to honours students in the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Joshua came to NUS with the intention of majoring in Sociology and Political Science, not History.
He says, “I used to think that History was just a boring subject for which we had to memorise dates and facts. But when I sat in History tutorials at NUS, I felt a deep feeling well up inside me. I felt like History chose me and not the other way around.”
Despite his initial disinterest in the subject, Joshua’s Honours thesis on how colonial engineers in the 1930s inhibited the rise of indigenous engineers in Singapore won the Wong Lin Ken Memorial Medal and Book Prize for the top Honours thesis. He has also won the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies Book Prize for the top student in History.
Besides his passion for History, Joshua also believes strongly in charity and has been an active volunteer of charitable organisation Joy Centre since 2006. With them, he makes hospital and home visits to people who are ill or elderly. He believes he has learnt life’s biggest lessons from these visits.
During his visits, Joshua often meets an elderly lady with dementia, whose family hardly visits her at an old folks’ home. The experience has taught Joshua not to discount the emotional hurts and needs of people around him and not to become caught in a rat race at the expense of loved ones.
Joshua says, “People often ask me what position or award I have gained through volunteerism. The answer is no positions and no awards. Instead, I have played many roles, many of which are rewarding in themselves. The smiles on peoples’ faces and the long-term impact of poignantly transformed lives do not require rewards or trophies to be legitimised.”
He adds, “The Scholarship has greatly encouraged me and enabled me to pursue greater heights in my research and study. I would really like to express deep gratitude to my benefactors.”
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