I went to a primary school near my home. The choice was obvious; I could walk to school. I started primary school in 1964 at Delta West Integrated Primary School.
From 1964 to 1969, I studied hard and relied on teachers to achieve good grades throughout the years. There was no tuition. My grasp of English was consistently weak. I even received a red mark for English in Primary 6 before my PSLE.
After PSLE, came the time to pick a secondary school. Back then students did not know their PSLE results, except that I could proceed to a Secondary School. I remember looking at Raffles Institution as a possibility but opted for middle ranking secondary school, Gan Eng Seng School, so as not to waste my first choice in case my results were not good enough for RI. Frankly, it was also a fear of coping in a top ranking institution.
In Gan Eng Seng School, I performed well to stay well ahead of the cohort. (1970 – 1973) At the end of Secondary 4, I was ranked 6 out of 283 in the standard.
After GCE “O” Level, my choices open up. I chose National Junior College and tried a JC route of education. (1974 – 1975) Back then NJC and Hwa Chong Junior College were the only two JCs in Singapore. I recall struggling with Physics and Economics. My classmates were coping so well that I felt inadequate.
My GCE “A” Level results were good enough to get me through Accountancy degree in National University of Singapore. I switched focus from science-based education to business-related qualification. I did not dogmatically stick to my original educational trajectory which was Engineering. I realised that one can achieve his dream by studying diligently. I was awarded Second Class Honours degree in Bachelor in Accountancy.
I consider myself to be a late starter. I went on to do my Master’s in Business Administration from NTU on a Temasek Polytechnic scholarship and came up top in Banking & Finance specialisation and was on the Dean’s List.
I consider myself fortunate. I relied a lot on my teachers for my formal education. I did not have tuitions. I had to study hard and diligently to achieve my grades. With my heart on achieving results, I succeeded. Every child had a chance to rise above his social class in this meritocratic society. I may not be born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but education level the playing field for me.