I Remember – PSC Undergraduate Scholarship 1976

I was a teenager before, though this was so long ago.

In 1975, I was still in National Junior College doing Year 2. Like most aspiring students, I too was attracted to the idea of going overseas for my undergraduate study. I dreamed of travelling. With my family financial background, we could not fund this dream.

Therefore, I applied for the Public Service Commission (PSC) undergraduate scholarship in June 1975. I did not feel confident about my chances. Surprisingly, PSC called me up for an interview. During that period, I was not prepped for the interview. No one guided me or told me what to expect at the interview.

It was with horror when I entered a room and seated in front of a solitary chair were a panel of seven interviewers. It was so intimidating for a young person like me facing the distinguished panellists. The air-conditioning in the room was so cold and I could not think straight. I could not remember the details and the nature of questions. (It was a blur now after four decades.) I think I fumbled and was not so smart and witty in my answers to their questions.

In the end, I was not successful for the scholarship and with that my dream came down to earth and the rest was history. I did my undergraduate study in NUS minus the scholarship from the government. Thankfully, the degree programme at NUS was heavily subsidised back then and I was able to do it without any study loan or bursary. The Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc) degree programme was good enough to see me through my early career in this field. There was no regret and still is.

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