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So What If I was an ‘N’ Level Student?


There are no lousy students, only lazy ones. That is the strong belief that this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Award winner subscribes to.


Not surprising. After all, Hong ZhongCheng had a bitter taste of what it meant to be a lazy student after scoring badly in his PSLE.

“I used to sneak out of the house with my brothers to play. Sometimes we spend hours at our favourite fishing pond or we can spend a lot of time at various computer games arcade,” he said.


As a result of the hours spent playing, the former Commonwealth Secondary School student paid a hefty price for his playful days.

Doing badly for his PSLE, he had to spend an extra year under the normal stream. It was then that he decided to pull the plug on his lazy attitude towards his school work. He devoted more time to his studies and was conscientious in school.


No longer plagued by his laziness, ZhongCheng’s hard work paid off as he subsequently topped the “N” and then the “O” Level exams at Commonwealth Secondary School. 


ZhongCheng subsequently took up the Diploma in Biotechnology course at Singapore Polytechnic and went on to top his cohort with 34 distinctions and As out of the 40 modules. He was also on the Outstanding Student List for all his six semesters in SP.

His great interest in science, especially the field of genetics, gave ZhongCheng the edge in his Final Year Project. The team had to generate the genetic marker for lead uptake in plants.


His team of three all did very well for the project that they submitted.


During his time at SP, ZhongCheng has been active in the Chemical & Life Sciences Club where he helped out in the Freshman Orientation and organised a street soccer tournament.  He is also involved in the SP Sports Club which organises sporting activities.  On Sundays, he is a social soccer league player.


His parents have also played an important part in his life.  “My father, an odd job stevedore always has some very timely and valuable advice for me while my mother is the one who is always there to take good care of me,” explained ZhongCheng.  


ZhongCheng will be pursuing a degree at Nanyang Technological University in Biological Science after his National Service. 

And one day, he hopes to return to SP.


“I want to become a lecturer to repay the education system that has played an important role in shaping my success,” he said.


Lee Kuan Yew Award
Shell Companies In Singapore Prize
Yakult Singapore Gold Medal
Quest Technology Award
OCBC Prize