Engineer, designer and entrepreneur. Also an avid athlete and fund-raiser. There are many facets to this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Award winner Shaun Chng Shing Ji, 23, but they are all bound by a common thread: passion.
A fascination with how things work and a knack for building gadgets as a young boy eventually led Shaun to choose the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering course in Singapore Polytechnic.
In the Polytechnic, the engineer in Shaun led his team to win the institution’s SPINNOVEX Gold Award for their final-year project, a universal gaming motion simulator. Shaun was also presented with the Model Student Award in 2008.
The former student of Delta Secondary Secondary School and St. Andrew’s Junior College knows that to succeed, he has to complement his training as an engineer with other areas of expertise like design and marketing. Being in the Creativity, Innovation and Enterprise (CIE) option of his diploma course has helped. It is no surprise then that Shaun has been making money offering product design and IT services. “These freelance projects hone my inter-personal and entrepreneurial skills,” he added.
Shaun's passion has opened up many opportunities for him but it is his perseverance that has helped him excel—both in his studies and in other pursuits. Shaun is a competitive runner and has completed two full marathons and four half-marathons. Active in the SP Track and Field Club, Shaun has represented the institution at the Inter-Varsity Polytechnic (IVP) Games in the 10,000m event.
Despite his hectic schedule, Shaun finds time for community service. One memorable experience was a project organised by the SP Rotaract Club in Medan, Indonesia, where he spent one week teaching English to students and cleaning up old folk homes and orphanages. “This is my way of helping others and making a difference in their lives,” he explained.
Passion and perseverance also contributed to his perfect GPA score with 41 distinctions and As for all the modules in his three-year course. In the future, Shaun sees himself pursuing a career in research and intends to further that aim under a scholarship to read mechanical engineering. With his kind of perseverance, it would be no surprise that he is on his way to achieving his dream.