As a little kid, Seah Wei Ping Gabriel was taught martial arts by his father who used to be a professional boxer. But little did the father expect Gabriel to use it on his classmates! That's one of the naughty chapters in Gabriel's history of growing up. He did not like school. He fought, played truant often and got booted out by the school's Judo Club.
Today, Gabriel, who completed his secondary education at Assumption English School, is graduating from SP with top honours. His achievement has not only made his parents proud but has also brought them closer. This is a far cry from the days when he would have cold wars with his father and deliberately sneak out of home late at night just to avoid having to see him. Now, in his own words, father and son behave like friends.
At 24, Gabriel is older than most of his fellow graduates. He did badly for his 'O' levels the first time, and retook it as a private candidate. Doing it for the second time, he was determined to get grades good enough to join a polytechnic. In his second attempt, his grades were not astounding but at least qualified him to be admitted to his first-choice polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic. Not only that, he also got his desired course - Diploma in Landscape Architecture. Gabriel has an inexplicable liking for nature and landscape designs.
"If I had done well when I took my 'O' levels for the first time, I would not be able to take up this course because it was not offered then, so maybe it was a good thing that I failed then," he recalled with a laugh.
His love for the course was the motivating factor for him to do well. Gabriel managed to obtain a GPA of 3.970 out of 4. Besides getting consistent good grades, he even impressed his internship employer, Envirospace Consultants. The company offered him a position even before he graduated and Gabriel revealed that his pay package was even higher than what he expected. Although the company knows that Gabriel would be leaving to pursue a university degree overseas soon, they like his work attitude and believe he can contribute positively, even if it is just for a few months.
Gabriel has set his sights on doing a degree course in Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne, one of the few universities that offer this specialised course. Thereafter, he plans to do his Masters in Urban Planning before realising his dream of becoming an urban designer or a landscape architect in a five years' time. There will be a day when he can practise his martial arts once more - within a space designed by him.