This tall and tanned young man looks like an ordinary poly student on the street. With an almost perfect GPA score of 3.987 and a list of prizes and achievements to his name, no one can really imagine that he was once a very mischievous student.
Tan Jing Yuan bit a classmate's shoulder in kindergarten. In Primary 5, he made a girl cry in class. He often got into trouble for various reasons, until one day, his mother decided to home-school him for his secondary education. This proved to be a turning point in his life.
It was during his home-schooling years that Jing Yuan managed to get his character in check. His mother gave up her career to take care of him and his younger brother. Growing up in a single-parent family meant that he cannot take things for granted. He put himself through the first year of poly using earnings from his part-time job, prizes he won from various competitions and PCs he built for sale with his brother.
The Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate got hooked on all things electronic when he managed to repair his fish tank pump at a tender age of 14. Since then, electronics has become a big part in Jing Yuan's life. It was his deep passion and a knack for solving electronic problems that qualified him to be the leader of the SP WorldSkills Singapore 2008 - Telecommunication Distribution Technology team.
On top of working part-time while in SP, Jing Yuan still found time to volunteer at a church in his neighbourhood. He helped out in cleaning, painting, gardening, and not surprisingly, maintenance of electrical equipments and assisting with technical documentation of the church's electrical system.
A huge part of his success is due to his determination to excel in everything he does. He gets a certain kind of high every time he completes a project that is made up of useful circuits that he has built.
After all these years, Jing Yuan's mother's effort to instil good character in him has finally paid off, even though he still has room to improve and grow. When asked about his mother's reaction to his outstanding achievements, "She just smiled and added that having a good character is just as important as having good results."
Jing Yuan recently rewarded himself with a set of new wheels for his other passion, cycling. Bought for over $300, he was reluctant to disclose the price initially, for the fear of being labelled as extravagant.
Jing Yuan has accepted Nanyang Technological University's offer for admission into the Electrical and Electronic Engineering programme. He is currently training to represent Singapore in the international WorldSkills Competition 2009 in Calgary, Canada.