The teenage years of Ang Boon Kiat were anything but enjoyable. Despite getting into the Normal (Academic) class in Greenview Secondary, he had an uphill struggle with English and failed the subject at the G.C.E. ‘O’ Level examinations. With that, he could not get into any of the polytechnics. Already faced with an uncertain and seemingly bleak future, he still had to live up to the depressing realities of his father who has diabetes and his mother was suffering from breast cancer.
Reluctantly, he joined the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and took a Higher Nitec course in Electronic Engineering. He was averse to joining ITE because of the negative tag that came with studying there. Nevertheless, he did well.
After national service, he worked in a wafer fab plant for about 10 months. He realised that polytechnic graduates who did exactly the same job as him were earning a few hundred dollars more. It dawned upon him that paper qualifications were important. Also, he saw how some of his former ITE classmates proceeded to poly successfully. Furthermore, both his sisters have university degrees and he felt left out. However, he wondered if he could switch back to study mode. After all it was more than two years since he left ITE.
The decision to enrol in Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering paid off handsomely. He not only managed to get back in study gear but also scored a perfect GPA during his first year. He also managed to pay off his fees using savings from his 10-month job; additional financial help came from a bursary that he secured.
Boon Kiat’s motivation to work hard came from the realisation that he was not getting any younger and this might perhaps be his last chance to study. He stayed back almost every day to study and was grateful that SP actually recorded lessons on video so he could review them if he did not understand a topic. He also found motivation from his classmates who were all former ITE students. Due to their common background, there existed amongst them a strong spirit to help each other to excel.
During his SP days, he donated blood no less than five times. Coming from a family where both parents are stricken with illnesses, he knew very well that there are many people out there who are also ill and giving blood was just a simple way that he could help.
Boon Kiat has been offered direct admission to pursue a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. He aspires to become an electrical engineer in the power or manufacturing sectors.
Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal
Singapore Power Prize