Growing up, Kwek Ai Ling always had a passion for everything to do with design and has a flair for creating things through arts and crafts. She took a strong fascination to how things were made and always admired the aesthetic values in things around her.
The Geylang Methodist School alumna proceeded to study in junior college after her ‘O’ levels, hoping that she could use a couple of years to figure out what design related course best suits her. But life did not go as planned – she scored mediocre results for her G.C.E ‘A’ Levels and did not qualify for the course of her choice. As she watched her aspirations evaporate, her self-esteem plunged.
Ai Ling’s family and close friends stood by her through this difficult time and encouraged her to follow her heart and take alternative routes to achieve her goals. Determined to follow her passion, she decided to walk the path less travelled and enrolled in a part-time course in jewellery design at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She also visited Singapore Polytechnic (SP) during the Open House as she heard about the Diploma in Experience and Product Design (DXPD) course offered by SP Design School. Mesmerised by the design exhibits, Ai Ling made up her mind to enrol in the DXPD course.
Throughout her SP journey, Ai Ling was academically consistent, landing herself on the Director’s Honours List three years in a row. The SP Scholar was also extra motivated, taking up the role of class leader, and volunteered as the Organising Chairman for her DXPD course during the SP Design School Graduation Showcase. To validate her ability and challenge herself, Ai Ling took part in the Singaplural 48 hours Challenge during the Singapore Design Week, designing a showroom experience for Castilla – a furniture company.
Outside of her demanding school schedule, Ai Ling finds great joy in giving of her time and effort to helping others. She volunteered to bring underprivileged primary school children for eye screening and a tour around SP. She also helped to teach the elderly how to use new technology via Project Savvy Silvers. Ai Ling also carved out time to enrich herself by learning Korean through online language courses and can now easily carry a conversation with a Korean native.
Ai Ling, who plans to further her studies by pursuing her dream course in industrial design at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has already been awarded the NUS Global Merit Scholarship. With her abilities, she hopes to positively influence the community by improving the lives of people through design. After getting her degree, she aspires to be an experience and product designer, and hopefully set up her own design studio one day.