EMBRACING LIFE'S ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
Lim Kok Heng graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering in 2002. He now works as the Operations Manager of Easteel Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
Before Kok Heng met his mentor at SP, life was uneventful for him. What really changed was waking up and looking at challenges differently.
Q: How did your life and perspectives change after coming to SP?
Before SP, I went from primary school to ITE after completing my N-levels. Upon joining SP, I realised that good grades alone is not enough. I was lucky because I met Ms Vicky Quek, a Student Development Officer, who played an instrumental role in ensuring my personal development.
Because of Ms Vicky Quek's early guidance, I recognised the importance of developing personal qualities such as self-reliance, perseverance and a sense of responsibility to oneself and the society. I took an active part in CCAs which included a wide range of activities, from organising events to helping out in community service. Through these activities, I was able to develop numerous positive personal qualities. In September 2002, I was awarded the National Youth Achievement Award (Gold) for excelling in CCAs and was also recognised as a SP model student.
Q: What motivated you to further your studies? What was the best lesson learnt?
In today's environment, being equipped with a diploma is inadequate; furthering my studies not only provided me with the exposure to latest trends and knowledge and gain the necessary skillsets to stay relevant, but also contributed to my sense of self-worth. Supported by working experience, a relevant qualification gives me a competitive edge and helps in my promotional opportunities.
Q: Why do you enjoy what you are currently doing?
Life is about making choices. Experiences help you to grow and that's why I enjoyed the job rotation which my company offered. About once in every two years, I would switch roles. So far, I have covered safety and health, quality, process improvement, production planning and control, engineering and maintenance and production. I am really thankful to be in an organisation that is so supportive of continuous learning.
Life is about attitude too. I was taught to see things differently. For example, we face technical difficulties such as machine breakdown, as well as, process and safety issues at work. To overcome them, I go back to fundamentals, break the problem into parts and solve them one by one. The satisfaction derived is fantastic and processes are improved as a result. I appreciate having a supportive management team which believes in team work and human capital development.
Q: Because of your work, you've lived in different countries. Tell us more.
I worked in Thailand for about 6 months overseeing one of the production centres. My most memorable experience was living in Malaysia. I was involved in the start-up of the new plant. The learning curve was massive - managing all aspects of setting up a new company from plant layout, machine installations to managing people and the expectations at all levels of the organisation. This would be the most challenging role in my career thus far.
Q: How was it first like living overseas?
At the start, I was quite homesick. Then, I started to compare the differences between both countries. Ever since, I have tried to adapt to the foreign culture with an open mind.
Q: What have you learnt about living abroad?
Living abroad forces you to adapt to things that are unfamiliar and unusual to you. I have become more independent having been exposed to new, exciting, and terrifying challenges that I would possibly never encounter in Singapore. And the most rewarding of all is the opportunity to learn and develop as a person, because I otherwise would not have discovered many new things about myself; my beliefs, my passions, my real character.
Q: Would you think that living overseas is good or otherwise?
Yes, it is good because living in a society that's quite different from the one you grew up in instantly challenges your understanding of the status quo. It forces you to think beyond preconceived notions of what's normal, and consider novel approaches to government, politics, lifestyles, and all the rest.