She runs half-marathons, loves dragons (OK, the band Imagine Dragons, not the mythical creatures) and is fascinated by ants. She is happiest when she sees the sparkle in her students’ eyes at the end of a lesson, and shares something in common with many of them – online shopping! It saves time, she says. We caught up with our new CASS director Ms Lim Lee Yee for her views on life, CASS and all things in between.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a mother of two and have been a teacher all my life. I have been in SP for 12 years. I consider myself a music buff and enjoy all kinds of music – from classical, jazz, pop, rock to gospel. I appreciate good musicianship, especially a musician’s skills and a strong sincere voice. I am enthralled even by a skillful percussion performance. At the moment, I enjoy listening to soft rock music by Aerosmith, Green Day, Nickelback and Imagine Dragons when driving or running.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: As a teacher, I think what makes me really happy is when I finish a class and I see that sparkle in my students’ eyes as they walk away with something that they find beneficial. As a mother, I just enjoy doing “nothing” with my children, you know, as in just watching them run around, doing their thing, expending their energy outdoors. In the mornings, a cup of teh-siu-dai makes me happy. If I can have afford the luxury of time and space, I love hibernating somewhere for an hour or two with a book I’ve always wanted to read.
Q: If you were an animal/ insect, which one would you be?
A: I have always been very fascinated by ants, particularly how they organise themselves. I mean they don’t have a clear leader, sure there’s a queen ant they work for, but ants have their own way of organising themselves and even though they’re so tiny, as a team, they can shoulder loads up to ten times their size. I’m amazed at how such small little things can collaborate and communicate among themselves, and carry and manage such heavy loads. Their spirit of determination and diligence is compelling – they work and keep on going no matter what! I wonder how SP or Singapore would be like if we were like ants!
Q: How do you unwind after work?
A: I’m an online shopaholic! I buy clothes for myself, my children and my friends. I buy all my books online too. We’re so busy, there’s hardly time to do anything else. I start my day at 6 am to get my sons ready for school and the day ends when I tuck them into bed after they complete their homework. I shop when I’m on the bus, or while waiting for my sons to fall asleep at night.
Q: We heard you take part in runs/ marathons. Tell us what makes you take part in such gruelling activities and tell how you feel after a particular run.
A: I don’t know why I put myself through it! I’m not a very sporty person, so to be out there running is really quite a challenge for me. I’ve done a few 10-km runs but a half marathon was something I just completed. It’s painful, it’s really sheer pain. I reckon human beings need to be a bit masochistic at times, you know, to rough things out a bit to enjoy the final outcome even more. It’s gratifying to know that I’m doing something I’m not really good at, going through the pain and ultimately finishing it. The finisher medal at the end of the run is a nice reminder too – of what is possible when you put your mind to it.
Q: What is the most exciting/ different thing you did last year?
A: I signed up my elder son for two runs last year. He was the youngest in his category and he outran some of the older boys. I hope to do my runs with him some day.
Q: What was the last book you read? Do you ‘kindle’?
A: I’m currently re-reading something I read once about ten years ago – The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. I’ve picked up this book again because of his recent passing and am trying to understand Mr Lee better, to get more perspective about who he was and what he did. There is this surge of interest to want to revisit the facts, and more so to know Mr Lee as a person. Well, my husband tried to convert me to the Kindle but was not too successful. I reckon I’m still old school when it comes to reading. like the smell of the pages and the tactile feel of having something in my hands. This is my way of “interacting” with the books I read and I am very reluctant to give this up.
Q: Growing up, who was your inspiration? Who inspires/inspired you the most?
A: I really don’t know! Growing up, I was too distracted to realize the people who had an influence on me. In hindsight, I am amazed by – and in no order of preference or achievement – Einstein, Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Lee Kuan Yew, Chan Heng Chee, Aung San Suu Kyi and the list goes on. However, if I had to name one or two, I would think my parents inspire me the most. They started their lives with very little and have done their best to raise three children, including me. They inspire me with their industry, perseverance and positive and simple outlook on life.
Q: Where do you see CASS in 5 years?
A: There is very strong interest in CASS diplomas and I believe the diploma teams will continue to value-add to students’ learning experience by continuing to refine their curriculum and engage the industry to give students up-to-date knowledge and training in skills required by the industry. Many of our graduates have done very well in life and I know this will continue to be so for future cohorts of students who join CASS. I think there are exciting developments from the recommendations by the ASPIRE (Applied Study for Polytechnic and ITE review) committee. In the next 5 years, I think CASS will leverage those developments to chart clear, lasting and hopefully fulfilling careers for our graduates.
Q: What is the one thing prospective students should know about CASS?
A: We believe in giving our students a good education; we are not just a pit-stop to get a paper qualification. As a CASS family, we will work passionately and rigorously to train our students for work and for life. Prospective students must be prepared to work hard with us to attain the vision of the school. We hope all our students will leave us CASSy. Other than solid academic training, we hope our students will become Creative, Articulate, Self-driven and Selfless when they graduate from SP.
If you would like to get in touch with Ms Lim, do email her at [email protected] or call her at 68707817.