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Doctor in the making

Desmond attended a top Junior College (JC) before obtaining his ‘O’ level results. He even gate crashed some other JCs to find out if any suited him. No thanks, he told himself.


When he received his results slip, he had scored an aggregate of five points and would have easily qualified for a top JC. Like every other applicant, he had 12 course options to choose from among the polytechnics and JCs. But Desmond only chose one – Singapore Polytechnic (SP)’s Diploma in Biomedical Science. It was his first and only choice and he wanted nothing else. The reason was simple – he wanted a head start in biomedical science as early as possible since he knew where his passion lay.


His decision was backed by a six-month long science mentorship programme that he undertook at SP. He was totally inspired by what he had learnt from the programme. The dedication of the lecturers from SP’s School of Chemical and Life Sciences left a profound influence on him.


At SP, the ex-Commonwealth Secondary School student took an active interest in community service. In 2007, he participated in the Singapore Heart Foundation’s Health Mapping Exercise, an outreach programme that conducts free health screening for senior citizens living in one and two room flats. His dedication spurred him on to lead the programme as the Organising Chairman the following year. In 2009 and 2010, he was appointed as the Executive Committee Mentor to groom successors for the programme. It is deservingly fitting that this Model Student Award recipient’s passion for helping people and his outstanding results in the Diploma in Biomedical Science course have clinched him the Lee Kuan Yew Award.


There is a touching episode in his success story. Just two weeks before his first semester examination in his third year, his grandmother, who had looked after him since he was young, was hospitalised. Desmond would wake up at 4am daily just to take the first MRT train to visit her in the hospital. When the second semester examination was approaching, his grandmother had a fall that resulted in a fatal brain haemorrhage. From his medical knowledge, he knew that her last day was imminent, so he was mentally prepared. Although devastated, Desmond was not destroyed and went on to ace his exams.

Graduating with a near-perfect score of 3.987, Desmond hopes to read medicine at the National University of Singapore.




Awards won:

Lee Kuan Yew Award
Biomed Diagnostics Gold Medal
Shell Companies in Singapore Prize
Health Sciences Authority Award
Alfred Robert Edis Prize
OCBC Prize