Phua Mingquan

Class of 2000

Singapore Polytechnic, BE

Diploma in Civil & Structural Engineering


Singapore Polytechnic's Diploma in Civil & Structural Engineering was my first choice when I completed my ‘O' levels at Tampines Secondary School. 2 reasons on choosing this course were simply my interest and I prefer a more hands-on approach that I will get as compared to Junior College. Finally after 3 years in the Polytechnic, I am certain I did choose the right path.


Polytechnic life
I feel that my polytechnic life has been interesting as I have made the effort to participate in many co-curricula activities. Perhaps I will only talk more on some interesting events.

One of the most memorable activities that I have participated in was the annual Structural Competition organized by our School of BE. For this competition, I worked with my good friends-cum-project-mates, Fook Seng and Paulrene to build small bridges made from satay sticks. This was one of the many times we shared our fun and laughter.

Next event that will bring back sweet memories was my 6 weeks Overseas ITP to China. During this ITP, my friends and I went to many different places in China. We went to the world-renowned Three Gorges Dam, Suzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, etc. These few weeks' stay has been a fruitful trip as I was able to interact with new friends in China, visit different places and most importantly gained many valuable experiences. I believe this trip would not have been a memorable one without the rest of my friends and our lecturer, Mr Tan Yew Meng, who accompanied us and told us many hilarious jokes, but not forgetting some of which are not really funny. Haha.

In my third year, my friends and I also work together to take part in the Lantern Making Festival. This was a "terrible" time that we had gone through, just like the feeling of a "sampan" floating on an ocean. We faced lots of difficulties and problems in constructing our lantern. Fortunately, we had Mr. Sia Chiaw Hui to guide us along the way so that we could complete our project.

Some other activities that I have participated in were the Singapore - Miyazaki Friendship Exchange, Precast Mould Design Competition, SP's Student Marketing Task Force, Product Process Research & Development programme and many others. I believe that by participating in the competitions and being involved in other activities and events, I had gained a lot of experiences apart from what was taught in the classroom and added many wonderful facets to my polytechnic life.

I think my stay in SP has been very colourful and I do encourage everyone of you to take part in more activities and CCA to make your polytechnic life more interesting. However, do not neglect your studies.


Secret formula
I believe that every student has his or her own style of studying and there is no right or wrong method. My formula is a combination of many factors, but there are 2 main components. They are UNDERSTANDING and EFFORT.

What I meant from "understanding" is to learn the concept of the topics clearly and thoroughly rather than learn blindly. The next "effort" factor is to put in sufficient effort in your studies. You need not put in too much effort e.g. doing 10 past semesters papers. You just have to do the papers till you feel confident before entering the examination hall.

Perhaps my secret studying formula is


Studying tips
I have a couple of studying tips which I felt are very beneficial.
They are:

  • Have a GOAL to strive for.
  • Be confident but not over confident
  • Keep a clear mind before entering the exam hall
  • Constantly evaluate your mistakes and failure
  • Be self-motivated
  • Have an interest in the things you study
  • Clarify with the lecturers whenever in doubt


On being awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Award
In fact this award came to me as a surprise. Before coming to the polytechnic, my aim was just to get good grades. During the second year, I changed my target and hope to graduate with a Diploma with Merit. However, I became more ambitious in my final year and hope to be a course medallist. Just after my last semester results were out, I received a call from SP to inform me that I have been nominated for an institution medal.

I was shocked and surprised to receive the call. Just being nominated had already made me feel honoured, not to mention being awarded the Lee Kuan Yew award. I am very honored and very happy to be the lucky one to get this award.

I think that this award should not be solely owned by me, as I would like to share it with the people around me. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to them.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my lecturers who have taught and guided me patiently through the modules and my project mates whom I have worked with through my course of study. Without them, I would never be able to graduate with my diploma. Next, I would like to thank my Uncle Simon who has taught me many things in life, which I believe is very important and I really appreciate it. A special "Thank you" to a special person, Chuling who has always been there for me whenever I voiced out my stress and troubles that I had in school. Lastly, I would like to thank my family members, my parents for providing me with a great living and studying environment for me to grow in. Especially to my mother, Thank you for all the things you have done and the support you have given.

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