Tucked away in a corner of Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is the SP Graduates Guild Club House (SPGG). Its nondescript exterior belies its present status as the largest independent alumni body amongst the polytechnics in Singapore. Much of the credit must go to its President, Mr Jimmy Lim.
“Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets his/her mind to it,” said Mr Lim as he recalls this Chinese phrase from his late father that has since become his guiding principle in life. Being an ordinary citizen, Mr Lim’s aspiration then was like many young Singaporeans in the ‘70s that was to complete his studies as soon as possible, and then get a job and contribute to the family. However, Mr Lim did more than that. With a Diploma in Electronics & Communications Engineering from SP, and subsequently an MBA from NUS Business School, he established himself as having a noteworthy professional career and a track record for turning around the bottom lines of companies.
In 2002, Mr Lim was invited back to assist on Ex-Co after SPGG completed the $15 million clubhouse next to SP Sports Complex. He realised that SPGG was facing financial challenges that could threaten its existence. He was elected to be the President of SPGG in 2003, he worked tirelessly with the Ex-Co members to revamp the composition and to establish a cohesive team to focus on reviving SPGG and building its long-term sustainability. He has achieved just that – by the end 2012, SPGG had a healthy reserve of almost $3 million and a comprehensive 4-Pillar Strategic Initiative to steer its future direction.
When asked what alma mater meant to him, he replied, “SP education is the most important education in my life. It gave me a head-start to my career and a strong foundation to continue my life-long learning process. More importantly, it shaped who I am during my tender age.”
To pay it forward and in line with his firm conviction that no students should be deprived of education due to financial hardship, Mr Lim spearheaded various financial support initiatives through SPGG, and offers about 80 bursaries per year to SP students who might have fallen through the cracks of official support system. Notable examples include the SPGG Endowment Fund Bursary that raised over $2 million in 5 years, and the SPGG Care Fund which raised $246K in 2020 to provide financial relief for SP students whose families livelihood were adversely affected by the CoVid-19 Pandemic.
For his service contribution, Mr Lim was among the
60 Outstanding Alumni honoured by SP in its 60th Anniversary Celebration in 2014. It might have been a moment of glory for some but for Mr Lim, it was simply an affirmation of his modus operandi in life as he continues to strive and work hard for the students and alumni in SP.
Mr Lim ended the interview with a parting quote: “True Happiness is to be grateful for what we have and being rich is not how much we have, but how we have impacted the lives of others.”