From near-dropout to pilot

From near-dropout to pilot
Mr Shalom Lim (Left) has been given the Ngee Ann Kongsi Most Outstanding Overcomer Award as a tribute to his resilience. Mr Haley Poh is a recipient of the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal, which is awarded to outstanding polytechnic graduates who take the ITE to poly route.

He was so addicted to computer games in secondary school that at one point, he would play for 20 hours and sleep only four hours.

Mr Haley Poh, now 22, said the addiction took a toll on his results.

He was ungraded for all his subjects in his first year at Compassvale Secondary School in 2006.

He almost could not get promoted to the second year.

Thankfully, Mr Poh changed and became more serious about studying in 2009 through his family's influence and partly after watching The Dream Catchers, a local TV show.

It was about engineers who had a dream about making the world a better place for mankind.

The show, coupled with his family's regular visits to the viewing gallery at the airport, where they would watch planes land and take off, fuelled his interest in engineering.


This led to Mr Poh pursuing a course in aerospace avionics in ITE after Secondary 4 and then a course in aerospace electronics at Temasek Polytechnic (TP).

However, it was not a smooth journey in TP for Mr Poh, who struggled because he was weak in mathematics and had no physics background.

"I was determined to succeed and I stayed focused on my goal, which is to be a pilot," Mr Poh said.

In his final semester, Mr Poh was accepted into the Singapore Youth Flying Club, where he went through higher aerospace engineering training and received his private pilot licence (PPL).

He is the first ITE graduate without an O-level certificate to receive the PPL.

He will also be officially graduating from TP next week as a recipient of the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal, which is awarded to outstanding polytechnic graduates from ITE.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.