The Mindef/SAF Scholarship Awards ceremony was held yesterday at the Istana, where scholarships were given to 43 students. DAVID SUN (firstname.lastname@example.org) speaks to two recipients
When his father left the family about eight years ago, he retreated into silence.
He was only in primary school then, and his parents' divorce hurt him a lot more than it did his mother.
But he soon realised that she and his sister needed him, and stepped up to fill the role of son, brother, and even father.
Midshipman Aloysius Oh, now 19, was 11 years old when he made the decision to be the man of the house.
He said: "My biggest challenge was stepping up as a father figure to my younger sister."
His sister, now 15, looks up to him as a role model.
MID Oh attended his sister's parent-teacher meetings in place of their father, made time to see her choir performances, and always kept himself in check to ensure he was an inspiration to her.
"I had to forgo some activities and outings with friends because I wanted to spend time with my sister," he said.
"It was more of a father-daughter relationship, and it was tough balancing everything."
His mother, Madam Christina Ang, 45, works as an accountant for multiple companies.
She said: "My daughter listens more to him, and he is stricter with her than I am.
"When I want to tell her something, I get him to do it."
She said her son was very mature from a young age, and took it upon himself to look after the family.
"When his dad left, it really hurt him emotionally, a lot more than it did me," she said.
"But he felt that he had a responsibility to look after his sister and even me, his mother."
MID Oh was one of the recipients of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship awarded at the Istana yesterday, and will be studying psychology at University College London.
He said he was happy to get the scholarship as he was gunning for a career in the military. But he also hopes it will give his mother some leeway.
"She works at least two jobs, and I hope that with the money that she initially saved up for my education, she will be able to work just one job and use the money for my sister instead," he said.
"I hope this will help offload some of her financial burden."
Madam Ang, who was at the awards ceremony yesterday, said she believes he will go far.
"I am very proud of him, and touched by all that he has struggled through for the family," she said.
"He would always keep his Sundays free, just so we could spend time together as a family.
"I am truly blessed to have him as a son."
This article was first published on July 30, 2015.
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