Ho Ai Li
Sat, Aug 18, 2007
The Straits Times
President's Scholar follows in dad's footsteps

IN 1974, then Raffles Institution student Ko Kheng Hwa received the President's Scholarship from the late Dr Benjamin Sheares.

Now managing director of the Economic Development Board, Mr Ko will return to the Istana tonight with his wife, Madam Hoong Suet Kun, to see daughter Stephanie, 18, receive the same award from President SR Nathan.

The Public Service Commission, which awards the scholarship, said Stephanie - from Hwa Chong Institution - is the first recipient to have a President's Scholar as a parent.

There are four President's Scholars this year. The others are Sergius Wat, 19; Kaan Hung Leng, 18; and Liu Chen, 21, all from Raffles Junior College (RJC).

Stephanie, who will study medicine at Cambridge University in Britain, said: 'It's the satisfaction you get as a doctor, dedicating your life to helping people.'

As former vice-president of the Hwa Chong Students' Council, Stephanie helped organise many events. She also represented the Singapore Chinese Girls' School in basketball.

Fellow President's Scholar Hung Leng also has a 'scholar dad'.

Her father, Mr Kaan Quan Hang, a senior engineer, studied in Australia on a Colombo Plan Scholarship. Her two siblings also went overseas on government scholarships.

Unlike them, Hung Leng is staying here and studying medicine at the National University of Singapore to keep her father and housewife mother, Madam Tan Bee Geok, company, she said.

Hung Leng, from Raffles Girls' Secondary (RGS), excelled in fencing and playing the piano.

Her former RGS and RJC schoolmate Liu Chen is also well-versed in sports and the arts. A national taekwondo brown belt champion, she also plays the piano and double bass.

She moved here from Shandong, China, in 1997 with her father, Mr Liu Luo Sheng, a business consultant, and mother, Madam Xu Bao Li, a private tutor.

'I had heard that it's hard for an ex-foreigner to get a government scholarship. I'm glad I proved them wrong,' said Liu Chen, an only child who became a Singapore citizen two years ago. She will study economics at the University of Chicago.

The thorn among the roses is Sergius Wat, whose father, Mr Wat Tat Chuen, is a general manger in a construction firm. His mother, Madam Ang Poh Choo, is a housewife. His older brother is a Singapore Armed Forces scholar.

Sergius, concurrently a Singapore Police Force scholar, said he wanted 'to help people in a very real way.'

Helping people comes naturally to Sergius, a scout and recent winner of the HSBC Youth Excellence award for his charity work. He will study government at Harvard University.


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