A total of 42 recipients, children of SMOU members, were honoured, uplifted and inspired at this year’s SMOU Bursary and Scholarship awards presentation held at NTUC Downtown East. The awards presentation was preceded by fringe activities such as a Young NTUC membership booth and Fairprice Scan & Go stations, where guests had a go at using the machine to make purchases of items offered onsite.
Before the award ceremony, recipients had the chance to lay their hands on the making of resin coasters while parents and guests were treated to a parent talk on ‘Raising Future Ready Kids: Mental & Emotional Resilience’.
Cheering the awardees on was Guest-of-Honour Ms Caroline Yang, President of Singapore Shipping Association, joined by SMOU members and their families.
Ms Yang narrated how she came from disadvantaged family circumstances; took on part time jobs over the weekends for a few years; and repeated her O levels and did not let naysayers divert her from furthering her studies.
Today, she is the CEO of a shipping company and has two Honours degrees.
Ms Yang offered two reflections from her personal story that captured the attention of the award recipients. “Believe in yourself…and work hard and strive for excellence in every single piece of work that you do,” she underscored.
In her speech, Ms Yang commended SMOU for empowering seafarers and their families.
This year, the value of awards disbursed amounted to more than $21,100. A total of $5,500 were presented to 10 recipients for the Bursary Award which is co-funded with NTUC U Care Education Co-Funding Scheme 2023; $6,700 to 9 recipients for the Scholarship Award, and $8,950 to 23 recipients for the Wavelink Book Award.
Member of SMOU for 30 years, See Toh Peng Keong shared how he valued the generosity of care and concern the Union has shown to all members and their families.
“SMOU gives back so much more than the annual membership fee we pay,” he told SeaVoices.
His son Ee Kin, now a 4th year Environmental Studies University student has gratefully received the Bursary and Book Awards over the past 3 years. This has eased senior See Toh’s concerns as he had retired as a seafarer in 1986.
“I have attended many SMOU activities since young. The farm visits and the family day events made up the core part of my growing up memories,” Ee Kin commented.
Another grateful pair of awardees are brothers, 21 year old Amir Bin Mohd Ghazali who is a first year High NITEC Facilities Management and 18 year old Ikhwan Bin Mohd Ghazali, a second year ITE student.
Amir and Ikhwan received the Bursary and the Book awards and acknowledged the Union’s inspiring tradition of recognising and rewarding hard work and dedication. Their father, Mohd Ghazali Bin Abdul Ghani has been an SMOU member for 30 years while their older brother, Firdaus Bin Mohd Ghazali holds a 7 years union membership.
“I am very proud and happy for my son. This is a recognition of his achievement,” Mr Ching Yun Teng (SMOU member of 43 years) said this about his youngest son, Daniel Ching Wei Quan. All his four children are beneficiaries of SMOU Bursary and Scholarship Awards.
Mr Ching appreciated the parenting and grand parenting tips he picked up during the pre-event talk by Focus on the Family.
Daniel gave credit to his parents and SMOU for keeping his dreams of computer science studies alive.