SPH Radio, 96.3 HAO FM, DJ and Senior Programme Director, Graduate of 1990
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? I have great memories from my AI days. Learning was always fun with my teachers and classmates. We are still very good friends after so many years.
I was from the Military band. It must have been the most memorable times in AI. We had over 100 new recruits the year i joined and we had a lot of fun learning how to play the instruments and practicing for all the marching parade and performances. I was appointed Band Major in 1990 and had the chance to lead the band. This experience helped me grew a lot and impacted my life in many ways.
2) Describe AI in one word Enriching
3) What did you do after AI? (Can you list the awards and scholarships which you received as well? Thanks.) YJC, A Levels 1991-1992 Ngee Ann Poly ( Mass Communication) 1994-1997 Radio Corporation Singapore ( Radio Producer Presenter) 1997 RMIT, Australia ( Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication) 1998 Mediacorp Radio, 1999 -2010 Sph Radio, 2011-Now Masters of Arts in Translation and Interpretation, NTU 2017
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? I did not really plan for a radio career, but i was given a chance and I worked on it and also fell in love with the job.
5) Any advice for our students of today? Don't be afraid to try new things. Even if these are things that you think you don't like or won't do well. Keep trying, have fun. I always say, " you are too young to resist new things".
Dr Kelvin Tan
Head, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning. National Institute of Education, NTU, Graduated in 1983
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? I remember my time in AI as experiencing the freedom of being supported and guided by good teachers and friends, and yet not be burdened by undue expectations or unrealistic goals. That gave me the confidence, and support, to find my life directions and priorities. Teachers and friends in AI were sincere and authentic, and it was easy to make and keep friends. In fact, I’m still in touch with a few classmates, and we play soccer occasionally. We run less, at a slower pace, but we still chat as much whilst we’re playing! AI provided the environment for lifelong friendships.
2) Describe AI in one word A few come to mind:
(a) Freedom – You chose your pace, your goals, your level of ambition. And the teachers would match that with corresponding support, and ambition! Not that they would permit any of us to be mediocre or slack, but they gave us lots of room to grow and mature.
(b) Sincerity – There was such a refreshing lack of airs and pretensions. People were comfortable being who they were, and who/how others were. There was an authenticity from the teachers, which encouraged us to be genuinely supportive of our peers.
(c) Selflessness – many teachers were extremely hardworking and giving. Whilst we strived and worked hard, were never became overly competitive nor selfish. There was always celebration for the achievement(s) and successes of our classmates. Even as I meet my AI classmates today, there is not a single hint of envy amongst us despite the differences in our vocation and material wealth - we’re just glad to be together again.
3) What did you do after AI? I went on to Catholic Junior College, and then read Law at the National University of Singapore. My first jobs were in Law – as a legal officer and then as a law lecturer. Then, I switched to teaching at a university, which I’m still doing after more than a decade. Needless to say, the exemplary teachers I encountered at AI inspired me (thanks Mr Kumar!), and I’m just trying to pass on the values and live out the attributes I witnessed for myself in AI.
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? See above.
5) Any advice for our students of today? (a) Build lasting friendships – you’ll want friends to still play with in your fifties! (b) Learn from the best teachers – they exemplify the kind of life, vocation, and calling we all aspire to. (c) Freedom is good only if there is also Friendship + Family – to support you through thick and thin in life, and desire the best for you. If you look hard enough, you can find it in your school!
Dr Raveendran Rakesh
Doctor, Graduate of 1999
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? My participation in our school’s theatre production, “The King and I”. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play the role of Prince Chulalongkorn in the musical in 1998 when I was in Sec 3. The time I spent with the cast & crew, the relationships I built and the experiences that I had form some of my fondest memories of life in AI.
In addition, I had the privilege of representing AI in the first Julia Gabriel Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championships in 1999 together with my talented teammates. I also met my wife Meera in AI, where we both worked together as emcees for the school’s Speech & Prize Giving Day in 1999. These too are other fond memories of mine of life in AI.
2) Describe AI in one word. “Defining” – I say this because I gained experiences in AI that defined my future path. My tertiary education, my career and my personal life were all positively influenced by my life in AI. Dedicated teachers, endearing friendships and enriching learning experiences at AI helped me prepare for future challenges. I am who I am today largely because of this defining phase of my life at AI.
3) What did you do after AI? After completing my GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, I went to Anderson Junior College to pursue my pre-university education. Again, thanks to great teachers and a conducive learning environment at AJC, I managed to perform well in my GCE ‘A’ Level examinations. I also had the opportunity to excel in Drama in AJC, through my CCA, the English LDDS. After National Service, I pursued Medicine in the National University of Singapore (NUS) and graduated with M.B,B.S. During my years in medical school, I continued to pursue my interest in drama by participating in stage plays and working as an actor/host in various television shows on Vasantham Channel between 2003 and 2007.
Upon graduation, I served my bond as a medical officer with the Ministry Of Health by working in various hospitals and departments, learning important skills and gaining valuable experiences that helped me become a better doctor. I then moved to the private sector and served as the resident anchor doctor of Silver Cross Family Clinic (Yishun) for more than 4 years. During this period, I completed my Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine, became a registered Family Physician and also passed the United States Medical Licensing Examinations.
In October 2017, I started my own clinic, Day and Night Family Clinic, at Sembawang. My goal is to provide holistic care to patients and improve the quality of Family Medicine services in Singapore. In addition to being busy with work at my clinic which opens every day of the week, I spend valuable time with my wife, Meera and my lovely daughter, Diya, who turns 5 this year. I also occasionally engage in photography as a hobby during my free time.
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? I come from a family of engineers. Fortunately, I was never pressured by my parents to become one. However, they did value the importance of higher education, always encouraging and motivating me to do better. Although I had initially wanted to learn film-making in America, my financial situation could not support this interest. As such, I decided to pursue an education in a field that would allow me to engage with people and also be able to help them through creative and analytical thinking. True to these aspirations, I pursued Medicine and now having been a doctor for a decade, I have had no regrets. Even though my medical school years were the most trying period of my life, I persevered. I was inspired to pursue Family Medicine, thanks to the positive experiences I had during my related clinical postings during these years.
Some quotes that have inspired me: “It is not the destination that matters, but the journey instead” - Anonymous “Humility is the greatest wisdom” - My university tutor, Prof. Kuldip Singh “Stay hungry, stay foolish” - Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.
5) Any advice for our students of today? a) Love and respect your parents as they will always mean the best for you. b) Respect and value your teachers as their greatest joy is seeing you grow. c) Don’t engage in activities like smoking, drinking and abusing drugs, as these do nothing but harm you. d) Work and play equally hard so that life can not only be successful, but also fulfilling.
Dr Tony Halim
Lecturer, Graduate of 1993
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? The annual Sports Day, especially in my graduating year, 1993. Our class came together as a team and displayed team camaraderie by cheering for classmates who were participants in the events.
2) Describe AI in one word. “Caring” – Teachers in AI are very caring and help students to overcome struggles and challenges faced. My favourite teachers were Ms Shanti and Ms Wong (Geography teacher).
3) What did you do after AI? I joined Anderson Junior College after AI
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? I liked Science and Mathematics in secondary school, and had a flair for creating things, hence I decided to become an engineer. That way, I could create things that are innovative! After several years as an engineer, I wanted to be more involved in shaping and moulding the future of our nation, and share my passion in creation through engineering. Hence, I turned from Engineer to Educator, and joined Temasek Polytechnic as a lecturer.
5) Any advice for our students of today? Always have a hunger for knowledge!
Air Warefare Officer (Command, Control and Communication) Singapore Air Force, Graduate of 2007
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? Being a part of the AI Soccer team (Secondary 1-4) and Cross-Country team (Secondary 2 and 4)!
2) Describe AI in one word “Forever”! The memories and friendship forged will always stay close to my heart. There are so many memories which are always close to my heart such as patient and caring teachers who spent extra hours to help me with my learning (e.g., Chemistry F9 in the school Prelim exams, but a C5 at the O-level exams), and of course friends whom I still keep in touch with!
3) What did you do after AI? After I graduated, I went on to Temasek Polytechnic to do a Diploma in Electronics, where I also received the CapitaLand Award for All-Round Excellence in 2011. Upon graduation from TP, I enlisted for BMT and joined the Air Force, where I got the SAF Academic Scholarship (Military) in 2012, and was sponsored to train at the renowned Military Academy in the Australian Defence Force Academy. I then did a Bachelor Degree in Aeronautical Engineering (University of New South Wales (Canberra) @ Australian Defence Force Academy), and am currently an Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communication) with the Air Force.
In my “co-curricular activity” of football, I have: - Represented Home United U15 Team (Y2006; 15 years old - Sec 3) - Represented Singapore U16 Team (Y2007; 16 years old - Sec 4) - Represented Singapore U17 and U21 Team (Y2008; 17 Years old) - Represented Singapore U18 Team (Y2009; 18 Years old) - Represented Singapore U23 aka Singapore Young Lions (Y2009 - 2011) - Represented Singapore U23 in 2010 Eximbank Cup held in Vietnam (Sept 2010) Scored the only goal for Singapore in the tournament against Asian Powerhouse Iran (https://www.redsports.sg/2010/09/28/singapore-iran- eximbank-cup- football/) - Represented Singapore U23 in 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China (Nov 2010) Scored the only goal for Singapore in the tournament. (https://www.redsports.sg/2010/11/11/asian-games- football-singapore- india/) - Represented Temasek Polytechnic soccer team from Y2008 - Y 2011 - Captained the Temasek Polytechnic Team and emerged as Champion in the The Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic Games (IVP Games) aka S R Nathan Challenge Trophy Soccer Tournament in 2011
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? Sports, in particular Soccer, has always been an important part of my life since I was 10 years old. It has taught me a lot about discipline, perseverance, how to stay focused and the importance of being a team player. In fact, I strongly encourage everyone to have a CCA as I believe that CCAs shape one’s character.
Frankly speaking, I have no idea what I wanted career-wise when I was in secondary school. All I knew was that I enjoyed Soccer a lot so I spent a lot of time and energy training myself.
Eventually I wanted to play in the S-League and I was fortunate enough to be talent scouted and selected to play for the Young Lions at the age of 18.
At the end of Secondary 4, I wanted to pursue something aviation related and hence I chose a course related to aviation in polytechnic.
I managed to join the Air Force and embark on my career and interest. As an Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communication) with the Air Force, I am involved in performing precise air traffic control and safeguarding our airspace through round-the- clock air surveillance.
5) Any advice for our students of today? Life is full of challenges and struggles and what defines you is the way you respond to them.
Event + Response = Outcome
There were many times I faced failures, such as failures in exams, not being selected for important Soccer games/tournament, etc. But it is how you respond to these events that defines you as a person and the outcome. With hard work, you can achieve what you set out to do. Like they say, shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars!
Professional Shooter & Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? The time spent with my classmates in secondary 1 and 2! We were a tight-knit bunch. I reminisce the time spent with my teammates training at the underground shooting range after school hours. Back in my time, there was no air-conditioning, so it was tough training in the hot and humid environment but I still enjoyed every moment I spent there. I guess that’s what camaraderie is all about!
2) Describe AI in one word Nurturing
3) What did you do after AI? I went to Anderson Junior College in 2007 and the National University of Singapore in 2009 to pursue my interest in business studies. At the same time I continued to represent Singapore in international competitions, after winning the Asian Games team silver medal when I was in Secondary four.
Upon graduation, I became a full-time athlete to embark on my Olympic dream journey. Today, I am a two-time Olympian, and have won medals in the Asian, Commonwealth and South-East Asian Games.
Other Awards I have achieved: 1. Singapore Sportswomen of the Year 2011 and 2015 2. NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award 2015 3. NUS Eminent Business Young Alumni Award 2014
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? I find joy in the pursuit of achieving excellence in shooting. Each time I am faced with a difficulty, I have to learn how to overcome it and I like that there are always new challenges in every competition that help me to improve. I was fortunate to be able to pick up this sport in AI and developed the passion for it. When you do the things you love, you will find the motivation and joy in them.
5) Any advice for our students of today? Keep an open mind, be curious about the world and one day you will find where your passion lies. Go towards that direction and work hard because there are no shortcuts in life.
Loh Kang Yong
Research Scholar, A*Star, Graduate of 2009
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? Being the first Performing Arts CCA in AI to be awarded Gold in SYF for the Chinese Orchestra in 2009. It was a collective pride that we have broken records and fostered a sense of cohesion that is very valuable. Despite all the hectic practices up to easily 5-6 times a week when nearing SYF, it was a good run and an awesome memory that we remember even after graduation.
2) Describe AI in one word. Motivation. Not in a literal sense and in fact largely indirect. Being in a neighbourhood school, I knew we were not as resource-rich as compared to that of other top schools. This made me constantly think about how to do things differently. In this aspect, I think motivation fits my experiences at AI and ground my life approaches motivated by thinking about problems and solution in a unique manner in research.
3) What did you do after AI? Contrary to what most people think about my experiences, I am not an all-out straight A’s student. I actually got admitted into National Junior College via Chinese Orchestra (CO) through the Direct School Admission (DSA). In fact, I believe I got 10 points in O-levels in the end and that puts me easily at the bottom end of NJC’s cohort.
While I was keen in CO back then and became the President of NJC’s Chinese Orchestra and Guzheng Ensemble, I knew constantly that research was something I have always been passionate about. Prior to entering NJC, I applied to the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) and got into their prestigious Young Research Program.
When I did start school at NJC, I met back then HOD of Research, Mr. Nick Chan to request to take H3 Research as a subject because I did not meet the “standard” O level science scores needed. Upon confirming my attachment with IBN, he agreed to allow me to take H3 Research and he remained as my Mentor ever since. Via research, I was also part of NJC’s Sapphire Scholar’s Program and began representing NJC at the Singapore International Science Challenge, Singapore Science and Engineering Fair and etc. This was quite incredible to me as I actually DSA into NJC via Chinese Orchestra and yet, I had the opportunity to be part of programs reserved for the top O-level students.
By the end of JC 2, prior to A levels, I applied and was awarded the National Science Scholarship (BS-PhD) under A*STAR and began studying Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I worked with one of the highest cited chemist in the world, Professor Yi Lu on metal ion sensing in cells. Eventually, I graduated with Highest Distinction in Chemistry along with the James Scholar Honors. I am now working collaboratively with my colleagues at A*STAR, NUS and NTU on photoacoustic imaging for biomedical applications. Moving on, I will be doing my PhD back in the US with offers from Stanford University and University of Chicago. It has been a ride and I never thought I could have gone from an average student in AISS to where I am now. I hope AI students will carve out their own unique paths to make an impact on society.
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? This is a particularly hard question and there is no one right answer. I would say that every aspect of my life led me somehow to this career path in science. I came from a fairly regular family. My dad is a Consultant while my mum is an Insurance Agent. While they did not enforce certain ideals as parents, the one message that came out strong was to be happy with what I love. I remembered my mum saying that it would take all of her savings to send me and my twin brother to university. That started me thinking about how I was going to proceed in my education to change that. At NJC, Mr. Nick Chan had arguably been the biggest impact in pushing me down the path of science. I am glad that through the constant ups and downs (mostly downs) in research, I fell in love with uncertainty and the unpredictability of science. Through this uncertainty lies a plethora of new discoveries waiting to be uncovered. In the future, I hope to look back at my life and tell myself that my choice in science has been a good ride and I have solved a few important problems that were worth solving.
5) Any advice for our students of today? Think of and do something that will differentiate you from the rest. Think big about how to have an impact on others.
Nur Hazlinda Bte Nasrom
Research Scholar, A*Star, Graduate of 2009
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? I often got labelled as “teacher's pet”! My POA teacher, the late Mr Vale, trusted me to be the class representative for his subject for 3 good years. Not only that, he loved using my book to go through the homework with the class. My physics teacher did almost the same. He would send my books or files for the annual HOD file check. Although I got teased by my classmates, that was definitely my fondest memory. In fact, most of the teachers who taught me still remember my name!
I'm also thankful for my commitment in Girl Guides that gave me the opportunity to lead as an Assistant Company Leader. I'm grateful for receiving awards such as: SINGA, EAGLES, and the Achievement Day CCA Award for Service. I also got academic bursaries and scholarships during my first four years in AI.
2) Describe AI in one word GREEN!
3) What did you do after AI? I had my first work experience at McDonald's while waiting for my O-level results. Although it was just a short period of time, I enjoyed making ice creams. Since I was working at Northpoint, some of my customers were my teachers and friends.
I took up a nursing diploma in Ngee Ann Polytechnic where I had so much fun in school. After that, I started working in Tan Tock Seng Hospital in a medical ward. Two years ago, I earn my Bachelor's Degree from Curtin Singapore while juggling studies and work. Today, I have worked for almost 7 years and am a Senior Staff Nurse. On a daily basis, I take charge of 7-8 patients during my shift. At the same time, I'm tasked and given the responsibility to guide and oversee junior nurses. I have always wanted to be a teacher but I realised that a nurse plays a teacher’s role too. Every day in nursing is different, it's a learning process.
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? Honestly, nursing is not easy. Besides passion, it takes a lot of patience. Most of my patients are in the ward for a long time (weeks, or even months). Some are frequently admitted patients. As nurses, we need to build rapport with our patients and their families. When trust is gained, they will have confidence that we will be able to nurse their loved ones back to health. When I'm back home, my mother is my confidant. She lends me her listening ears for my daily rant about work. But what makes me inspired to stay in this career is the sense of fulfilment at the end of the day. Nursing is a calling, not just a job.
5) Any advice for our students of today? It's always good to be ambitious and plan ahead, but it's a smarter move to have a backup plan in case your original plan fails. We must be open to learning new things.
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? The dedication from my teachers and the mutual supportiveness of the students enable me to uphold the values of my alma mater - Perseverance, Steadfastness, Excellence, Excellence, Care, Courage Gratitude - in this ever-changing society.
2. 用一个词来描述母校 - 作育英才！
2) Describe AI in one word Talent ! It is a home where talent grows!
3) What did you do after AI? I was a “Longkang fish” (Longkang: dialect term for drain) from a farmer's family in Sembawang. I grew up helping my parents grow vegetables on the farm, breeding pigs, chickens, ducks, crabs, shrimps and ornamental fish. Not only did I learn scientific knowledge from my teachers, AI also taught me to be courageous. Since I graduated, armed with these gifts from AI, I inherited my father’s farm and grew the business. There were many challenges along the way. I brought my farm through multiple relocations and steered it through many ups and downs. AI values guided me through my journey. Finally, this “Longkang fish” has found a home, which is NIPPON KOI FARM.
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? Encouraging me to continue on this path is actually a very loyal and resilient dog which has followed my fishing grounds for many years and is my most loyal friend! It bravely helped me to repel thieves who tried to steal the fishes repeatedly! During the holidays, when my brother and I had to go home for a reunion dinner, it was steadfastly guarding my fishing grounds. At that time, when the fishing grounds were forced to move to an unbuilt fishing ground in Tampines, all my carp species were removed from the Lim Chu Kang fishing grounds and all the neighbours were removed. In the event of a power outage, we continued to hold important Koi species with my brother and three dogs! When Tampines fishing grounds were built, I wanted to bring my dog along, but I was rejected by the owner! I am reluctant to send them to the SPCA. I thought the developers have come to dismantle the house, and the dogs are sure to go there with them to eat, but I still do not trust, go back and send food to them every day, Care for them. When I went back to see them for the last time, the other dogs had left, only the courage, RESILIENCE, Hold empty fish farm without a house or fish pond. What I did not realize was that the dog was blind because she had no fresh water and was drinking seawater, but it was still able to tell my footsteps and walked slowly to my side. See it like this, I cried hugging it very sadly. At that time I had a strong feeling, I thought: I am a person cannot even save a dog, but it is my loyalty to my fishing farm, never betray! I am very sad, so I am determined to hold a gratitude heart _ in the future I want to have their own fishing grounds, do not live a hedgerow life!
5) Any advice for our students of today? You craft your own path towards your destiny! You are your biggest enemy. School and teachers can only teach and guide you but you can only continue to improve when you challenge yourself every single day. The society is very realistic and harsh. Remember, it is “Survival of the Fittest”. As the saying goes, “An able man is always busy”, one will become obsolete if we do not work hard. Students need to be confident and dare to dream big. One can only achieve success by putting in unremitting efforts and being resilient!
General Aviation Pilot, Graduate of 2001
1) Your fondest memory of life in AI? The very first speech I did as Head Prefect for the (then called) Speech Day 2001, where I was up on the school hall podium addressing the whole school and had to pronounce the very first Chinese phrase in my life (which was part of my speech), 失败是成功之母 to a resounding applause from the audience. It was very overwhelming and humbling to receive such support despite my rusty hanyu pinyin!
2) Describe AI in one word Nostalgic!
3) What did you do after AI? After I graduated from AI, I pursued my dream and career interest, which was to become a pilot. I had dreams of becoming an RSAF fighter pilot, however that did not materialize, and so I settled to become a general aviation pilot instead.
I actually took a more unconventional approach to education. I was in Anderson Junior College in Yio Chu Kang. After graduating from Junior College, I found that there was no route to realise my passion and dream for aviation. The polytechnics did not have any aviation courses then (the very first aerospace course only opened in 2003, after I had already enrolled into AJC). Therefore, after I graduated from AJC, I served my National Service first. During my time in NS, I had a long thought about my education path and did a lot of research. Finally, I made up my mind to enrol back into Polytechnic, as I did not want to go into University studying in a course that I did not really like. Therefore, I went back to Singapore Polytechnic after National Service and got into the Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE) course. It was the best decision of my life! I am one of the few people who took the road less travelled by, and in doing that, I earned both an A-level certificate as well as a polytechnic Diploma!
4) What inspired you to go down this career path? I guess my father largely influenced me to go down this career path. Back during my formative years as a child, he used to bring me to air shows and it was during this time that my interest in aviation was piqued and grew. My father also bought me my very first PC game; it was a fighter jet simulation and he even went all the way to buy me a joystick to fly it! He was supportive of my interest. What became a mere hobby soon evolved to become a dream and then a lifelong ambition. It has taken me this far now and I am glad I pursued it!
5) Any advice for our students of today? Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams, no matter how unconventional the path you take. Your passion will bring you far; let it guide you and do not stop until you get whatever you desire. I have always believed in the power of passion; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Confucius once said. Live by these words of wisdom, and you will always be happy.
6) Achievements in AI: Outstanding All Rounders Students (OARS) Award, Certificate of Merit (1st in English), Certificate of Merit (1st in Higher Malay Language), Certificate of Merit (Prefectorial Board), Prefect Service Award Plaque