By Yong Tsuey Ling

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We Have Come A Long Way

Just how far can ITE graduates go? Quite a long way, going by those honoured at the Rotary-ITE Alumni Achiever Awards Presentation Ceremony held at the ITE Headquarters on 21 February 2003.

Some were multi-millionaire entrepreneurs. Others, erudite academics. Even the rare few who have taken less trodden paths - a TV star and a water polo coach - each valued his ITE foundation as paving the way for success. Among them, five stood out. They were: Sandy Oh, Abdul Wahab b Abdul Rahman, Vincent Ng, Lau Kum Weng and William Sim.

Presenting the Awards, the Mayor for Central Singapore District and Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC, Mr Heng Chee How, applauded the recipients’ achievements as being inspirational to fresh ITE graduates. In his address, Mr Heng also said: “The achievements of the award nominees clearly demonstrate the success of an ITE education. It is an education that produces graduates, who contribute to society and serve the community.”

We Salute the Recipients of the Rotary-ITE Alumni Achiever Awards 2003...

Enterprising Graduate Awardee - Sandy Oh
For turning his company around, Mr Sandy Oh is an entrepreneur to boot. Univac Precision Pte Ltd, which he bought over for a mere $2,000, is today a $132-million business enterprise. It manufactures engineering plastic injection moulds for the local and global markets.

“I got where I am today, thanks to the ITE education. It has taught me to respect genuine effort and helped build my sense of risk-taking,” said Mr Oh. He graduated in 1973 with the National Technical Certificate Grade 2 (now Nitec) in Precision Engineering.

Professional Achievement Awardee - Abdul Wahab b Abdul Rahman
When it comes to learning, Associate Professor Abdul Wahab b Abdul Rahman makes it a professional lifelong pursuit. After graduating from ITE in 1972 with an Industrial Technician Certificate (now Higher Nitec), he went on to take up his Diploma, followed by his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

He is presently teaching Computer Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University, but the gungho academic is going after his PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Signal Processing. Juggling both may take acrobatic efforts, but Prof Abdul Wahab hopes his experience could show that an ITE graduate would succeed if he or she were willing to work hard.

Achievement in Arts Awardee - Vincent Ng
Combining wushu and acting, MediaCorp artiste Vincent Ng has brought the Chinese martial arts to TV audience nationwide. His inclination for both was recognised through the Award, an accolade the rising star said he owed to his ITE teachers.

“They encouraged me to pursue my love for wushu. Opportunities were also created for me to train for competitions,” said Vincent. He represented Singapore nationally at the SEA Games, bringing home numerous gold medals between 1989 and 1997. Vincent graduated from ITE in 1993 with a National Technical Certificate Grade 2 (now Nitec) in Precision Engineering.

Achievement in Sports Awardee - Lau Kum Weng
The usually impassive Mr Lau Kum Weng would beam at the mention of water polo, his favourite sports. It is a passion he has nurtured while at ITE, where sporting pursuits are encouraged, and chances created for greater exposure.

Representing the Singapore Water Polo Team in the SEA Games from 1981 to 1985, he notched up golds galore. However, he later turned towards coaching. Out of the many teams he trained, Mr Lau has produced national players from Hwa Chong Junior College, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

He graduated with a National Technical Certificate Grade 3 [now Nitec (Intermediate) Certificate] in Electronics.

Achievement in Community Service Awardee - William Sim
Starting out young, Mr William Sim got involved in community service when he used to follow his uncle to grassroots functions, entertaining guests with magic shows. Today, he may have retired his wand, but he still volunteers at the residents’ and grassroots’ committees in neighbourhood constituencies, as well as Town Council community committees.

Mr Sim graduated in 1972 with a trade certificate [now equivalent to Nitec (Intermediate) Certificate] in Furniture Making. Keeping in touch with ITE through the Alumni, he observed that, “ITE has come a long way. I feel proud to be associated with the institution and getting the Award adds to it.”

For distinguishing themselves significantly in the fields of business enterprise, professional pursuit, the arts, sports or community service, these ITE graduates are worthy of the Awards. First presented in 2000, the Awards celebrate the collaboration between the ITE Alumni Association and the Rotary Club of Bugis Junction, Singapore.

Past Winners of Rotary-ITE Alumni Achiever Awards
Famous faces and illustrious individuals. Like this year's recipients, the ITE graduates honoured with the inaugural Rotary-ITE Alumni Achiever Awards presented in 2000 have done ITE proud. They were: soccer icon Fandi Ahmad, fashion designer Esther Tay, young entrepreneur Hong Hee Meng, community service veteran Sarjit Singh and Silicon Valley CEO Sam HO.