Businessman with 4 grandchildren gets master's degree from NUS, his second after MBA

Mr Victor Lim, 62, a grandfather of four, will receive a Master of Science (Real Estate) on July 11, which will be his second master’s degree. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Mr Victor Lim finds it difficult to study at home, but for different reasons from most students.

"My grandson will always say 'yeye, play with me', or try to see what's on my laptop screen," the 62-year-old businessman explained.

On Thursday afternoon (July 11), Mr Lim received a Master of Science (Real Estate) degree at the National University of Singapore's second commencement ceremony.

At the main ceremony in the morning, 290 graduates from the NUS School of Design and Environment received their degrees.

President Halimah Yacob, who is also NUS Chancellor, and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung were in attendance.

Mr Chua Thian Poh, founder and chief executive of Ho Bee Group, was conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters in recognition of his contributions to the community.

He has donated more than $20 million to local higher education causes since 2007 in his private capacity and as part of Ho Bee Land's corporate social responsibility programme.

In a speech at the main ceremony on Thursday, Mr Chua advised graduates to "embrace hardship, and persevere".

"Life will never be plain sailing. Do not be disheartened by any setbacks. Instead, learn from your mistakes and with determination and guts, you will find the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

A total of 11,127 NUS graduates will be conferred degrees - 6,663 will receive bachelor's degrees and 4,464 will receive graduate degrees - at 24 commencement ceremonies held over eight days at the University Cultural Centre.

Mr Lim is the founder and chief executive of Asian Micro Holdings, a provider of compressed natural gas supply and related services.

He also has an expansive real estate portfolio comprising residential, industrial, office and land assets.

He saw the real estate master's programme as a way to network with younger people and keep up with new trends, and to equip himself to make better decisions for his real estate and property investments.

This is his second master's degree. The first is from the Master of Business Administration programme at the Singapore Management University in 2014.

Before that, his highest academic qualification was a diploma in production engineering from Singapore Polytechnic.

He could not further his education then as his family was struggling financially - his parents were both unemployed and had eight children, including Mr Lim, to feed.

Mr Lim, who has four grandchildren, has shown that one is never too old to learn.

"I'm always curious," he said. "Technology is always changing, and the list of new things you can learn is never-ending."

Like Mr Lim, Mr Firdaus Hair has come a long way since he was a Normal (Academic) student in Hillgrove Secondary School.

Mr Firdaus Hair, who is graduating with first-class honours, will receive his Bachelor of Social Sciences (Political Science) degree on July 13, 2019. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The 25-year-old, who is graduating with Honours (Highest Distinction), will receive his Bachelor of Social Sciences (Political Science) degree on Saturday.

It was at Hillgrove Secondary that he discovered a flair for humanities and after a recommendation from his English teacher, he decided to study political science.

After scoring 12 points in his O levels, he went to Pioneer Junior College, where he got six As and a B in his A levels.

Mr Firdaus, who is a recipient of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Teaching Award and the President's Book Award, will be pursuing a master's degree in Asian Studies at the Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

He will then go on to teach history and social studies at the secondary school level.

Mr Firdaus, who still remembers the "negative and crippling" stigma of being in the N(A) stream, applauded the latest changes to do away with the Normal (Technical), N(A) and Express streams.

He added: "I want to become that teacher who frequently tells students to ignore societal stereotypes."

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