He wanted to help his grandmother

Lee Kuan Yew Award winner Shahreyll Khairoullah with his parents, Mr Khairoullah Shamsurie and Madam Aishah Mohamed, after his graduation ceremony at Nanyang Polytechnic yesterday.
Lee Kuan Yew Award winner Shahreyll Khairoullah with his parents, Mr Khairoullah Shamsurie and Madam Aishah Mohamed, after his graduation ceremony at Nanyang Polytechnic yesterday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Straits Times meets three graduates from local polytechnics - Temasek, Nanyang and Ngee Ann - whose passions have been shaped by their circumstances and the influences of their loved ones.

Do you want to help your grandmother? Mr Shahreyll Khairoullah's dream of becoming a doctor was sparked by this question posed by his mother when he was just eight years old.

The Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) graduate and Lee Kuan Yew Award winner has been passionate about helping patients since he saw from a young age how his diabetic grandmother struggled to take care of her health. But getting into the medical field was not as easy as he thought it would be.

After primary school, he chose to study in a madrasah, or Islamic school, in Indonesia.

But when he returned to Singapore after six years, he found himself unqualified for medical school.

"I was disheartened. I just felt like maybe I'm not cut out for this job. Maybe I should think of something else," said Mr Shahreyll, 24, whose father works as a freelance marine surveyor and mother is a housewife. He is one of five children.

After completing his national service, he decided to apply to NYP after reading about how more polytechnic students were studying medicine. He also realised that being a doctor was not the only way to help those in need.

He asked himself: "If I am creating medicine, aren't I also helping patients? If I want to help people, is being a doctor the only way?"

 
 
 

He then enrolled in the Diploma in Biologics and Process Technology, where he learnt the science and technologies used to manufacture medicine.

Now, he works as a manufacturing process technician at biotechnology firm Amgen, where he was offered a full-time job after he excelled during his internship.

He was one of three graduates of the technology courses at NYP who received the Lee Kuan Yew Award, which is given to outstanding students.

While he no longer dreams of becoming a doctor, he is focused on his new mission to help patients by producing medicine, and ensuring that patients get them.

"It's okay for your dreams to change. What is important is, when you know that your dreams have changed, acknowledge it and work hard towards it," he said.

Kristelynn Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'He wanted to help his grandmother'. Print Edition | Subscribe