Updated: 07/07/2014 21:10

National University of Singapore Commencement 2014 begins



National University of Singapore Commencement 2014 begins

The National University of Singapore Commencement 2014 will be held from today till the 15th of July. 

Over this period, there will be 24 ceremonies involving more than 10,000 students. 

Reporter Lianne Chia spoke with two high achievers of this year's graduating class.

22 year-old Samuel Chong lost his left arm to bone cancer when he was just seven. 

" I remember walking to the doctor's office, it was probably a day or two after Christmas Day. The doctor took my mother aside, and I could tell from his body language that it wasn't good news, and I remember, when I heard the news, I really really cried. I have to say it was the worst that I've cried, even till now."

But even with just one arm, Samuel has achieved more than most. 

He's learnt to play the trumpet, and managed to pick up skiing in one hour while on a student exchange programme. 

" I guess since I was there, and it's winter, why not participate in winter sports? It was more a question of why not, rather than why."

Besides sports, he also knows how to study smart. 

Apart from getting stellar grades in his O and A-levels, he's also graduating with an honours degree in Engineering from NUS in just three years, instead of four. 

His fellow graduand Jonathan Ng's no less capable. 

When he was 17, he founded Children of Cambodia, a volunteer group that champions better healthcare for Cambodian children. 

He was motivated to do so after hearing a friend talk about the plight of Cambodian children. 

Jonathan says he realised that even limited resources could make a big impact in Cambodia - more so than in Singapore. 

" Singapore does have a need, but the dollar doesn't go as far. To us, a child born in Singapore and a child born in Cambodia is still a child, and I don't really differentiate between the two."

Since then, they've upgraded operating theatres and helped train doctors at the Angkor Hospital for Children. 

They've even established a dedicated neonatal ward at the hospital, the first of its kind in Cambodia. 

"Seeing the impact that we could make as youths, and it was a really big impact in my eyes. and I felt that it was really worth my time, basically, and it's hard to let go of something like that. You just want to do more and get better at it. That's what's been driving me all these years."

He achieved all that, while juggling his medical studies at NUS. 

Jonathan received the NUS Student Achievement Award this year for his community work.

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