A cohort of 66 students from the third batch of SIM Open University Centre’s Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature (BACL) programme awarded by Beijing Normal University (BNU) will graduate on 18 March at the SIM Headquarters. Among the graduates are an ex-flight attendant, a Singapore Navy officer, and a 65 year-old grandfather of seven.
BACL helped Ms Amy Teo, a retrenched flight attendant, to secure job in five-star hotel
Ms Amy Teo, 38, had always wanted to pursue higher education in the Chinese language after leaving school. Educated in Chinese and armed with a strong interest in the language, Amy enrolled in SIM’s BACL programme conducted by BNU. In her first year of studies, Amy was retrenched from her job as a flight attendant when her company closed its operations here.
Despite the financial and mental strain from the sudden retrenchment, Amy emerged stronger with help from her caring course-mates, tutors and parents. She subsequently found a job as an Assistant Guest Services Manager at the Marina Mandarin Hotel. "I feel that the BACL programme helped me secure the job, and gave me an edge over others. The knowledge gained from the programme has been beneficial to my work especially when I meet Chinese visitors and business associates at work. I apply my skills to good use by bridging the communication gap between my non-Chinese employer and the Chinese delegates."
Mr Chong Han Sy, open learning approach at SIM-OUC helped preparation for second career
Mr Chong Han Sy, 41, has been a Naval Officer with the Republic of Singapore Navy since 1984. Realising the need for a second career after his retirement from his current job when he turns 45, he decided to pursue the BACL programme five years ago. Han Sy believes that SIM-OUC’s open learning approach was one of the important factors that helped him successfully juggle studies with irregular working hours and family responsibilities. His firm foundation and strong interest in the language also contributed to his successful completion of the programme. Even though there was no direct linkage between his studies and work, he found the knowledge beneficial. "The study of Chinese literature involved reading and analysing the works of the great Chinese writers, which gave me a better understanding of the nature of the human mind and behaviour. This was particularly useful to my work as a commander of a training establishment. The soft skills gained enabled me to manage people more effectively." Mr Chong also felt that he was able to be a good role model to his sons, 8 and 12, by studying together with them. The learning journey will not end with this degree. Han Sy is currently taking two translation courses (from English to Chinese and vice versa) and is keen to pursue counselling courses.
At 65, Mr Lee Leong Seng, fulfils dream of becoming a university graduate
Mr Lee Leong Seng, 65, is the oldest student to graduate from this year’s BACL programme. The retiree and grandfather of seven finally managed to fulfil a long time dream of becoming a university graduate. When he was younger, he had enrolled in a university, but had to give up because of financial hardship. After decades fulfilling family and work obligations, Mr Lee was finally able to pursue his dream. He enrolled in the BACL programme at SIM-OUC because of his passion for Chinese language and literature. He is grateful that SIM-OUC provides older students like him a chance to pursue their academic dreams. Despite being the oldest student, his classmates know him as an easy-going and amiable person, and he has enjoyed interacting with them.
Mr Lee's 25 years' experience as an international export manager in a factory helped him better understand the subjects taught. "This programme helped me gain a wider perspective and to become more decisive. I learnt to form my own views and not follow others blindly." He plans to further discover the beauty of the Chinese language through self-study at home.
Mr Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State for Education, will be the Guest of Honour at the graduation ceremony. Dr Aline Wong, Consultant, SIM-OUC, will be the ceremony's Presiding Officer.