Singapore, May 30, 2018 — Another SGD200,000 in scholarship is available for aspiring lawyers at the School of Law in the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). The study award is donated by the estate of the late Singapore Supreme Court Judge Choor Singh.
The Choor Singh Study Award is intended to benefit deserving candidates in the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Juris Doctor (JD) Programmes. An award amounting to SGD10,000 may be made each year.
SUSS Provost Professor Tsui Kai Chong, who received the cheque on behalf of SUSS, said: “SUSS is honoured to receive the donation from Judge Singh’s family. The scholarship will benefit deserving law students and will have a positive ripple effect on society at large when these students graduate and serve as legal professionals.”
“We the family of the late Justice Choor Singh have decided to set up the Justice Choor Singh Study Award in his memory. My late father was a great believer in education. He himself had to work and study, while supporting a young family. He was only able to pursue his law studies in his 30s. It is therefore appropriate that the Study Award is created in his memory to encourage mature students to pursue law. We believe that he would have been very pleased to know that we are supporting both the young and working adults, who need financial help to pursue their studies, especially in law,” said Judge Singh’s son, Dr Daljeet Singh Sidhu.
The Late Justice Choor Singh, Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore (1963 –1980)*
The late Justice Choor Singh was one of the most prominent Supreme Court judges in Singapore, a philanthropist and writer of books about Sikhism.
He arrived in Singapore in 1917 at the age of six. The son of a poor, security guard, he went to Raffles Institution for his secondary school studies after completing his primary school education at Pearl’s Hill Primary School. After he completed his ‘O’ levels, he began work as a solicitor’s clerk in the law firm of Mallal & Namazie. Later he joined the Official Assignee’soffice as a court clerk.
It was during the Japanese occupation of Singapore that he became interested in the law and began to study law despite difficult personal circumstances. He was able to pass the Overseas Bar Final Examination in April 1949. Soon after he was appointed a Magistrate in Colonial Malaya.
From then on, Justice Choor Singh rose through the Legal Service ranks becoming the Senior District Judge (now known as the Presiding Judge of the State Courts). In 1963 he was appointed a Supreme Court Judge. He remained a judge of the Supreme Court until his retirement in 1980.
Apart from rising to the pinnacle of the legal profession, Justice Choor Singh will be remembered as someone who actively participated in and contributed to the community. He was an influential member of the Sikh community with whom the government of the day often consulted on important issues touching the Sikh community, one of which was the establishment of the Sikh Advisory Board.
He was more than just a law professional. He was also a prolific author, writing books and monographs on history and religion.
Despite his many achievements, both as a pioneer Sikh in Singapore and one of the pioneers in the Judiciary of modern Singapore, Justice Choor Singh was clearly and firmly rooted in his belief on what his role in life should be – that of duty and service to his community.
(Choor Singh, ‘The Sikh community’s contribution to the development of Singapore’, p. 58)
Education was close to his heart. He contributed to Sikh educational charities and other educational causes. Justice Singh was also a life member of the Singapore Indian Education Trust, which provides financial assistance to needy and deserving Singaporean Indian students.
In Judge Singh’s 17-year career on the bench, over 100 of his judgments were reported in the law reports. Particularly noted for his criminal judgments, he was known as "the Hanging Judge " for handing down a large number of capital sentences.
*Adapted from Singh Sidhu, Rishpal, ‘Singapore’s Early Sikh Pioneers’ (Central Gurdawara Board Singapore, 2017, Chapter 8 at pp 111 - 113) and Chan Sek Keong (1 April 2009), Retired Justice Choor Singh [letter from the Chief Justice of Singapore to retired Justice Choor Singh's family], Supreme Court of Singapore, archived from the original on 3 April 2009, retrieved 4 April 2009, para. 6.
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About Singapore University of Social Sciences
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is one of Singapore's six autonomous universities and its mission is to provide lifelong education that equips learners to serve society. Home to more than 15,000 students, SUSS provides an applied education that targets both fresh school leavers and adult learners, with a focus on the social sciences. It adopts a flexible and practice-focused learning approach and offers more than 70 degree programmes in various disciplines. Eligible students taking SUSS's undergraduate programmes enjoy government subsidies and access to government bursaries, tuition fee loans and study loans. For more information on Singapore University of Social Sciences, please visit www.suss.edu.sg.