Singapore Polytechnic graduates overcome cancer and parental objection
When Mr Jeremy Lee was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukaemia when he was 11, he was stunned and struggled with constantly being in and out of hospital for treatments. These included chemotherapy, a surgery to plant a port-a-cath to facilitate the insertion of intravenous fluids through his bigger veins, and other painful injections.
One of the side effects of his medication was him developing temporary diabetes.
Now 21 and fully recovered, Mr Lee graduated from Singapore Polytechnic (SP), last month, with a 3.9 grade point average, having used his battle with leukaemia to excel in his studies.
Mr Lee said: "I never thought something like that (leukaemia) could happen to me."
He got to know other cancer patients during his regular visits to hospitals and they helped him overcome life's disappointments.
This included not meeting the requirements to enter SP the first time through the polytechnic foundation programme to do engineering.
Mr Lee went to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) instead of doing Secondary 5. He then entered SP through the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme and secured a place in SP's mechatronics and robotics course after graduating from ITE.
He said: "I felt like I was given a second chance in life. If not for what I went through, I would not have even got a place in the Normal (Academic) stream in secondary school."
LEE KUAN YEW AWARD
Another SP student who overcame his challenges is Mr Yang Anlin, 28, who graduated with a diploma in infocomm security management last month and won the Lee Kuan Yew Award.
He had dropped out of Hwa Chong Institution after four months as he was not enjoying the subjects there.
And his mother objected to him trying for SP.
He said: "It was a tough time for me. I was unhappy and it was not an easy decision as my mum was against it. So it discouraged me even more."
After enlisting in the army, he got interested in the infocomm and cyberspace industry.
Mr Yang is now working as an IT security consultant with hopes of playing a big role in Singapore's cyber defence.
He said: "I do not regret dropping out. My relationship with my mum is better now as she is more understanding, and I know she is proud of me."