THERE are two Methodists who are among this year’s batch of four President’s Scholars.
Teo Shiyi, 19, is a member of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church, while Kevin Siew, also 19,
worships at Barker Road Methodist Church. In separate interviews, they tell Methodist Message how their Christian faith has been a blessing to them.
PAYA LEBAR Chinese Methodist Church has been the home church for two President’s Scholars in the past four years. Nothing special except that both the scholars come from the same family – the family of Mr and Mrs Teo Chwee Beng.
Teo Shiyi is one of the four President’s Scholars this year. Elder brother Tse Hsiang was awarded the prestigious award in 1998. As a Chinese proverb goes, good things come in pairs!
At 19 years of age, Shiyi comes across as a disarmingly mature and stable teenager. Not only was he awarded the President’s Scholarship, he has also been concurrently awarded the prestigious Public Service Commission scholarship and is at Duke University pursuing a biomedical engineering degree.
He graduated from Raffles Junior College and scored distinctions in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, General Paper as well as two “S” papers, and an A2 in Chinese. He was awarded the Gold Medal prize, in Singapore, for biology and chemistry in 2000.
Last year, he achieved international recognition when he was awarded the International Gold Medal prize for outstanding achievements in his studies in biology.
Shiyi was active as an instructor in the Electronics Club at RJC and also served as the President of the Chess Club. His love for the outdoors is evidenced by his passion for sports. His musical abilities compliment his sporting prowess and complete the picture of an all-rounded, multi-talented individual.
His father, Mr Teo Chwee Beng, is a pilot with Singapore Airlines and his mother, Po Chu, is a director with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and a member of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church.
Shiyi recalls those times when as a young boy, his mother would “drag” him to the Sunday School at Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church. It was not until the completion of his Secondary 3 mid-year examination that he started to read the Bible for himself and began to understand afresh God’s awesome power and presence.
Henceforth, he said, he experienced an inner motivation, which spurred him to a deeper worship of God.
Although he had been serving in the Sunday School before, it was this turning point that added a deeper sense of conviction and passion as he continued to serve God.
“God has bestowed on every one of us different gifts and we are to employ them for the extension of His Kingdom,” he said.
Shu Yi believes that nothing comes without effort and that “God helps those who helps themselves”.
Contingent upon those in the Civil Service, Shiyi’s servant attitude is evident. In the course of the interview, he acknowledged that he is a Christian and will hence be so directed and instructed by the Word of the Lord.
Conscious of not coercing his conviction upon others, he believes that as a future civil servant, his ministry is to people of various racial and religious backgrounds, and foundational in his approach is logic and love. His hope, on completion of his studies, is to serve the people of Singapore and society.
This story was translated by Andrew Peh from an article in the CAC News.
Andrew Peh was a pastor at Sengkang Methodist Church. He is now in the United States on study leave.
‘I will never have made it without God’
KEVIN SIEW says that he is not a “strong Christian”, but quickly adds that he could never have been successful in his studies without God. Although he says that he has “always been self-driven” since young, there were times when he could not cope, and then he would “go to God”.
He was baptised at Trinity Methodist Church and is now worshipping at Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC). He used to be very involved with the youth group at BRMC, helping to organise camps and lead worship for Sunday School.
Kevin has excelled in many areas. At Raffles Junior College, he was an outstanding “triple-science” student, the Vice-President of the Student Council, and a representative of his school in track and field. He had also been the Vice-Head Prefect at Raffles Institution.
Yet, when the time came for him to receive the highest honour for his labour, it was beyond his expectations. He said that being selected a President’s Scholar was a “great honour” which he did not expect, and he was mindful of the prestige and responsibility that came along with the award.
He is heading for Stanford University to study bioengineering and economics. When he returns, he will be working for the Singapore Armed Forces, and hopes to fulfil his responsibility towards the nation by impressing upon young Singaporeans a sense of belonging to their country. He also hopes to be more involved with the church.
In all of his successes, he attests to the power of prayer. Whenever he and his sister, Joanne, have examinations to take, their grandmother, who is a Buddhist, will make it a point to visit Novena Church to pray for them. “God always answers her prayers,” he said.
He is grateful to his father, Mr Siew Weng Hin, an engineer with Singapore Airlines, his mother, Caroline Yeoh, and his sister, Joanne, for their “great support” they have given him all these years, and to three of his teachers, Mrs Olivia Ang, Ms Eva Hor and Ms Low Hwee San, who have made the greatest impact on him.
Goh Li-Ern is a member of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church.