Meritocracy means you get a chance to succeed with hard work…
If you put in enough effort and hard work, then you would have a greater chance of success. This is the idea behind meritocracy which Singapore ascribes to – Hard work gives you success no matter where your starting point is.
If you haven’t met Ms Cheng Shi Hui, then you probably haven’t known what hard work and meritocracy is.
The 19 year old Lee Kuan Yew Model Student Awardee was also given the Lee Kuan Yew Technology Award which she and three other members clinched for their project at the Energy Innovation Challenge last year.
She only passed English twice in secondary school but she recently graduated from the Institute of Technical Education College West with a perfect grade point average of 4.
But if you think that’s all about her life, you are wrong.
Besides the hard work she put in into her studies, she had to take on part-time jobs (Read: JOBS) to bring home the bacon for her family.
She has been taking on part-time jobs since the age of 14, when her father became jobless for about a year after an accident.
In her two years of studying for a Higher Nitec in mechanical engineering, she took up part-time waitressing jobs.
On weekends, she works at a hotel from 7.30am to 5.30pm, and sometimes she works at another restaurant from 6pm to 10pm.
She became the sole-breadwinner as her mother was ill and her older brother was then preparing for his O levels.
If you think that was it, you’d be surprised to know that her mother’s health problems also required a lot of attention which made it difficult for Shi Hui to juggle everything.
And it doesn’t end there.
At ITE College West, Shi Hui was also involved in three clubs as its President.
With sheer grit and determination, she attained a perfect GPA score and made it to study Mechanical Engineering at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
Shi Hui is but one of many other success stories in Singapore.
But like hers, beneath all the honour and glory of success, lies a story of perseverance and determination to chase dreams.