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.

Ms Cheng Shi Hui with her Lee Kuan Yew Model Student Award. (Photo credit: The New Paper)

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.

(Photo creidt: Cheng Shi Hui’s Facebook)

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.



  1. It sound real true about what you are saying. I am comment one area which myself is experiencing. If you are fully able, you might have family problem, you need to support financially. When I am refering to able, its the opposite of people with disability. How much job opportunity or even education opportunity are or will be given? Its so easy to feel proud of other felow singaporean which are able and gone through hardship in their life and so on. I am sure she or whoever going through these hardship, will somehow, some sort be successful in their life. But for people with disability, how hard do they need to do? How to even work, or even find opportunity when people who are able are not even giving a chance to them? Its like, you want ot work hard, you going through those hardship too, but what scholarship or sponser in this area? Its so strange when its easy to walk side by side with people who are able, gone through hardship in their life but its hard to even communicate or even walk with people with disability?

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