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Impact Through Innovation

Tue, 02/20/2018 Atalia Chua
Impact Through Innovation

Trusted and respected around the world, ST Engineering is a leading defence and engineering provider with 50 years of innovation. A commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology has enabled the organisation to make its mark in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. Its achievements, just to name a few, include designing and building war-ready military vehicles as well as the first made-in-Singapore commercial Earth Observation Satellite.

Besides building a culture of innovation, ST Engineering also prides itself on developing its greatest resource - people. To find out more about the organisation, we speak to Choo Foo Lai, an Engineer with ST Electronics, the electronics arm of ST Engineering. He was also a recipient of the ST Engineering Overseas Scholarship.



As a child, Foo Lai was fascinated with toys and hobbies that promoted elements of engineering. These include “piecing together Lego bricks and Tamiya racing cars.” As such, an education and career in engineering came naturally to him.

“These hobbies fuelled my desire to build something amazing and have fun while doing it. An education in engineering is a small but important step in my continuous journey of technological discovery. It enables me to perform many seemingly difficult tasks, such as creating an application to control a room’s lighting system remotely in a few days – something I find absolutely fascinating.”

He adds that he is a person who likes to be constantly challenged “by problems of different natures and scopes”. He elaborates, “Being involved in different projects stretches my ability to think creatively and solve problems. The best part is that ST Engineering is able to provide the resources and support needed to perform the job.”


Foo Lai began his journey at the organisation with internships during their undergraduate days, interning at ST Electronics where he developed an event booking system within 10 weeks. Through this project, he developed a deeper understanding of structured development life cycle methodologies such as planning, development, testing and deployment.

“Students are rarely exposed to such projects in academic settings. The internship eased me into my current role as a software developer since the processes are similar across different projects. I am indebted to the senior engineers and developers who explained many processes and guided me patiently. I am now working in the same department and seeing these friendly faces is a definite plus,” he shares.

Currently involved in a project that seeks to improve the public infrastructure of Singapore, Foo Lai finds the work challenging, yet meaningful at the same time. He elaborates, “It is very rewarding to create a system that not only fulfils client requirements, but also exceeds expectations with better functionalities and a more intuitive user interface. Of course, going the extra mile entails extra effort, but that is where the fun lies in—all that hard work to ship quality code at the end of the day!”



In addition to working hard, Foo Lai believes that potential ST Engineering scholars should possess the willingness to try new things. He says, “Take pride in your work, be innovative and find joy in the work you do. Once you begin to care about your work, you will develop a compelling purpose that drives you to achieve goals that will surprise even yourself. You will start to suss out processes you want to improve and reinvent. It can be a new style of exploring different engineering approaches to the same problem. Trying out new stuff is fun and rejuvenates you. This inspires you to work harder at innovation. Simply put, the fun never stops.”

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