For National Environment and Water (NEW) scholars Teh Ming Hwang and Jaren Soo, the interest in the NEW Scholarship was piqued by the desire to ensure the sustainability of resources that Singaporeans keep close to heart – water and our environment.
As Ming Hwang puts it, "Taking on the NEW Scholarship with the national water agency, PUB, was an opportunity for me to play a role in writing the next chapter of Singapore’s water story. As a small nation, we have a fascinating water story to tell - from water survival to water sustainability."
As for Jaren, the formation of his desire dates back to when he was just 11 years old. "I remember when I was in Primary 5, I learnt that the world has finite resources and that we should be considering alternative renewable sources of energy. This was when I first started becoming aware of how vulnerable our environment is, and started to incorporate environmentally-friendly practices in my daily life," shares Jaren.
Fast forward many years, and both Ming Hwang and Jaren are playing their part to ensure that Singapore's resources are well taken care of. Ming Hwang is currently an Engineer in PUB’s Engineering Development & Procurement Department, while Jaren is an executive at NEA's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Meeting Singapore's Needs
As beneficiaries of the NEW Scholarship, an initiative between NEA and PUB, NEW Scholars are given the opportunity to shape the outcome of Singapore’s water supply and environment. Ming Hwang's role in PUB sees him undertake infrastructural projects such as the building of new water treatment plants. He is currently involved in two projects - the construction of a third desalination plant in Tuas and the expansion of the Kranji NEWater Factory. "I even had the opportunity to travel to Australia to visit desalination plants and water treatment plants, in order to study good practices and understand the challenges faced there," Ming Hwang adds.
On Jaren’s end, being in the Drinking Water Unit of NEA’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department requires him to make an audit of the quality of Singapore’s piped water supply. This is done through site inspections, audits of water quality test results and checks on the water safety plans submitted by water suppliers.
He is also exposed to other non-water related work functions in the department, one of which is through his involvement in the provision of public toilets in Singapore. "I hope that through our efforts, Singapore will have clean toilets and users will use them responsibly. People may have the impression that working on toilet issues is a 'dirty job', and always think that it is more glamorous to be at the forefront of technology and trends. However, think about it – people can get by without the latest technologies and trends, but life without usable toilets is unthinkable!" Jaren shares with refreshing candour.
A Purposeful Career
Regardless of whether the career interests of aspiring NEW scholars lie in PUB or NEA, both scholars are quick to emphasise the importance of pure passion in a scholarship choice. Ming Hwang says it perfectly, "The adage goes that the way to do great things is to love what you do. It is important to have a passion for the new generation of environmental and water issues our nation faces. As with any other job application, passion for what you are doing ensures you have a purposeful career."
Learn more about the NEW Scholarship and other scholarships here!