Formed in 1960, PA is a statutory board founded to promote racial and social cohesion in Singapore. The community comes first, and everything that the PA does is focused on the sole purpose of fostering strong community bonds amongst residents to create a better society for all.
For PA Overseas Scholar Crystal Chong and PA Local Scholar Claudia Choay, it is their passion for working with people that drew them to the organisation. They tell us about how they aim to work together with PA to build a better Singapore.
What motivated your decisions behind your course of study?
Crystal Chong: I decided to pursue Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) since an appreciation of these three areas is critical to understanding public governance. Good policymakers consider moral implications of their proposed policies and also demonstrate an awareness of their socio-economic context, and since activities executed by the PA are in line with specific government policies, this will be very relevant to my future career.
Claudia Choay: I applied for Business Administration because I wish to develop soft skills such as people management, communication, as well as managerial and analytical skills. I will also learn how to identify and understand customer needs and deliver exceptional customer service accordingly. All these skills are imperative in my future career in PA as a people-oriented job.
Crystal Chong Inn Jhee
People's Association Overseas Scholar
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, King's College London
Tell us about the opportunities a scholarship with PA provides.
Crystal: I will be interning at a community centre for 10 weeks in June to learn how community projects are planned and implemented. I believe that interacting with the residents and learning about their needs will be an eye-opening experience, and this internship will allow me to glean valuable insights into PA's role in community building. At the same time, I seek to give back in kind by actively contributing ideas for upcoming projects and taking the initiative to assist the team that I will be attached to.
Claudia: I got to meet fellow scholars from the previous batch when I attended my scholarship award ceremony. Through the experiences they shared about their internships at community centres and their current work, I gained a deeper understanding of the different functions within the grassroots and what my future job might entail. I also attended the Preparatory Seminar for Public Sector Scholarship Holders, where I was able to network with scholars from various ministries and statutory boards, bringing opportunities for collaborations in the future.
I will also undergo internships and attend events and programmes organised by the PA. Apart from learning about the technicalities related to the work, these experiences will allow me to interact with communities and gain insights into their needs. I will also be able to hone relevant soft skills such as interpersonal and people management skills.
Claudia Choay Yan-Li
People's Association Local Scholar
Bachelor of Business Administration, National University of Singapore
What are some of your career plans with PA?
Crystal: After graduating, I will be returning to PA to work as a Constituency Manager in one of the community centres. There, I will work with a team to directly engage residents, plan and execute community events, and manage several grassroots committees. This appeals to me strongly due to my extroverted nature, passion for the community, and belief in service leadership. I am inclined to pursue a long-term career with the community.
That being said, PA will also supplement my professional development with ample opportunities for rotation, which will give me a broader perspective on PA's various fields of work.
Claudia: I believe strongly in the potential of youths, so I hope to be involved in providing spaces and opportunities for youths in Singapore to acquire and develop life skills and achieve holistic development as individuals. These young individuals are the future drivers of positive change in our community. Hence, through PA's Youth Division programmes, I hope that Singaporean youths will be inspired to be active citizens who are agents of change in our society.
Residents' involvement can also be extremely impactful in making positive changes to our communities. Hence, I also hope to engage residents in stepping up to assume leadership roles within their neighbourhoods and serve their fellow citizens, creating more inclusive and tightly-knitted communities for all to live in.
What advice would you have for those exploring their scholarship options?
Crystal: Be confident and be prepared! While the competition may be fierce, know that you have so much to offer and that you can be as strong as any other candidate with adequate preparation. Consider how your experiences, personality, and skills all come together to shape your unique perspective and let your shining individuality seal the deal. All the best!
Claudia: Think clearly about what you wish to achieve in your future career, and carefully research the organisation's missions, goals, and values. Do not simply be attracted to scholarships for the prestige. It is important for your own values and personal goals to align with the organisation such that you can find joy and purpose in your future career. This sense of purpose will be able to drive your motivation and allow you to reach greater heights in your career.