L ee Yun Xin has a passion for language and a dream to help the less privileged. This is why she hopes to pursue a career in family law – a field that will allow her to empower others through the use of the English language and ultimately help members of society. “While lawyers take on a professional role, family lawyers have to handle delicate emotions and show empathy where necessary and appropriate. I find that this emotional aspect and connectedness with another human being is something to be embraced,” says Yun Xin.
Yun Xin’s love for the English language was strengthened when she took up English Language and Linguistics in Junior College. Studying the relation between language and society, Yun Xin explains that this was when she learnt the importance of language in law. “Legal language is highly technical and laypersons naturally have trouble understanding it. This is ironic because the law is something that should be accessible to everyone. Therefore, lawyers are the bridge between the judicial system and laypeople.” It was with this newfound understanding that inspired her to pursue law – to use her love for the English language to bridge the gap between law and the disadvantaged.
Today, Yun Xin is on the right track to fulfilling her dream of becoming a compassionate family lawyer for the underprivileged. Thanks to the bond-free OCBC Public Undergraduate Scholarship, she is currently pursuing a Law degree at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Being a law student at NUS has given Yun Xin a glimpse into several aspects of law and presented her with numerous opportunities to help others. She is a member of the Pro Bono Group in NUS Law where she participated in the University Court Friends programme as the main liaison between the Litigants-in-Person and court interpreters of the Family Justice Court (FJC). This offered her valuable hands-on experiences as she observed the “behind-the-scenes” operations of the FJC. She was also most recently appointed as the Head of Volunteer Management for Law Awareness Week 2016, and will be assisting in a series of law talks to residents from the participating Community Development Councils.
Lee Yun Xin
OCBC Public Undergraduate Scholar
Law student at the National University of Singapore
On top of these appointments, Yun Xin also volunteers at the Meet the People sessions (MPS) in her constituency. Predominantly a writer at these sessions, she listens to the problems of residents, decides how to craft relevant letters with regards to those problems, and decides where to direct those letters to. Her humble service comes as a surprise to many of her peers, considering the additional evening responsibility after her night classes. However, Yun Xin feels that the sense of accomplishment she gains from helping others in need negates all feelings of weariness.
She tells us of a particularly fulfilling incident, “I realised the true meaning of the work I was doing when I learnt that a single letter helped an elderly, homeless man quicken his process of getting a flat. I have also bumped into a few residents for whom I wrote letters, and to see them grateful and happy to have had my help (even though the letters may not have worked) brings me such happiness and fulfilment that no amount of money can buy. Writing is something that I enjoy, and if I can help others through writing, what’s not to like about it?”
Yun Xin was first drawn to the OCBC scholarship due to the company’s belief that every outstanding student deserves a chance to have a university education. This reflected her personal view that a poor or average family background does not determine a student’s performance in school. “The fact that the organisation is giving scholarships with no strings attached shows that they are genuine about using this platform as a way to give back to society. This is a rare trait of an organisation as successful as OCBC,” Yun Xin tells us spiritedly.
Besides easing the financial burden of undergraduates, OCBC also supports its scholars through various personal development initiatives. One example is the Scholars@CAMP-us programme where scholars get to learn about OCBC’s history, as well as interact with past scholars as they share their experiences and advice. Every scholar is also given an internship with the organisation. Even though this may appear to have little relation to her aspirations, Yun Xin is thankful for this opportunity. “It is not every day that one gets to have a glimpse of the operations of one of the top banks in Singapore. This is certainly an experience that I am looking forward to. It is definitely an opportunity to gain some transferable skills which will be useful regardless of the field of work we eventually end up in.”
Upon completing her studies, Yun Xin hopes to work in the Legal Aid Bureau to fulfil her passion of providing legal services to the less privileged. “The underprivileged is a vulnerable group that may not have knowledge of their legal rights. I hope to be able to help them in my own way in the near future,” she shares enthusiastically.
Having experienced the unencumbered joy of being able to pursue her dreams, Yun Xin shares her thoughts with aspiring scholars, “The most important thing is to find a scholarship that allows you to study what you are interested in. Otherwise, you may regret taking up that scholarship or worse, commit to a bond for a job that is not for you. Doing comprehensive research is also a must to help you select scholarships that are suitable for you.”
For Yun Xin, the scholarship has to be one that allows her to pick her choice of course, which is law, and comes without a bond. “Some of the scholarships that come with a bond require their scholars to work as an in-house counsel immediately after graduation, so law graduates will not be able to take the Singapore Bar Course and Examination to qualify as a practising lawyer,” she explains. This would mean that she would have to forgo her passion of practising family law.
At the end of the day, it is imperative for all to pursue their dreams and OCBC’s promise to give back to society is something that aspiring youths should value.