Titus Ng, MND EDGE scholar, has a Bachelor Degree in Social and Political Sciences at University of Cambridge and a Master Degree in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at University College London. He is currently a Manager in the Strategic Planning Division at MND, which oversees policy issues related to land use.
Most of us are familiar with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the National Parks Board (NParks), and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). We recognise them for their distinct roles in developing Singapore into the bustling metropolis it is today.
All these statutory boards come under a single umbrella – the Ministry of National Development (MND), the key government ministry responsible for national land use and development planning.
It follows that the MND EDGE Scholarship can offer a decisively unique opportunity for its recipients to serve anywhere under the MND and its divisions, as well as MND Family Statutory Boards to strategise on how we can improve Singapore’s cityscape.
Titus Ng, MND EDGE scholar, is at Strategic Planning Division at MND, which oversees policies related to land use both in the near term and long term. His job has him liaising with – and learning about – every organisation under MND, picking up incredible career insights along the way.
Smiling jovially, he was eager to tell us how joining the MND was the best choice he had ever made.
MND, My Choice
“I knew from the get-go that I wanted to be in the MND family,” said the 26-year-old scholar.
His single-minded decision stemmed from his experience growing up. With both parents in the construction industry, young Titus spent many evenings listening to his father discuss issues like urban planning, town development and property. And as he grew older, listening to foreign friends praise our successes in housing and developing the nation made him swell with patriotic pride.
“Singapore is truly unique, and a central part of our ‘third world to first’ story is the physical development of our island nation into a beautiful, culturally-rich and efficiently-run metropolis,” he reflected.
“As a result of these influences, it became natural for me to become drawn towards a career in urban development.”
So when his friends directed him to the BrightSparks portal, he immediately applied for the scholarship – and the rest is history.
Before he could join MND, however, Titus needed to begin by learning his craft. The same way a building requires a solid foundation to stand strong, the MND EDGE scholar needed a base of knowledge from which to begin his career on sure footing. Having this knowledge would allow Titus to better contribute in his role in MND in overseeing land use policy to make Singapore a more green and liveable city.
MND recognised the importance of this, and thus sponsored Titus’ studies up to a Master of Science in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at University College London.
He also interned at the Ministry over summer break, working on a research project related to quantifying the intangible benefits of prefabricated construction methods. “The experience was a wholly positive one, and I enjoyed being exposed to the day-to-day workings of the office,” he recalled.
While the technical gains were obvious, Titus is more grateful for the intangible lessons he learnt.
When asked for his number one takeaway, he replied, “Learning how to be independent was the most valuable lesson I took away from studying overseas. Living alone meant taking care of myself and juggling various commitments whilst adjusting to a new environment. This experience helped me to better adjust to the new routines and challenges associated with my professional role at MND when I returned from my studies.”
Planning for Nation Building
This would come to be directly relevant to his work, as a measure of independence and self-discipline is necessary for excelling in MND’s fast-paced, ever-changing environment.
Currently, he is a Manager in the Strategic Planning Division, which oversees policy issues related to land use. He is involved with a variety of issues, ranging from underground developments and reclamation works to Smart Cities and urban architecture.
An integral part of his work is also to ensure all the agencies under MND are on the same page when it comes to maximising land use. “We work with other agencies within and outside the MND family such as HDB, BCA and LTA to ensure that our efforts to improve our built environment are well-coordinated.”
The desired result? “MND works closely with our MND Family organisations to ensure that our Master Plan – our statutory land use plan to guide Singapore’s development over the medium term – as well as other policies are constantly improved, towards the end goal of ensuring Singapore is a great city to live, work and play in.”
As he is only 26 years old, most people are surprised to hear that Titus has been happily married for almost two years! He’s grateful that MND is a family-friendly workplace that has given him ample space and flexibility to balance his personal and professional lives.
Opportunities aplenty in MND
People are an irreplaceable part of MND’s vision of an endearing home and liveable city. MND is always looking to welcome passionate and interested individuals into the MND family.
And what a big family it is! “MND officers are often rotated to the statutory boards such as HDB, BCA, URA, and NParks to access new learning opportunities and try their hand at different types of work,” said Titus.
At MND, the progress of our nation and the development of our officers are equally important, and they go hand-in-hand as we journey into the future.