Monday, 26 November 2012

Paying tribute to a grassroots pioneer

Scholarship in honour of late activist will help fund local university education of residents
By Robin Chan, The Straits Times, 25 Nov 2012

A former grassroots stalwart of Ulu Pandan was recognised yesterday with a scholarship named in his honour.

The Choo Siu Heng Scholarship - named after the late People's Action Party (PAP) activist who died last year at the age of 81 - was launched last night by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

It will help fund local university education for Ulu Pandan residents.

Mr Lee said at a community fund-raising dinner last night: "He did not attend university or polytechnic, but he believed that education was the best way to improve lives."

He urged younger people to follow in Mr Choo's footsteps to "always put Singapore first, serve their community selflessly and nurture the next generation".

Mr Choo joined the PAP in 1956 to fight for independence and was secretary of the Bukit Timah branch. This would lead to more than 50 years of grassroots work.

In 1962, he joined the Ulu Pandan branch, where he served as chairman from 1968 to 1991 and then as vice-chairman till his death.

He worked with MPs such as Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Mr Christopher de Souza, who suggested naming the scholarship after him.

Mr Lee said: "Choo Siu Heng's generation decided that they wanted a better Singapore and they would build it and they would work hard together to make it. So we are all beneficiaries of their work and their generation."

He added: "And it is our responsibility not just to enjoy it, but to continue building Singapore, to make this country stronger, more harmonious and more prosperous so that our children can take over, can inherit something better than what we inherited and can build on it further."

The scholarship is one of the projects set up after the Ulu Pandan grassroots organisations raised $800,000 in donations this year.

Apart from the $150,000 which will be used to fund the scholarship for 10 years, the rest of the money raised will go towards other programmes such as book prizes for students with special needs, and qigong and dance-fit clubs to keep the elderly active.

No comments:

Post a Comment