Being a Good ‘Fellow’

I am only hours away from my departure time to the United States of America where I will be spending the next 4 months serving out my Fellowship at University of California, Irvine working on the theme of Tolerance & Conflict Resolution. 

In this US Government sponsored scholarship under the Department of State and managed by IREX, the Community Solutions Program will see 60 global community leaders coming together to work on their chosen themes before returning back to their home country to implement a social-community project.

Being THE FIRST SINGAPOREAN to be on this program, there is a lot at stake, not only for future Singaporeans who wish to participate in this program, but also, for myself as an individual representing Singapore.

Singapore's First 'Ambassador'

Singapore’s First ‘Ambassador’

There hasn’t been much coverage on the English media with the exception of MediaCorp English news agencies (ChannelNews Asia and TODAY) giving me a bit of airtime, much of the support has come from the ones closest to me (via Facebook) and most definitely, the Malay media (Berita Harian, MediaCorp Malay News and MediaCorp Malay Radio) for the extensive coverage.

The current feel that I am getting would be one that I would describe as a scene from a movie that perhaps, most of us are familiar with. The storyboard would run along the lines of, 

“A village boy becomes the first villager in history to have been selected/accepted to work/study in the City/University. The whole village rallies in support, hoping the boy will be able to find a better life and come back with greater knowledge to help the rest of the villagers to seek an improved life. As the boy prepares to leave, the villagers comes to him to give him words of encouragement and for some, gives him something for the long journey ahead”.

Perhaps, that’s how I see my story churning out at this moment, playing the role of that village boy.

Who would have ever thought that the son of an orphaned immigrant with only P6 education who became a ship Captain and a self-employed seamstress cum home-maker would have gotten this far in life?

Certainly not the son, nor did anyone especially when society today demands that to be a success on its terms, you need to have at least a Bachelors Degree (which the family is unable to afford).

But opportunities come in many different forms and as to how our lives will eventually become, no one will ever know.

One thing for sure is that some dreams do come true  although not always as how you imagined it to be BUT God has his ways to put you on that path you wanted when you some of the things he likes (or at least I choose to believe so).

So, in the coming months to come, do stay tuned to this blog as I share my experiences (because I am otherwise forgetful).

Before I end, I do have a few people to thank for:

– Dimas, a friend from Indonesia who introduced me to this program

– Nurul from Singapore Press Holdings Berita Harian for the humbling news coverage

– Riz from MediaCorp Malay News for the coverage on TV

– Friends, Family and Colleagues for the undying love and support shown

– Anyone else who’s throwing your support behind me whom I haven’t a clue of (Send me a Comment! I will reply!)