Soh Kay Boon (second from left) at the PSC Scholarships Award Ceremony 2019 with his parents and Ben Lim, Director of HSS (extreme right).

Soh Kay Boon was a very happy person on the day of his graduation. Not only did he successfully complete his polytechnic education and graduate with a Diploma in Psychology Studies (PSY), he also received the PSC Scholarship – the very first PSC Scholar from HSS (he regards this as a great honour).

Kay Boon hopes that his background in social sciences can bring something valuable to the public service. He never knew the scholarship existed until his lecturers sent him to attend some information sessions on it. He subsequently applied for the provisional scholarship. At that point (in the middle of his third year in PSY), he has already decided on going either into the research or the policy front of psychology, and to use that specialisation for public good. Hence, he gravitated towards the public service, which he believed is his ideal career. After having his doubts clarified and gaining a full understanding of what the scholarship entails, there is no reason for him not to apply! 

The valuable hands-on experience gained through industry-partnered projects, and his internship, gave Kay Boon the confidence to pursue psychology in university. He feels that the PSY curriculum is very robust – covering a comprehensive range of psychology fields – with a good balance of exams, individual assignments and group projects. The lecturers are genuinely passionate in teaching the students and often, they painstakingly guide them through content that they do not understand or have misunderstood. Kay Boon thinks that it is the nature of the course (and subject) that attracts people who are genuinely empathetic and caring, and he has made a lot of close friends in PSY. Kay Boon is going to pursue a degree in psychology locally, after which he will join the civil service. Although the future is unpredictable, Kay Boon hopes to contribute as much as possible to society within his means. 

The most valuable lesson Kay Boon learnt in his three years in TP is to follow your heart, even if it is harder and therefore uncomfortable. Rationalising and repressing what your heart tells you is easy, but could foster deep regrets in future. If you know that it is right and it makes sense to you, follow it – even if it means putting yourself far outside your comfort zone. 

He leaves you with his favourite quote, “Le vent se lève!... il faut tenter de vivre!” It was from one of his favourite film (The Wind Rises by Miyazaki Hayao) and originally from a French poem. Roughly translated, it means “The wind is rising!... We must try to live!” It is a solemn reminder that one will inevitably face countless challenges in life, and all one can ever do is to try one’s best to overcome them and live to see a better tomorrow. 

What an inspiration.