Appendix A: Student Success Stories
MACL – Master of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature (汉语言文学硕士学位课程)
1 Liang Peng (梁萍), Mediacorp radio deejay
2 Mak Ho Wai (麦皓为), Mediacorp artiste
3 Tan Tat Eng (陈达瑛), General Studies Programme student
BACL – Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature (汉语言文学学士学位课程)
4 Teo Sum Lim (张森林), Gold Award winner
5 Tan Teng Teng (陈婷婷) and Tan Pei Pei (陈佩佩), sisters
6 Quek Yew Hock (郭有福), Goh Swee Ching (吴瑞清), Bronze and Silver Award
winners, husband and wife
7 Mok Mei Ngan (莫美颜), LianHe ZaoBao reporter
1 Liang Peng (梁萍), MACL graduate and Mediacorp radio deejay
UniSIM has been like a third home for Liang Peng if the recording studio is her second.
After graduating from UniSIM’s BACL programme in 2003, the 95.8FM radio deejay had
continued with the MACL programme for three years.
“There are very few opportunities in Singapore to pursue further education in the Chinese
medium. So I decided to seize the chance to study at UniSIM which offers these programmes
on a part-time basis. That is very attractive to full-time working adults like me,” the lover
of Chinese culture said.
“The Beijing Normal University faculty who fully taught the Masters programme also
inspired confidence and motivated me to study further even though doing so part-time is a
challenge.” In the three years of studies, Liang Peng had entertained few social activities,
disciplining herself to study after work and on weekends.
“There is a sense of achievement in completing the programme, including the dissertation in
the final year. The sacrifices are worth it because learning more about the Chinese language
and literature is part of my self-cultivation.”
2 Mak Ho Wai (麦皓为), MACL graduate and Mediacorp artiste
When asked the reason for undertaking the Master of Arts in Chinese Language and
Literature degree programme, 62-year-old Mak Ho Wai waxes lyrical about “studies being
the cure for foolishness”.
“Studying is an activity for the soul. It is not for monetary gains, but for growing in
wisdom, widening of horizons and cultivating the spirit.”
This, coming from an Electronic Engineering graduate, is more poetic than expected.
But Mak, true to his thespian character, surprises again: “Acting helped me in my studies –
they train the same thinking skills, really.”
He explained: “Years of acting have taught me to be more accepting of the views and
demands of others, and to combine them with my own analysis of the character, instead of
rejecting them. The same was needed when writing my dissertation, which was about the
Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”
After his university studies in Taiwan, Mak had flitted across various jobs before landing in
an actors’ training class. It was as an actor that he arrived in Singapore in 1994.
Of enrolling in UniSIM in 2003, he said: “I saw that the time was right, and that age was no
barrier for me to study at UniSIM, so I decided to pursue it.”
3 Tan Tat Eng (陈达瑛), MACL graduate and General Studies Programme student
Seven years of continuous learning with UniSIM wasn’t quite enough for Ms Tan Tat Eng.
The primary school Chinese language teacher had graduated from the BACL programme,
then the MACL programme… and she is now a student with the UniSIM General Studies
“Furthering my education was a great wish; I wouldn’t be satisfied till I fulfil it.”
The eager student has worked hard. From the start of the three-year Masters programme,
Tat Eng has begun research for her final-year dissertation. The dedicated teacher wrote
about her pet topic: The problem of word recognition and writing in Singapore schools’
“Carrying out my research in this area meant I was able to apply my findings to improve my
teaching methods in the school,” she said.
In the future, Tat Eng might also consider doing a PhD in Chinese language and literature.
4 Teo Sum Lim (张森林), top graduating BACL student (Gold award winner)
For 47-year-old Teo Sum Lim, “Chinese is a form of art like music and dancing”. Ten years
of Chinese education in his adolescent years has fired the love of the Chinese language and
literature which continues to burn within him today.
The former LianHe WanBao reporter plans to be a university tutor in the future to share his
love for Chinese. Now that he has completed his BACL, he is considering a Masters in Chinese
Studies in the near future.
About his academic aspirations, he said: “I enjoy writing and thinking – writing my
dissertation was a great source of satisfaction. Getting the gold award for my hard work was
also a huge encouragement.”
His studies have also put Teo in good stead for the workplace. The business director of an
advertising firm handles Chinese-medium ads, and as a hobby, publishes Chinese literary
journals as well.
“Learning Hanyu Pinyin became an asset. It enabled me to do Chinese typesetting using
computer software,” said Teo, who used to handwrite Chinese characters.
Another factor which will keep him going on his academic path is his UniSIM lecturer, Wang
Zhi Wei. Teo said: “I learnt that he is a junior college teacher in the day time, a lecturer
with UniSIM in the evenings, and he is also doing a doctorate degree. I am inspired by his
vigour and passion.”
5 Tan Teng Teng (陈婷婷) and Tan Pei Pei (陈佩佩), BACL graduates and sisters
Studying for their Bachelor degree together has drawn this pair of sisters closer than before.
Tan Teng Teng, 28, and Tan Pei Pei, 29, had enrolled in the BACL programme after
completing their diploma studies at NIE. Both are Chinese language teachers in primary
“Doing assignments, studying for exams, and attending classes together for four years at
UniSIM – the bonding time has deepened our relationship,” said Teng Teng.
“We wanted to upgrade my language standards since we are Chinese teachers, and we
will be emplaced as graduate teachers. Knowing that we will be schooling together was a
great motivation for me.”
Nevertheless it was challenging for the sisters to take up part-time studies. Teng Teng said:
“I was fortunate to have an understanding principal at work and a loving husband who
fetched me to and from work. But it really boiled down to self-discipline and motivation to
undergo the rigour of studies while working.”
“It was all worth it because I learned a lot about the language and literature and also met
many like-minded people,” said the mother-to-be, who was pregnant in her final year.
Her graduation and the expected arrival of her baby girl in March will certainly be an
occasion for great joy and celebration in the Tan family.
6 Quek Yew Hock (郭有福) and Goh Swee Ching (吴瑞清), BACL graduates, bronze and
silver award winners, husband and wife
Goh Swee Ching reads notes aloud from the passenger seat in the car when she is on her
way to class at UniSIM with her husband, Quek Yew Hock.
“That way he can also study while driving, it saves time for both of us,” said the primary
school Chinese language teacher.
Both husband and wife, 51, also share a quick meal in the car after work when they have
to rush for classes. Over the weekend, they refrain from shopping, and study and prepare for
assignments and exams together instead. Spending these moments has deepened their
relationship – a happy outcome from the decision to return to school 4 years ago.
She said: “We felt that our children are independent now that they are older, and we could
pursue something of our passion.” Their children, aged 18, 21 and 23, strongly agreed and
encouraged their parents to go ahead.
Yew Hock added: “It was a very fruitful experience to study the language in a systematic
way, and we were very well taken care of at UniSIM. Having the study materials available
online was very helpful when we couldn’t attend lessons.”
Graduating with a bronze and silver award, husband and wife have proved that hard work
and sacrifices can overcome challenges to achieve great academic results.
7 Mok Mei Ngan (莫美颜), BACL graduate and LianHe ZaoBao reporter
The joy of learning had moved her to sign up for the BACL programme five years ago.
55-year-old Mok Mei Ngan said: "There is no end to learning, and deepening my knowledge
of the Chinese language is a dream that I wanted to fulfil."
This is despite the fact that the seasoned reporter of more than 10 years at Lianhe
Zaobao wields the language daily at work. An arts student in her schooling days, she is not
unfamiliar about the Chinese culture, history, language and literature too. Yet familiarity
has not dulled her passion for learning more.
"I've discovered more and achieved greater depth of knowledge through the BACL
"Coming to classes after work was something I looked forward to. But there were days when I
had to work late, and I couldn't make it to class. It took hard work and effort in catching up,
but it was a happy endeavour overall."