On 9th November 2011, our school, in collaboration with the ACS Alumni Association held a career and motivation talk for graduating students (Upper Sixth and Fifth Formers) of ACS Ipoh. The purpose was to create awareness about career choices besides ensuring that the Upper 6th and 5th Form students are conscious of the requirements of the job market before making their decisions. A panel of distinguished former students who are experts in various fields were gracious and generous enough to take time off to share with us their experiences and valuable advice.
The day started when the first group of guests, Datuk Lean Meng Seong, Dato’ Narayanan Kanan, Dr Anthony Pun Swee Leong and Mr Lai Chan Fah, arrived at about 7.45 am. Our Principal, Mrs Lee Hock Hin led them on a walkabout to the auditorium, library, museum, swimming pool and Horley Hall. Then it was back to the auditorium for the career and motivation talk, where the Upper 6, Form 5A (accountancy), 6RB and 6RE students were eagerly awaiting the speakers.
In her speech, Mrs Lee warmly welcomed our distinguished guests and stressed that ‘learning is not confined to the four walls of a classroom, neither is it locked between the covers of a textbook’. Datuk Lean Meng Seong, the Vice President of the ACS Alumni Association who spearheaded this event, received his 5th and 6th Form education from 1965-1967 in ACS Ipoh. He was a Prefect when he was in Form 4 and moved on to become the President of the Economics Society. He advised our students to always keep an open mind and never live and work just for pay days. He was optimistic that the present boys and girls of ACS will put in the extra effort to excel and be the pride of our school and the ACS Alumni.
The first speaker, Dato’ Narayanan Kanan, is an alumnus of our school. He was the Deputy Head Boy in 1965 as well as the President of The Literary and Debating Society. He held numerous posts in various sports clubs and was the Scholar of The Year for 1965. He presently serves on the boards of several MSC ICT companies. In his talk he enlightened the students on the rich and varied opportunities in the ICT sector as the world is globalizing rapidly. Students wanting to pursue a career in the ICT industry must excel in Mathematics, Science and English and have a generous dose of passion for ICT. He stressed the importance of proficiency in the English language and ICT skills in the working environment and advised ACS students to aspire to be global ICT icons in the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. A very important point he shared with would-be interviewees was that, “most employers hire people for their attitudes and train for skills”.
The second speaker, Mr. Koon Yew Yin is one of the founders of IJM Corporation Bhd., Gamuda Bhd., and Mudajaya Group Bhd. He is a retired Chartered Civil Engineer and is named as one of the four hero philanthropists from Malaysia in 2011 by Forbes Magazine. He talked about accountancy as a career and encouraged all students to be entrepreneurial and aspire to be employers rather than employees.
The third speaker, Mr. Lai Chan Fah was a student of ACS Ipoh from 1961- 1965. He is a major supplier of various types of industrial products made from steel, wood and concrete. His talk was about Creativity and Resourcefulness being the Keys to Success. A self-made businessman, Mr Peter Lai’s success story proves that nothing is impossible if one is ready to face challenges. There are challenges when we start our own business but the internet is an easy source of information, if one is resourceful. He emphasized the importance of having a unique product to market that will create new business opportunities. He advised the students to keep their options open as things may not always turn out as planned. An aggressive though humble man, he urged students to be more assertive during job interviews as that would reflect enthusiasm in acquiring the job. He assured all that there are lucrative jobs in every field.
Dr. Anthony Pun Swee Leong, an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker who holds a PhD, and is currently the National President of The Chinese Community Council of Australia, talked about ‘Turning Failures/Setbacks into Success’. He was a student of ACS Ipoh from 1953 – 1964. Dr Pun took the students on a journey which began with his life as a student in ACS Ipoh and failing his Form 5 mid-year examination despite his high IQ of 140. His family’s decision to send him to study in Australia sparked a string of achievements when his interest in Biochemistry changed his attitude. He is highly respected abroad because of his good inter-personal skill, command of the English Language, good understanding of the English culture, diplomacy and pragmatism, hardworking nature and for his confidence. The gist of his story is ‘nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it’, ‘intelligence, qualifications, skill and work experience = ingredients for success if you can adapt to your new environment’, ‘ have an analytical mind that never stops thinking’ and ‘know what you want and you’ll get what you want’.
Tokens of appreciation were presented to the guest speakers by our Principal who also reminded the students to take home what they had heard throughout the day as food for thought. We do hope that we will be able to have more Old Salts coming in again in future to share with us some of their valuable experiences and insights.
ROBIN LEE CHIAP LOONG (6RE) in collaboration with PN. LIM SAU CHANG
(Robin Lee a student, and Puan Lim a teacher, are presently at the Ipoh ACS. This article is reproduced from The Voyager 2011)