Life after Tsinghua
It is May 2013 now, almost 10 months after I have left Beijing. Recollecting and writing my life after Tsinghua brings me back to the memory lane… …
After 2 years of memorable stay and experience in Beijing as a student of MID 2010 with Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM), I went back to Singapore in July 2012 to begin the next phase of my career with my organisation – Singapore Civil Service College (CSC). CSC is the Singapore Public Sector's core institution for training, learning, research and staff development
Prior to my studies in Tsinghua, I was with the International department of CSC. My main task then was to share Singapore’s experience and expertise on governance and public sector management with civil servants from other countries through organising study visits and training programmes. It was an enriching experience as I was able to know more about other countries and able to make good friends during the course of my work. My career took on an interesting path when I was posted to a middle management position of a research department within CSC called the Centre for Governance and Leadership (CGL) upon graduation. I reckoned the decision was largely due to the wealth of knowledge that I have gained from SPPM that the senior management felt that I could contribute effectively to CGL. My main responsibility is to assist the Director to manage the department to deliver research outputs with the aim of inspiring new thinking in public policy and governance. As I was in the midst of learning the new ropes in CGL, I was assigned to one of the 3 committees to work on another new phase of CSC – a fundamental restructuring of the entire CSC to serve the public service better. I was immediately plunged into numerous meetings and brainstorming sessions on the new operating model of CSC. By the end of 2012, CSC has taken a new form. My department was renamed to Institute of Governance and Policy with a larger portfolio of responsibilities. My workload has increased by folds as the department staff strength has increased from 30 over to 40 over staff members. Transition was well managed and staff members were well engaged in this change. This was a key highlight of my career having to go through a fundamental restructuring exercise of an organisation. The Dean has personally given me a thank you card for the efforts (see picture).
Another key highlight was in October 2012 when my path crossed again with China-related work. CSC organised a big symposium with SPPM – the ever first collaboration with a renowned Chinese university. We invited Dean Xue Lan, Prof Meng Qingguo and Prof Yang Yansui to deliver lectures to a group of public officers. Several Singapore government agencies also engaged the 3 professors on a more intimate proximity through closed door sessions. Engagements were fruitful and meaningful. CSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SPPM to signify interest for long term collaboration. I was glad that I was able to play the role of a matchmaker between CSC and SPPM during my stay in Beijing. And I was glad and honoured to have a personal photo with the 3 professors (see picture).
This year March, I had my maiden lecture on “Overview of China” to a group of 20 public officers to prepare them for an overseas study visit to Xi’an. The knowledge gained from SPPM as well as my 2-year of living experience in Beijing was put into use when I was developing the content of the lecture. The participants responded well to my lecture and I received a rating of 4.41 out of 5. Not too bad for a first timer. Some anecdotal comments from the participants on my lecture are at below (see picture). I was glad to share my knowledge and my perspectives on China.
Sometimes, I still experience déjà vu. Waking up in the morning on my bed and wondering whether I am in Beijing or in Singapore. Life as post graduate student with Tsinghua is recharging and rejuvenating. As I have shared with many others, once a 清华人, forever a清华人.
Lim Teng Leng
22 May 2013