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MPA – Buzzing At The Ports

MPA Scholar Wong Ming Guang is all set to take on any challenges in the maritime world.  Read his success story.

Today is a good day. Just like any other day, my schedule was packed with project meetings and deadlines. The day began with an inter-divisional meeting to exchange views over the design of a future container terminal. Issues pertaining to policy perspectives, technical expertise and operational considerations were all deliberated and fused into one single project discussion, which requires seamless collaboration between working divisions. At the end of the meeting, much progress was made and the project was ready to proceed to the next stage.

After the fruitful meeting, I continued to complete my paper on the economic operating model for the new upcoming terminal. This policy paper will serve to inform the top policy makers on my findings and to persuade them to adopt the current operating model. Working on a tight deadline, this paper has given me opportunities to dig deeper and uncover new dimensions in my capabilities. I personally enjoy these steep learning curves and challenges as they usually result in accelerated personal growth and more importantly, empower me with vast amounts of satisfaction upon completion.

Today’s lunch was yet another interesting event of the day. I attended a lunch meeting with the senior management of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and a major terminal operator. Insights on the maritime industry’s latest developments and perspectives on the current policy issues were vividly discussed via this informal lunch. The objective is to seek a better understanding on the current concerns of the industry. Such information is essential as MPA plays a pivotal role in steering, developing and regulating the local maritime industry.

The final highlight of the day was the meeting that accentuated my role as a public officer. This meeting involves several government agencies and ministries to discuss the plan for the uses of Singapore’s waterfront land for the next few decades. MPA plays a major role in this inter-agency project given our extensive use of coastal land. Numerous studies were conducted in preparation for this meeting and many more were initiated after it. All these collective efforts are meant to optimise Singapore’s economic growth in the long term amid our scarce resources. A stronger economy means higher levels of employment for our people and better prosperity for our nation. My direct contribution to such a cause gives me great meaning in my work and even greater self-actualisation on a personal level.

An Unforgettable Decision
As I catch a breather after a day of continuous meetings, I can’t help but look back on the events and decisions that lead me to where I am today. There is an ancient saying that our lives are measured by the decisions we made during the important moments. There had been major decisions in my life but one that stands out from the rest is my decision to take up this MPA scholarship.

Seven years have passed since I took up this scholarship, but I could still vividly recalled the events just like it had happened only yesterday. Back then, I was drawn towards this scholarship for two reasons. One was the vibrancy of the maritime industry, coupled with the opportunity to directly shape the future of Singapore. However, the real deal clincher lies in the culture of MPA. The cohesiveness and dynamism of the organisation really differentiates MPA from the rest. As an energised individual seeking for a challenging career in a nurturing environment, I could not turn down the opportunity to work for this progressive organisation.

No Regrets
On hindsight, this is probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life thus far. MPA has been very supportive of my academic decisions, including pursuing my interest in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Although it doesn’t look very relevant to the maritime industry, MPA shared my view that a bachelor’s degree in Engineering will sharpen both my analytical and modelling skills, which is a fundamental in the process of policy making. Beyond academics, there is an established informal network of MPA scholars to help younger scholars better integrate into the organisation. During my study days, I was invited to scholars’ gatherings and Dinner-and-Dance events to network with fellow MPA colleagues. These social arrangements have further reinforced my bond with the organisation and hence have enabled me to better assimilate into the organisation upon graduation.

A Further Leap
From the start, I was deployed to work in the Division’s Port Development Department. This assignment has been both fulfilling and enriching. After two and a half year with the department, I am still intrigued by the complexity of the issues at hand and the necessity to make difficult decisions based on impartial grounds whilst striving towards efficiency and equity. In addition, the need to get acquainted quickly with the workings of the dynamic maritime industry has added further challenges in this job. These attractive elements of my work have inevitably reinforced my commitment to a career in the public sector. This commitment has further motivated me to embark on a masters in Public Administration with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

It is now 8.00 pm. After a slow drive home and a light supper, I settled in my favourite couch with a glass of wine. It has been a rewarding day at work and I am sure there will be many more such days in future.

I am indeed grateful to be part of the vibrant maritime industry and be given the privilege to make a real difference in people’s lives. There is nothing more that I can ask for.

MPA Undergraduate Scholarship
Age: 27
Now: Asst Manager, Policy Dept
Attained: BEng (1st Class Hons) in Industrial & Systems Engineering, NUS
From: Hwa Chong Junior College