Melvin Lim enjoys working in the national water agency.
Why did you choose the scholarship?
My appreciation of Singapore’s socio-economic and environmental achievements was what made me decide that I wanted to be involved in maintaining, if not improving, our way of life and standard of living. Water is a strategic resource for Singapore that integrates the economic, social and environmental aspects of our nation. Water treatment processes require good working knowledge of science and technology, areas in which my academic interests lie.
PUB, being the world’s leading water agency, has a solid foundation in water science and technology. Thus, I applied for the PUB Scholarship so that all my interests could come together. I am very fortunate and grateful to have been given this opportunity.
What distinguishes the PUB Scholarship is its focus on water as Singapore’s strategic resource. From water treatment to water transmission and distribution to water reclamation and even community engagement, the myriad of challenges facing PUB as Singapore’s water utility provides ample opportunities for anyone interested in tackling such challenges.
What is the work environment like? How is the working relationship with others?
The people at PUB do make a difference. Most of the people I have met, from the scholarship application process to my first posting in the Water Quality Office, are not just pleasant to work with. They are also dancers, musicians, athletes, and counsellors, each bringing something unique to the table on top of expertise in their respective professional fields. This creates a dynamic and vibrant working environment where life outside of work is encouraged. The PUB culture nurtures and grows like a family would.
My job is not desk-bound as we are frequently required to meet with external vendors, liaise with colleagues from other departments or even visit the plants and reservoirs. Even though this required more planning and scheduling, it introduced much needed flexibility and trust among colleagues. Even though our office might seem vacant at times, we know that at the end of the day we would still manage to be individually accountable for our work products and meet our company’s expectations.
How does your university training help you in your job?
Being a chemist at the Water Quality Office, the most directly applicable content from school are chemistry and statistics. However, due to the constant evolution of technology, I still had to do much reading to fill existing knowledge gaps and to keep abreast of new developments.
Self and social awareness from the many academic and social interactions in school has helped me to deal with many situations not present in conventional textbooks. Simple things like dealing with people and managing expectations seemed so unnatural when they were taught in management class. However, seeing their real-life applications made me appreciate how my professors were trying their best to convey that message to us.
The Board is generally supportive of reasonable requests. For co-curricular activities, the Board helps to subsidise costs of pursuing activities that contribute to personal development, such as for sporting competitions, conferences and seminars. I am glad that the Board has endorsed such activities that are not strictly tied to academics as personal development and well being does not depend solely on formal education but also encompasses many other aspects of life.
In terms of career development, exposure is given to a variety of PUB’s core competencies before being matched with a more specialised role that best complements PUB’s needs as well as our individual desires. Additionally, there is a mentoring programme in place to help new recruits learn the ropes and discuss non-work issues. Having a more experienced mentor who can share his or her experiences can sometimes be more comforting and reassuring when it comes down to making personal decisions.
Attained: BA Chemistry, BSc Economics and MSc Chemistry at University
of Pennsylvania, USA
Now: Chemist, Water Quality Office
From: National Junior College