Connie Ong, Former Executive Director at USB AG
Tell us about yourself and your background
I am graduated from NUS Business School in 1987 and worked in the accounting, investment and private banking industries for 33 years before retiring last year. My hobbies used to be travelling the world, but since Covid it has changed to trekking every PCN, walking every park and visiting every mural in Singapore. My biggest success in 2020 is being recognised by the Singapore Book of Records for completing the 150km Round Island Route!
When did you start your giving journey? Do you remember your first time?
My giving journey started with my family, and after marriage, with my very enlarged family. Besides financial giving, my husband and I spent a lot of time advising our families on their investment and retirement plans; and on their children’s education and career choices. With that, over the last twenty years or so, ten of our nephews and nieces from Malaysia have successfully moved overseas (mostly to Singapore) to take up good study and work opportunities there.
What led you to give to NUSBSA Bursary Fund?
For me, education as a key driver of social mobility. As such, it is important and only fair that every capable child is not deprived of their needed education. Due to financial difficulties, my parents missed out on university education even though they passed the then entrance tests. Not wanting this painful experience on other capable children, I have made out my NUSBSA Bursary Fund in my parent’s name so that they can fulfil their ambition of helping needy students - not merely one off but yearly due to the conducive tax structure and Government 1.5x matching of the Fund.
What advice would you give those who not know where and how to start with giving?
Always remember that financial giving is just one option. To fully help our young generation, we can and should go beyond formal studies. So do share your work and life stories with them - they need advice on job seeking skills and career opportunities; they need to learn how best navigate work environment and how to achieve work life balance etc. Mentor them so that they become better equipped and better guided to face and succeed in this challenging and competitive world and to enjoy good social mobility.