· The launch of the book "Ho See Beng: The Washerwoman's Son” served to kickstart the fundraising campaign for the Ho See Beng Bursary.
· In 2010, the Ho See Beng Scholarship and Ho See Beng Excellence Awards were established. This bursary continues the longstanding relationship between SMU and Mr Ho’s family.
“The book … gives a view from the perspective of a man of simple but profound courage who stood up to be counted at a tumultuous and pivotal moment in our history and made a difference. The story of Ho See Beng, a washerwoman’s son, reminds us that each and every Singaporean, no matter what his background, how humble he may be, he or she has a contribution to make to the Singapore story.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid this tribute to Mr Ho See Beng, a pioneer unionist and former Member of Parliament, when he jointly launched the 140-page book ‘Ho See Beng: The Washerwoman's Son’ with former president S R Nathan on 5 December 2014.
Mr Ho, who passed away in 2008 at age 90, was the first chairman of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) from 1962 to 1964, its president from 1964 to 1966, and its secretary-general from 1966 to 1967. He was also a member of the People's Action Party (PAP) and an MP between 1963 and 1984.
The book launch served to kickstart the fundraising campaign for the Ho See Beng Bursary which aims to raise $100,000 to help needy students at SMU pursue academic excellence.
“Having come from a humble and an impoverished background, our father always had a strong sense of solidarity with the less privileged, and we hope that the Ho See Beng Bursary at SMU will be a source of help for the financially needy students at the University. We are also thankful to the inaugural donors of the Bursary who have come forward to contribute to the Fund,” said Mr Ho Cheow Teck, the younger son of the late Mr Ho See Beng.
Dr Tor Lam Huat, Chairman of the Modern Confucianism Foundation, a donor to the Ho See Beng Bursary said, “This is a very meaningful initiative, just as Confucius had placed great emphasis on the importance of self-cultivation through study and service to the nation. I am honoured to be invited to contribute to the Bursary. I hope that the recipients of the Bursary will be similarly inspired to do their part and contribute back to society in future.”
The Ho See Beng Bursary continues the longstanding connection between SMU and Mr Ho’s family. In 2010, the Ho See Beng Scholarship and Ho See Beng Excellence Awards were established with contributions from the family of the late Mr Ho See Beng, his friends and business associates.
The Ho See Beng Scholarship is available to full-time undergraduate students pursuing the Bachelor of Social Science degree with the School of Social Sciences at SMU. The scholarship, valued at $9,000, is tenable for the scholar's one year of study.
The Ho See Beng Excellence Awards aims to motivate SMU students in the School of Social Sciences to achieve greater heights of academic excellence. Three excellence awards, worth $1,000 each, are given annually to outstanding graduating Social Science students - one each with first major in Psychology, Political Science and Sociology.
Mr George Wong Boon Keng, who received the Ho See Beng Scholarship in 2013 said, “The greatest privilege of being awarded the Ho See Beng scholarship is to be able to carry on the legacy of a remarkable pioneering leader, the late Mr Ho See Beng, in both spirit and in deed. It is a calling to transform academic work into practical social progress for the communities we live in. What makes this scholarship special is its emphasis on Social Sciences. It reminds our peers and fellow Ho See Beng scholars that social sciences will continue to be an essential part of knowledge generation and progress of mankind.”
Boon Keng, who is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Sociology with a focus on inequality and migrant labour added, “Personally, the Ho See Beng scholarship is a significant gesture of generosity and foresight by Mr Ho’s family. This scholarship has inspired me to be a part of the labour movement, and to commit my career to the movement.”
If you wish to contribute to the Ho See Beng Bursary, please contact giving [at] smu.edu.sg
[Featured photo: (Centre) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and 6th President of Singapore S R Nathan launching the book “Ho See Beng: The Washerwoman’s Son” with participation from SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (fourth from left),book sponsors and donors to the Ho See Beng Bursary on 5 December 2014.] [Photo: NTUC]