Mr Keefe Lau is not a conventional scholar. He repeated Secondary Three, took the polytechnic route and on July 19, this year became the first polytechnic student to be awarded the prestigious Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship.
Mr Lau intends to study political science in an overseas university. The 21-year-old, who was active in community service during his RP days, said he made up his mind to sign on as a SAF regular a few weeks before he enlisted.
“Being this firm on the spirit of public service, I felt it was most appropriate that I continue my path in giving back to support our forefathers and shape the future of Singapore for our people,” he said. “I intend to pursue political science to understand greater on the governance of a nation and how to optimise it. With this in mind, I hope that the experience I have gained and will be gaining in my journey would prove to be fruitful in equipping me to provide the best I can for our community.”
In May 2019, Mr Lau graduated with a Diploma in Health Services Management (Merit) with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Besides excelling in his studies, Mr Lau also served as Vice-President of the Student Council in 2017.
Outside of school, Mr Lau had previously volunteer at the Institute of Mental Health and nursing homes. He helped the residents to cut their hair and attend to their personal hygiene needs.
Mr Lau cites scientist Albert Einstein’s belief that it is everyone’s duty to give back to the world what he or she have taken from it. Mr Lau said: “In the time that I have spent with the community, I also understood that it is my responsibility to return what I have gain and benefited from the success of our nation. And it begins from contributing in the many different ways regardless of magnitude back to the community young or old, for those in the past or future.”
However, Mr Lau’s journey was not always smooth sailing. He did badly during his first three years in Maris Stella High School as he neglected his studies to pursue his passion in archery.
“It was a sport that I was passionate about and enjoyed partaking which saw me to go overseas to compete for Singapore,” he said.
Mr Lau transferred to the Singapore Sports School, but had to repeat Secondary Three as his academic foundation was weak.
Mr Lau told Pioneer Magazine: “I had struggled academically before I took the polytechnic route, which may not be as conventional as those who received the scholarship.
“While academic achievement is important, what matters more…is the right values, the right attitude and willingness to serve what is greater than us. Being scholars of the SAF, our main priority is not about ourselves but the nation at hand, the people we protect.”