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This article was contributed by Singapore Polytechnic.
Graduate: Muhammad Khairul Afiq Bin Juma’at
Awards: Lee Kuan Yew Award, Sembcorp Marine Gold Medal, Maersk Tankers Singapore Prize, OCBC Prize
As a child, Muhammad Khairul would follow his grandfather to work and watched in amazement as the latter painted large shipping vessels. Naturally, Khairul grew up with an interest in the maritime industry.
After his G.C.E ‘O’ Levels, Khairul heard about the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) from his father’s colleague.
The Bowen Secondary alumnus visited the SP Open House and learnt about the Diploma in Marine Engineering. The real-life learning experiences and the authentic facilities, including a marine engine simulator, sealed the deal for him.
During his time in SP, Khairul interned at Bourbon Offshore Asia. There, he had the opportunity to travel to regional countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia to investigate vessel breakdowns and witness the repairs of machineries.
His positive attitude and desire to learn saw him taking up multiple roles in the company including auditing and insurance, on top of his main engineering role. In fact, the managing director was so impressed with Khairul that they offered him a full-time position within the company!
Looking at the diligent and hardworking boy today, it is hard to imagine that he had a rebellious past. During his secondary school years, Khairul wasn’t interested in his studies and would often skip remedial classes to hang out with friends.
He would even lie to his parents that he was staying late to study in school when he was playing computer games at an internet cafe. Once, he was caught by his mother and till today, he still remembers the look of disappointment on her face.
The turning point for Khairul came when his father was admitted to the hospital after a work accident. This was a wakeup call for him as he realised the fragility of life. He decided to become more mature and responsible to make his parents proud.
He also worked as a part-time dishwasher at Malay weddings to help lessen the financial burden on his parents. Despite his busy schedule, Khairul still makes time to volunteer regularly at his mosque, where he helps out at events and teaches the younger children to recite the Quran.
Khairul will be pursuing his Degree in Maritime Studies at Nanyang Technological University after his national service.
Read more about Singapore Polytechnic's top graduates here.