It takes a whole organisation of passionate and aligned individuals to build the heart of a nation. This feature sheds light on what goes on behind the scenes of achieving this.
The mission of the Ministry of National Development (MND) is to develop world-class infrastructure, create a vibrant and sustainable living environment, and build rooted and cohesive communities. In order to achieve these standards for Singapore, MND recruits a team of passionate leaders.
Meet Teoh Meng Wee, 38, who works at MND as Senior Assistant Director of Housing (Town Councils) Division. This is her experience on how she was groomed to excel in her role, and the fulfilment she derives at MND.
Valuing the Scholarship
Meng Wee accepted the MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholarship because she wished to serve and learn at the same time. It allows one to fully explore their potential so as to have a meaningful career. After working for about a decade, she not only wanted to build a career in the public service but serve Singaporeans with a deeper impact. “Pursuing further education served to continuously challenge my mindset and remove mental blocks to be creative and try different things in an environment with likeminded people,” she shares.
“Being the mother of twin boys meant that I could not simply give up working to focus on studying full-time. However, the MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholarship allowed me to study full time without having to worry about financial obligations as I continued being on the payroll throughout my studies.” she muses.
Reaping the Benefits
During the year-long postgraduate programme, she had the opportunity to study pressing governmental issues alongside passionate coursemates who engaged in lively discussions, challenged norms, and afforded her broader perspectives on present issues.
Meng Wee also undertook a governance study in Jakarta on issues related to landfills, their impact on the city, and how to reduce waste. Together with her coursemates, she learned that there are many possible creative solutions around challenging situations in a different environment from Singapore. The study helped her realise that there are more ways to impact lives in a positive manner.
Applying It to Dynamic Career Roles
In her current role since returning to MND after her postgraduate studies, Meng Wee’s job involves promulgating good governance practices among Town Councils. “It is something close to my heart since I am a HDB dweller myself with a family. I know the importance of living in a safe, clean and well-maintained estate,” she explains.
She goes into deeper details on these objectives. Meng Wee and her colleagues in the Town Councils’ team are charged with developing, reviewing, and implementing policies with respect to Town Councils. “Following the amendments made to the Town Councils Act that came into force in 2017, we are developing a Code of Governance for Town Councils that will set out principles of good governance and highlight best practices that can guide the Town Councils in better executing their fiduciary responsibilities. Besides this, as part of ensuring Town Councils’ accountability to the residents, MND issues the Town Council Management Report annually which covers Town Councils’ performance in five key areas of estate management. We are in the process of reviewing the performance indicators and methodology to see how they can be further improved,” Meng Wee lays out.
Pressing on to a Brighter Future
With passion and hope, she says that she is looking forward to further opportunities as her career progresses. “I returned to the Ministry full of ideas and desire to implement improvements. This meant not getting easily discouraged and waiting for the right opportunity to contribute. Rushing things through is not the solution, and MND is an organisation that supports its staff in achieving career goals and aspirations,” she quips.
For aspiring scholars who wish to follow in her footsteps, she encourages them to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and be humble in the process. She advises diligence, patience, and perseverance as top qualities that will sustain them and help them to succeed at MND.
TEOH MENG WEE
MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholarship
Attained: Master of Public Administration, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
Now: Senior Assistant Director, Housing (Town Councils)
From: Ngee Ann Polytechnic