LawLink July 2014
Law students inspired by selfless giving of successful lawyer
Thanks to a generous gift from Ms Ella Cheong over two years ago, the Ella Cheong Intellectual Property Scholarship and Bursary Fund at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS), has enabled many financially needy and academically gifted students to enjoy the distinctive legal education offered at Asia’s leading law school.
When Ms Ella Cheong was a successful intellectual property (IP) lawyer in Hong Kong, she was invited to Singapore to set up an intellectual property firm, originally known as Ella Cheong & Co. It has since been renamed Ella Cheong LLC and has become a leading intellectual property group throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Ms Cheong attributed her success in part to Singapore and wanted to give back to the country and NUS, where her daughter-in-law studied. Through her generosity, many bright and deserving students were able to pursue their passions in law without financial worry.
Scholarship recipient Royston Tan is very inspired by Ms Cheong’s generosity. He says: “Her selfless and unconditional giving reaffirms my commitment to always do good and spread the goodwill.”
As the first lawyer-to-be to emerge from his entire extended family, the money went a long way in paying off his study loan and puts his family in a better financial position to fund his two younger sisters' undergraduate education.
“I come from a normal working class family. My grandparents were born in Malacca and came over to Singapore in the early 1960s with close to nothing in their pockets. My grandfather worked as a bus driver and eventually managed to send three of his five children to university,” Royston shares.
Royston gives back to the community by being involved in debate coaching, mooting and law review work.
For another scholarship recipient, Kok Yee Keong, the award not only opened his eyes to the fascinating world of IP law, but also provided him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend an international exchange programme.
“The award allowed me to attend an International Exchange Programme in Hamburg, Germany, for one semester. The exchange programme has broadened my horizons vastly. I learnt the different cultures and legal systems, made friends from all around the world and became more appreciative of what we have back home in Singapore and in NUS,” he shares.