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Bursary set up by daughter of late prominent Chinese leader and wife

27 Jun 2018

Dr Chen Deah Chien ('73)

National University of Singapore alumna, Dr Chen Deah Chien (‘73), has set up the Mr and Mrs Chen Sing Wu Bursary at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, in honour of her late parents.

Her father, the late Mr Chen Sing Wu, was an esteemed diplomat, businessman and community leader. Born in 1911 in Fujian’s Zhangzhou Haicheng, he received his education at Tan Kah Kee’s Jimei High School and Xiamen University. In his younger days, Mr Chen served as a Trade Representative for the then Republic of China, and he was sent to Southeast Asia to oversee the affairs of overseas Chinese in the cities of Pontianak, Surabaya and Cirebon in Indonesia. He was elected the President of the Pontianak Chinese General Association (Zhonghua Gonghui) and President of the Chen Clan Association, among many others. Settling in Singapore in the late 1940s, Mr Chen subsequently became a banker. He was the Chief Liaison Officer at Chung Khiaw Bank and then worked as the Business Advisor to OCBC’s Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan.

A trained accountant and lawyer with over 25 extensive years of experience in the accounting, legal and banking fields, Dr Chen has always been a crusader for health. She majored in accountancy at the National University of Singapore, but has always been passionate about nutrition and health. This led her to train in nutrition at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, and further her studies in public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, where she eventually obtained her Master in Public Health. Her experiences working on the grounds of the Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston also shaped her conviction that health is indeed wealth.

A write-up on Mr Chen Sing Wu in the Chang Chow General Association’s publication in 1948
(Image from NUS Giving)

In 2011, she founded Harvest Prime, an enterprise that raises funds for charities like Red Cross and World Vision to educate school children and young adults on healthy living. Dedicated to her mission of reducing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems, she strongly believes that the key lies in starting from an early age and educating the young about health and nutrition.

“I hope this gift will enable more aspiring public health professionals to pursue their Master of Public Health at the School, so that they may be empowered to promote the prevention of diseases and improve the health of their communities,” said Dr Chen.

Indeed, the School has—for nearly 70 years—been committed to educating, mentoring and inspiring our students to advance population health across the world. With its mission of turning discovery into healthier communities, the School has much to offer students from Singapore and the region who want to become agents of change to improve the health of their communities. Yet for many students who seek the best public health education in the region to make the greatest impact, lack of financial resources is the most significant barrier they face.

Dr Chen’s generous gift to deserving students with financial need helps spread the strengths of the School in its depth of experience in public health research, education and training of future leadership. Her support will also encourage them to follow in the footsteps of both the late Mr Chen Sing Wu with his exemplary selfless, steadfast service to his community, as well as follow the lead of Dr Chen to help others in need when they are in a position to do so in future.


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