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Nan Chiau High School

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Nan Chiau High School
Nánqiáo Zhōngxué
Nan Chiau High School Crest
Nan Chiau High School 2015.jpg
20 Anchorvale Link, Singapore 545079
Sengkang New Town
Coordinates 1°23′19″N 103°53′25″E / 1.388713°N 103.890282°E / 1.388713; 103.890282Coordinates: 1°23′19″N 103°53′25″E / 1.388713°N 103.890282°E / 1.388713; 103.890282
School type Government-aided,
Special Assistance Plan (SAP)
Motto 诚·毅
(Sincerity & Perseverance)
Established 8 March 1947 [1][2]
Founder Mr Tan Kah Kee
Session Single Session
School code 7112
Principal Mr Tan Yee Kan
Enrolment approx. 1250
Red, Yellow, Blue, White
Guiding Principle 有教无类
(egalitarian education)
Mission To broaden the minds of NCzens, nurturing bicultural learners who lead, serve and inspire
Vision A Distinctive Institution of World-Ready Thinkers and Leaders
Philosophy 力求卓越
(Aspire to Excel)

Nan Chiau High School (NCHS) (simplified Chinese: 南侨中学; traditional Chinese: 南僑中學; pinyin: Nánqiáo Zhōngxué; Wade–Giles: Nan2Ch'iao2 Chung1hsüeh2) is a premier co-educational institution in Singapore affiliated to Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, offering the four-year Special/Express course for secondary education.[3]

Founded in 1947, the institution currently operates under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) for bilingualism and biculturalism with the mission to nurture bilingual and bicultural students who are highly knowledgeable in the Chinese language and culture.[4][5] Affirmed as the North Zone Centre of Excellence for Chinese Language, the school is highly regarded of its strong Chinese foundation in terms of teaching of the language and promulgation of the heritage and culture, which are not confined in the classrooms.[6]

The institution is currently one of Singapore's leading ICT Schools, and is also one of the joint organisers for the National Secondary School Chinese Creative Writing Competition.[7][8]


Nan Chiau Teachers' Training College (1941–1947)[edit]

Nan Chiau High School was initially set up as Nan Chiau Teachers' Training College in 1941 by Mr Tan Kah Kee, a Chinese businessman, community leader and philanthropist.[9] The initial schooling site was incorporated from mansions donated by Mr Lee Kong Chian, on a plot of land in River Valley.[10] The campus was used as the base and training barracks for Dalforce, a Chinese volunteers’ army formed promptly before the Japanese invasion in 1942.[11]

Nan Chiau Girls High School (1947–1984)[edit]

In 1947, Nan Chiau Teachers' Training College was converted into a girls' high school, featuring a primary school section. Mr Yang Zhen Li was the first Principal of the institution, with an initial student enrollment of 900.[12] A female hostel was also built in the 1950s.[13] In 1965, 2 million dollars was spent by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan to rebuild Nan Chiau Girl's High School to meet the needs of an increased student enrollment. During the re-construction, the high school section conducted lessons at a temporary campus at Guillemard Road, whilst the primary school section continued lessons at the unaffected classroom blocks of the Kim Yam Road campus. The new campus was officially opened by then Minister for Education Mr. Ong Pang Boon, on 8 March 1969.[14]

In 1974, the student population of the institution went up to 2692, the highest in the school’s history, with 48 classes in the high school section and 24 classes at the primary school section. To cope with the increased enrollment, additional 300 thousand dollars was spent for constructing the 5th storey of the school building.[15]

In 1978, Nan Chiau Girls' High was initially included in the list of newly established Special Assistance Plan Schools. However, with the concern from the Ministry of Education over the quality of students admitted, the number of SAP schools were amended to nine, which excluded Nan Chiau Girl's High School.[16] In 1980 the institution adopted English as its language medium. As student enrolment started to decline, the institution went co-educational in 1984 with the enrollment of male students, and was renamed "Nan Chiau High School"[17]

Relocation to Sengkang (1984–2000)[edit]

A picture of the main building of Nan Chiau High School's former Kim Yam Road campus in 1990.

In the 1990s, the declining student population became more significant and the institution was on the verge of permanent closure. In 2000, Nan Chiau High School relocated to Sengkang New Town under an agreement with the Singapore Land Authority.[18] The primary section separated to form Nan Chiau Primary School and relocated to 50 Anchorvale Link.[19] That year, Nan Chiau High School was also ranked the top value-added school in the Ministry of Education's 1999 ranking of Special/Express schools in Singapore.[15][20]

Designation of SAP Status (2001 – Present)[edit]

An aerial view of Nan Chiau High School campus taken in 2015

In November 2010, Nan Chiau High School was formally recognised by the Ministry of Education to be included as the 11th Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school, with effect from 2012. The news was brought forth by minister of education Dr Ng Eng Hen during his opening address at the Singapore Hokkien Festival, and was welcomed by numerous school alumni and educators, who were delighted to see that the institution can finally fulfill its mission to preserve and advocate the Chinese heritage and culture with more support from the government.[21][22] In commemoration, a public musical performance was staged at Nanyang Polytechnic on 23 June 2012. Themed "Equilibrium", the musical was the first public performance in the institution's history to have the production and songs composed entirely by teachers and students.[23]

On 29 December 2013, a home-coming event was held at the former Nan Chiau High School campus at 46 Kim Yam Road, which thousands of alumni, former and present principals, teachers and staff of the institution gathered at the former school hall in a brunch buffet setting. The event was held before the official relaunch of the site of the former campus as a commercial development of offices, schools and F&B establishments.[24]

In March 2015, Nan Chiau High School celebrated its 68th School Anniversary. Themed “Appreciating our Past, Inspiring the Future”, the event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, which saw the school and the community coming together to mark the occasion with a celebration of SG50, the outstanding achievements of the students, as well as the completion of the school’s upgrading works which costed a total of 2.67 million dollars.[25] The school upgrading works were co-funded by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, comprising a revamp of canteen, air-conditioned library, as well as the construction of the park square and a new 300 seat auditorium.[26][27]


Name of Principal Native name Years Served
Mr Yang Zhen Li 杨振礼先生 1947–1950
Mdm Qiu Rentuan 邱仁端女士 1951–1960
Mdm Lin Fanglan 林芳兰女士 1961–1968
Mdm Kau Ah Suo[28] 高亚思女士 1969–1988
Mr Su Wei Cher 苏伟哲先生 1989–1997
Mr Ng Lee Huat 黄利发先生 1998–2004
Mr Yeo Kuerk Heng[29] 杨昱贤先生 2004
Mr Ong Kian Choon 王建春先生 2004–2010
Mr Tan Yee Kan[30] 陈毅刚先生 2011–Present

School Identity & Culture[edit]


The school motto "诚毅" inscribed on a stone tablet in Nan Chiau High's Front Garden

Nan Chiau High School's motto, Sincerity & Perseverance (诚·毅), is set after the philosophy of its founder, Mr Tan Kah Kee. The motto is also shared by all Hokkien Huay Kuan schools, as well as several institutions in mainland China with the same founder, such as Xiamen Jimei Middle School of Fujian, Jimei University[31] & Xiamen University.[32]

  • "Sincerity" or , meant to be truthful to self and others
  • "Perseverance" or , meant the dedication and persistence in the pursuit of excellence in the face of challenges.[33]


Original school crest of Nan Chiau Girl's High School in 1982. The interlocking rings of the original school crest are preserved in the current school crest.

The school crest of Nan Chiau High School is represented by three interlocking rings, which symbolises its students' moral, physical and intellectual development.[34]

The red colour of the rings depicts a persevering spirit in the pursuit of a bright and promising future, as represented by the golden background.

The heart shape in the centre of the overlapping rings symbolizes care and concern for the total welfare of the pupils in a student-oriented system.[35][36]


Nan Chiau High School keeps its original school anthem in Mandarin. The anthem was written by Ms Lin Zhen Ru, and moderated by Professor Zhao Xingdao (Mr.) in the early 1950s.[37][38] The same anthem is shared with Nan Chiau Primary School, which was formerly its ancillary primary school before 2001.[39][40]

Attire and Appearance[edit]

Nan Chiau High School's uniform is closely linked to its heritage as a former traditional Chinese school. Originally, the school uniform was in full white with the Chinese name of the school sewed on the right chest level of the blouse, much similar to other institutions with Chinese heritage.[41] Nearing the 1990s, the school uniform was switched to be worn with dark coloured school pants or pinafore, with dark coloured school tag was sewed on the left side of the shirt.[42] The uniform was redesigned to suit the school's identity along with the relocation of the campus in 2000.[43]

Currently, male students wear white studded shirts with Traditional Chinese characters of the school name on it in red. Navy blue shorts are worn in secondary 1 & 2, and long pants for upper secondary levels. Female students wear white blouses bearing the Traditional Chinese characters of the school name on it in red, with navy blue pleated skirts. During Assemblies and important functions, every student will wear a red-coloured school tie.[44][45]


Nan Chiau High School is known for its strict regulations and discipline, with minimal tolerance to misbehaviour of its students.[46] In 2004 the principal stepped down after admitting an overly harsh disciplinary action, despite the backing of many alumni and parents stressing that the action taken was justified.[47][48]


The Aesthetics Block of Nan Chiau High School's campus, viewed across the Quadrangle.

Nan Chiau High School’s current campus covers 7.2 acres of land off Sengkang East Avenue, constructed under the School Management Model granted by the Ministry of Education in 2000.[19] The campus was officially declared open by then Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Mr. Teo Chee Hean on 8 March 2003. The five-storey building cluster consists of an Administrative Block, a Science & Research Block, an Aesthetics block, and three classroom blocks.[33]

The Kong Chian Hall (main hall of Nan Chiau High School) was named after the school’s co-founder, Mr Lee Kong Chian. The air-conditioned hall is the common venue for weekly assemblies and dialogue sessions, as well as hosting competitions and symposiums such as the National Secondary School Chinese Creative Writing Competition and the NYP-YTSS-NCHS Science Research Symposium.[49]

The 300-seat auditorium, housed at the fourth level of the aesthetics block, was converted from an Air Rifle Shooting Range under the two-year school upgrading project in 2012 funded by the School Management and Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan. The auditorium provides a venue for performances apart from the main hall, as well as conducting sharing talks and academic lectures.[50]

The revamped Library, opened in 2013, features dedicated study areas, a small platform to hold forums and press conferences,[51] as well as three discussion rooms available for student-teacher consultations, projects and group studies. As a North 4 Cluster Centre of Learning for Chinese Language, Nan Chiau High School also features 2 language labs catering for enhanced Chinese programmes and activities. The labs are currently used to host the Young Writer’s Programme for students of six schools in the North 4 Cluster, as well as the school’s Chinese calligraphy society.[52]

Other facilities in NCHS include a gymnasium, an indoor sports hall, a central plaza, an open-concept canteen, an eco-garden and a 1.3 acres field.[53]

Academic details and curriculum[edit]

O Level express course[edit]

As a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school, Nan Chiau High School offers the four-year Express course which leads up to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level national examination, complemented by its signature cultural intelligence and global classroom programmes.[7] Throughout the 4 years, NCHS students are exposed to a broad range of cultural knowledge and life skills alongside the academic curriculum.

All NCHS students expect a 2-week based timetable, with supplementary lessons for four days allocated to individual subjects according to their academic needs (with the exception for Wednesdays).[54][55]

A common educational procedure for the four-year Express course, subject combination streaming for NCHS students is carried out at Secondary Two level. Usually, nine classes (A to I) will be allocated per cohort for upper secondary levels, with 2 classes allocated for students taking 3 pure science subjects (commonly known as “Triple-Science” combinations).[56]

Nan Chiau High students has sustained academic and non-academic results. A Band 1 school since 2006, the institution has developed students with exceptional results for both GCE ‘O’ Level academic subjects as well as Co-Curricular Activities (or CCA). In 2014, Nan Chiau High School's ‘O’ Level students achieved a Mean-Score (based on L1R5 Grading) of 10.6, with more than 90% of the students obtaining A1 grading for CCA involvement.[57]

Academic subjects[edit]

The examinable academic subjects for Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level offered by Nan Chiau High School for upper secondary level (via. streaming in secondary 2 level), as of 2017, are listed below.[7]


  1. Subjects indicated with ' * ' are mandatory subjects.
  2. All students in Singapore are required to undertake a Mother Tongue Language as an examinable subject, as indicated by ' ^ '.
  3. "SPA" in Pure Science subjects refers to the incorporation of School-based Science Practical Assessment, which 20% of the subject result in the national examination are determined by school-based practical examinations, supervised by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. The SPA Assessment has been replaced by one Practical Assessment in the 2018 O Levels.[58]


  • Additional Mathematics*
  • Mathematics*
  • Physics (SPA)
  • Chemistry (SPA)*
  • Biology (SPA)
  • Science (Combined), offered as a last resort to students unable to cope with Pure Science subjects.

Language & Literature

  • English Language*
  • English Literature
  • Chinese Language* ^
  • Higher Chinese Language
  • Chinese Literature
  • Malay (Special Programme)


  • Geography
  • History
  • Combined Humanities (Social Studies & History Elective/Geography Elective)*

Arts & Aesthetics

  • Art & Design
  • Design & Technology
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Higher Art
  • Music
  • Higher Music

SAP Flagship Programme (Cultural Intelligence)[edit]

The SAP Flagship Programme forms a major part of Nan Chiau High’s niche curriculum as a SAP school. It is designed with the incorporation of Howard Gardner’s “Five Minds for the Future” (Disciplined Mind, Synthesizing Mind, Ethical Mind, Creating Mind, Respectful Mind), with an additional sixth mind, the ‘Bi-cultural Mind’.[59]

The flagship programme develops students' interest in learning about eastern and western cultures by providing them with opportunities to integrate both cultures and to be immersed in other cultures, and to have in-depth understanding of the essence of both the east and the west, thus preparing students to become inclusive talents who are effectively bilingual and able to make strong and meaningful connections with the world. The four-year flagship programme is mainly made up of two segments, namely 'Broad-Base Curriculum' and 'Peaks of Excellence', which include cultural intelligence and life education to groom students to be world-ready. The 'Broad-Base Curriculum' spans the first year of the students' admission, with the introduction to Chinese culture and history, the history of Chinese immigrants and understanding diversity of local cultures. This is inculcated through various platforms such as cultural intelligence forums, bi-cultural camps, and Chinese lyrics competitions, as well as local and regional learning journeys.[60]

The 'Peaks of Excellence' curriculum is continuous with the 'Broad-Base Curriculum', with more elaborate programmes that cater to students’ talent development. For instance, the Young Writers Programme, which is open to students who are interested in writing, has lessons conducted by various renowned Chinese language essayists in the region to expose and familiarise students to different forms of writing, and encourage them to appreciate different forms of written work. Students also have opportunities to attend cultural symposiums, national and international bi-cultural forums, research on contemporary issues, and embark on refined overseas immersions to strengthen their world and cultural views under the Global Classroom Programme.[61][62]

Life Education Programme[edit]

A student representative presenting their Arduino Shieldbot creation to visiting Malaysian Minister during a gift presentation ceremony at imbX Ministerial Forum in 2014.

Apart from development of cultural intelligence, life skills are also incorporated into the curriculum to prepare students for the future, by assisting students in the acquisition of various life skills that will be useful as they become part of the 21st century workforce. The Learning for Life Programme (LLP) provides a unique cognitive-aesthetic domain of learning through drama, public speaking, debate, puppetry and creative Chinese lyrical composition, to strengthen self-expression and nurtures aesthetics appreciation in students, as well as to allow them to learn and embrace cultural diversity.[63]

In the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Applied Learning Programme (STEM ALP), students explore using Arduino Micro-controller in health related science and technology. Students also acquire science research skills to deepen their proficiency in Sciences.[64][65]

Enhanced Art Programme (EAP)[edit]

Since 2013, Nan Chiau High School is a certified education centre for the Enhanced Art Programme (EAP) for students who have keen interest in pursuing arts and design. Introduced in 2011 by the Ministry of Education, the two-year programme provide an enriched learning environment for Secondary 3 and 4 students who are inclined towards Art, as a complementary to the Art Elective Programme (AEP). Enrichment programmes such as the Aesthetics Week, Student-Initiated Project in Art and Lower Secondary Integrated Art Modules are also integrated for deepened understanding and application opportunities for the art students.[66]

Exchange Programmes (Global Classroom Programme)[edit]

A batch of students during an annual immersion trip to Beijing Yuying Middle School.

Nan Chiau High School has its unique overseas learning programme that offers all students an opportunity to go on subsidised learning trips to deepen their understanding on their academic subjects, perform community projects or involvement as part of the programmes within their Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). Through this programme, opportunities are also infused for interaction with students, educators and subject specialists around the region and the globe. These included famous writers, entrepreneurs, and students from sister schools such as Ming-Dao High School of Taiwan & Sagano High School of Kyoto, Japan.[62]

Co-curricular Activities[edit]

Nan Chiau High School offers a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, labelled Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) by the Ministry of Education, consisting of sports groups, uniformed groups, performing arts, clubs and societies. Of which, many CCAs have attained spectacular performances throughout the years of history of the institution since its relocation to Sengkang in 2001.

The NCHS National Cadet Corps unit (NCHSNCC) has been awarded Gold for 19 consecutive years, winning the Best Unit Competition (BUC) in 2014.[67] The National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC, currently the largest uniformed group in Singapore) unit of the institution have attained Gold Award consecutively for 9 years in the annual Unit Overall Proficiency Award (UOPA).[68] The NCHS Red Cross Youth attained the Community Service Award (Gold) for years 2010 and 2013, and the Excellence Unit Award (Gold) for years 2011 and 2012.[69] The Scouts of Nan Chiau High School, despite newly established in 2011, have attained the National Patrol Camp Best Newcomer Award, and National Patrol Camp Overall Silver in 2013.[70]

A niche of Nan Chiau High School, the performing arts groups have consistently attained Certificates of Accomplishment and Certificates of Distinction in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) since the change of Central Judging Assessment to Arts Presentation Assessment in 2012.[71] The 2007 SYF Central Judging Assessment saw the Chinese dance, String Orchestra and Choir attained Gold with Honour, with Chinese Orchestra, Chinese LDDS, English LDDS, Contemporary Dance and Wind Orchestra attaining Silver. In 2011 saw the Chinese Dance, Choir and English LDDS attaining Gold with Honours at the SYF Central Judging. Performing Arts groups of the institution also reaches out to the community through public performances, for instance the FOCUS held in 2016 at the Anchorvale Community Club.[72]

The clubs and societies of Nan Chiau High School allowed for more varieties of exposure to skills and interests of the students, and have achieved outstanding achievements. The NCHS Robotics Club is the retaining zonal champion of the DSTA-DSO East Zone Robotics Challenge since 2014, and have been organising annual competition for primary and secondary school students since 2009.[73] The Multimedia Club attained the Best School Award for consecutive years 2014 and 2015 in the Canon Photo Marathon.[74]

The full listing of co-curricular activities (CCAs) offered by Nan Chiau High School is featured below.

Sports and games[edit]

Uniformed groups[edit]

Performing Arts[edit]

  • Chinese Dance
  • Chinese Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Chinese Drama (CLDDS)
  • English Drama (ELDDS)
  • Contemporary Dance
  • String Orchestra
  • Wind Orchestra

Clubs and Societies[edit]

Visual Arts and Culture[edit]

Student Council[edit]

The student council is a co-curricular appointment for student leaders, which serves as a platform of communication within the institution. Distinguished by their striped red ties, the student councillors take up responsibilities of daily functions of the school, and are involved in the running of school events, initiatives and services that concerns the welfare of the school cohort. Student councillors also take up the role of ambassadors of the school during major school events and functions.[79]

Class Council[edit]

The Class Council is formed by the representatives of individual classes. Apart maintaining discipline procedures in the class, the class council functions alongside the student council as a bridge between the school and the students, and building unity and class spirit through the participation in organising inter-class competitions.[79]

NCHS Falcons[edit]

The NCHS FALCONS on leadership training at Xueshan in Taichung, Taiwan in November 2011

The NCHS Falcons is a voluntary student leadership team in Nan Chiau High School composed of able CCA leaders, taking responsibility of school leadership training and school-based events.[80] The name "F.A.L.C.O.N.S." stands as an acronym for the team's cause, "Focused on Adding values to others, to Lead, build Character with ON-going learning to Serve".[81] The annual events handled by NCHS Falcons include school camps as well as school-based leadership workshops for year one and two students.[82]

Community Outreach[edit]

SHINES in Harmony[edit]

A student-operated food stall during Nan Chiau High School's annual SHINES in Harmony Carnival in 2012.

Since 2005, Nan Chiau High School organises the single day community fund raising event annually to raise funds for the community welfare organisations around the district such as the CDAC, REACH Family Service Centre.[83][84] The event is open to the public, which the students, alumni and the parents support group of the institution set up food and games booths around the campus, as well as put up performances for the community to engage for a good cause.

Relation with Other Schools[edit]

Combined Sports Meet[edit]

Nan Chiau High School, Xinmin Secondary School & Yishun Town Secondary School hold combined sports meets yearly since 2013 to give student athletes from the participating schools a platform to showcase their physical talent and also for the schools to unite together to celebrate and enjoy. Apart from the inter-school competitions among students, parent-teacher races are also featured to engage the parents and school staff.[85]

NYP-YTSS-NCHS Science and Technology Research Programme[edit]

The NYP-YTSS-NCHS Science and Technology Research Programme is a collaborated initiative between Nanyang Polytechnic, Yishun Town Secondary School and Nan Chiau High School for upper secondary levels with the aim of providing opportunities for capable science students to acquire science knowledge beyond academic syllabus, carry out research modules using contemporary technology, and interact with specialists in the relevant fields of Sciences and Information Technology. The research projects are presented in the form of an annual symposium hosted by Yishun Town Secondary and Nan Chiau High alternately, which serves as a platform for students involved to showcase their work to fellow schoolmates and counterparts from other schools.[49][86]

School Alumni[edit]

Nan Chiau High School boosts a significant alumni community, comprising alumni from both Nan Chiau High School and Nan Chiau Primary School, which were once affiliated. The community under various bodies continues to organise events and programmes that bonds the alumni together, as well as contributing alongside the school committee to benefit the students’ of both institutions.

Nan Chiau Alumni Association[edit]

Nan Chiau Alumni Association (NCAA) is the main alumni body of Nan Chiau High School and Nan Chiau Primary School. Formed on 12 January 1990 at the Kim Yam Road campus, the association works closely with the two institutions to preserve the traditional values of the schools while placing emphasis on the moral, physical, cognitive, social and aesthetic aspects of students’ development. It also serves as a platform for all members from the Nan Chiau family to socialise and stay in contact with each other.[87] With the relocation and separation of Nan Chiau High School with the ancillary primary school section in December 2000, NCAA presently functions at both Nan Chiau Primary School and Nan Chiau High School. In 2001, the NCAA started the Weekend Activities Program at Nan Chiau Primary School to complement the school curriculum, and is highly successful for providing a holistic education for the primary school pupils.[88]

Youth of Nan Chiau[edit]

Youth of Nan Chiau is the youth wing of the Nan Chiau Alumni Association that comprises the youth graduates from both Nan Chiau High and Nan Chiau Primary. The youth wing plays a supportive role alongside the NCAA during events, gatherings when need arises. The youth wing also organizes activities for students of Nan Chiau High and Nan Chiau Primary on an ad-hoc basis.[89]

Nan Chiau Youth Mentors[edit]

Group photo of the 2015–16 batch of Nan Chiau Youth Mentors (NCYM)

The Nan Chiau Youth Mentors (NCYM) consists of young graduates from Nan Chiau High School who have strong passion of providing assistance to the juniors within the scope of a holistic education. The members of team works alongside the school to provide assistance and sharing for upper secondary levels preparing for the GCE O Level national examinations, as well as individual mentorship of their former Co-curricular Activities (CCAs).[90][91]

Notable Alumni[edit]

Education and Politics[edit]

Business and Enterprise[edit]

  • Mr. Jason Yeo - Founder and Chief Executive of JCS Group.[95][96]
  • Ms. Han Kim Ling: Product Lifecycle Manager, Volex; Former Project Manager, Tyco Electronics)[97]




External links[edit]


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