Opportunity For an Education at Cambridge – with no strings attached
I was invited to tag along with Christina Chin, a reporter from The Star, to Singapore to find out why and how this scholarship came about. The session featured the co-founders of YH2 Capital, Barbara Yu and Tai Yen How; Dr Rowan Williams (Master of Magdalene College), and Corrine Lloyd (Director of Development, and Fellow, at Magdalene College). Now here’s my take on why the YH2 Scholarship is so special, and why you should apply.
The philosophy behind this scholarship particularly resonates with me for several reasons. I come from a low-income family with close to no assets (we owned… our car), went to a local government school (mostly in Sarawak) for eleven years, and did IB in Penang on a scholarship. Cambridge was one of only two universities that offered me a place to study law, where I was also on a scholarship. Next month I will start serving my seven-year bond.
Why Cambridge? (1) I really had nothing to lose. At worst, the entrance examination and (hopefully) the interview process would be a good learning experience. So a word of advice: if you genuinely want to apply to Cambridge and believe you have a shot at getting in, then ignore what others may say and go for it! It’s also common to hear that (2) you’ll be taught by the authors of the world’s leading textbooks on the subject, (3) have personalised group supervisions – learning through a high level of interactive and personal engagement, and (4) you’ll be the proud holder of that prestigious graduation certificate. However, looking back on my three years at university, I think what was equally, if not more important was that (5) Cambridge is an environment full of people who are deliberate and intentional about doing meaningful things with their lives by turning their passion into positive change, by being part of and contributing to something larger than themselves. Because you’ll realise in university that building friendships and taking initiative is a choice that is ultimately yours, and only yours, to make.
It’s not just about attending a good university; it’s also about attending a university that is the right fit for you. What’s great about YH2 is that Barbara herself was a student there, and still goes back to visit every time she is in the UK, so YH2 understands the kind of institution Cambridge is at its heart (see (5)), and have tailored their selection criteria to find the “hidden gem” that they feel will be a perfect fit for Cambridge – someone who (a) is passionate about their subject, (b) has an appetite for learning, and most importantly, (c) has clear, practical ideas of how they hope to make a significant contribution to not just one’s own CV, but also to the broader community at Magdalene College. Why specifically Magdalene College? Like the founders of YH2, I was also an international student at university, and understand how crucial it is to find a sense of belonging, a home-away-from-home. Barbara’s endearment towards this college stems from the fact that its small size made the people in it feel like family.
The YH2 scholarship is bond-free. That begs the question, as Christina aptly put it, “what’s the catch?” But here’s the thing: there is no catch. Tai explained that their sole aim is to offer their scholars true freedom of choice to pursue their passion without worrying about finances or being stuck in a vocation that they are not passionate about after graduating. The word that came to my mind was “ikhlas” (sincere) – to give, without expecting anything in return. What Tai and Barbara are wanting to do, in short, is to pass on the baton, or pen, to the next generation to write the second chapter of their story; a story of empowerment and inspiration to keep dreaming big.
A final note: YH2 is a hugely successful investment company that has no outside capital, which means that they really know how to spot a long-term, worthwhile investment! So congratulations if you become the recipient of this scholarship; know that the selection committee has seen something truly unique in you and are cheering you on! I wish you all the best, and I hope you’ll enjoy your time in Cambridge as much as I’ve enjoyed mine.
By Caryl Teh
P.S. This has been my take on the YH2 scholarship so please I encourage you to follow the links below to know more about the people who want to invest in your life, and also be inspired by their story.
For more detailed information, visit YH2 Capital’s official website:
For a professional reporter’s scoop on this, check out Christina Chin’s articles on The Star Malaysia: