Emmett Goh 

Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal

Emmett Goh

School of Business & Accountancy

Just six years ago, Emmett Goh found himself in the lock-up of Ang Mo Kio Police Station. Then 16, Emmett was arrested after getting into a fight with his school mates. While it was not his first brush with the law, the 12-hour stint in the cell jolted him out of complacency.

“There were so many thoughts running through my head. I started thinking about what I had done, and how my life would turn out to be. I decided that I couldn’t continue living this way,” recounted Emmett, whose turning point came after a friend advised him to take responsibility for his life.

“I was so lost. My friend encouraged me to further my studies and sit for the O-Levels,” said Emmett.

And so he did. After completing his O-Levels, the former Normal (Technical) student joined the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). There, he threw himself into his studies and achieved a near perfect GPA score, which earned him a spot in Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s (NP) Business Studies​ course.

“I wanted to make the most out of my time in poly. I knew that this was my chance to start afresh,” he said.

Life did not start on a rosy note for Emmett. Due to the absence of his father during his growing up years, his mother had to juggle several jobs as the sole family breadwinner. Left to his own devices, he started mixing with bad company and often got into all manner of trouble.

Agreeing to take the O-Levels was the first step that Emmett took to reverse the years of going downhill. “Because I took a longer route as compared to my peers, it has taught me to be more disciplined and determined to succeed. I always believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Emmett shared.

That was why Emmett constantly pushed himself to learn and seize every opportunity that came his way. He did a six-month internship at Metta Nairobi, an entrepreneurs’ club that brings startup communities and ecosystems together, in Kenya. It helped to boost his confidence, as he had to network with entrepreneurs and even suggest recommendations to improve the members’ experience.

Describing his time in Kenya as a “challenging experience” that shaped his life, Emmett added that it also made him realise how fortunate he is and strengthened his resolve to serve the community. An active member in the school’s LEO Club, which organises community service projects to help the needy in Singapore, Emmett hopes to become an inspirational speaker in the future.

​“I want to encourage other students and youths at risk to persevere and not to give up on their lives. I see it as my way of giving back to society, which is only fair as we’ve been given so much,” said Emmett.