|Mr Chua Chor Teck (1939 - 1986)|
|When he signed on as an apprentice at the age of 16, very few people could have imagined that Mr Chua Chor Teck would win academic honours and rise through the ranks to become Keppel Group Managing Director, a billion-dollar shipping and marine industrial conglomerate with diversified interests.
For his services to the marine industry and the labour movement in Singapore, he was awarded the Bintang Bukti Masharakat (Public Service Star) in 1976 and Friend of Labour Award in 1980. Most notably, he was the Chairman of the Singapore Polytechnic Board of Governors since 1980.
Born in Lim Chu Kang, Mr Chua was the son of a farmer. With his three brothers and two sisters, he helped his father with the usual dawn-to-dusk work of growing vegetables and raising poultry. In 1956, he entered night school and at the same time progressed in his career.
In 1965, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Naval Architecture course at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. At that time, he was also married to his childhood sweetheart, Alice. He graduated in 1968 with 1st Class Honours, winning also the Burrill Gold Medal.
On his return to Singapore, and into the formative years of the Shipbuilding and Repair Industry, Mr Chua worked with Keppel Shipyard. His talents, dedication, robust courage and quiet strength were recognised early and he progressed rapidly from Ship-Repair Manager in 1969 to Managing Director in 1973. The next 10 years were boom years and Mr Chua was instrumental in building up Keppel into a billion dollar group with very wide interests.
Those who were fortunate to work with Mr Chua were quick to find him unassuming, approachable, honest and sincere. On close association, they would come to realise how steady, caring and committed to high quality work and good leadership he was. Invariably, all would come to respect and trust him.
He died of a tumour in the liver at the age of 47. His untimely death was a loss to his family, his country and all who knew him.