MEET THE WINNER OF THE SAL PRIZE 2021
SAL Associate Student Member Wee Jong Xuan on life in law school and life after it.
BY ASHUTOSH RAVIKRISHNAN
For a sense of just how unique SAL Associate Student Member Wee Jong Xuan’s outlook is, look no further than his reason for entering law school. “My childhood ambition was to be an artist and even a doctor at one point. Law seemed to blend the two: the creativity and flexibility of art, with medicine’s ability to help people.”
Jong, as he is known to his friends, also leaned towards law school because of the advice of his late father, who passed away shortly before Jong entered law school. “He told me my critical thinking skills were strong and that I would be able to use them well in law school.”
His father’s passing prompted Jong to take a slightly different path from his peers. “I chose to spend more time volunteering and spending time with my family than taking on moots or international competitions,” he tells SAL. But his choice did not affect his eventual success: Jong went on to top his cohort at NUS and he clinched the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) Prize as well. The cash prize of $3,000 is presented to the top student who scores the highest marks in NUS’ fourth-year LLB exams. Here, he shares his memories of law school and plans for his career.
You volunteered a fair bit during law school. Tell us about the experience.
One project I remember especially well was the Rajah & Tann PDPA Compliance Scheme. It had us going to various NGOs and assisting them in complying with changing PDPA regulations and conducting training workshops for them. That was eye-opening because it showed me how my unique training and knowledge could come to the aid of others. Another exciting project involved undertaking deputyship applications for beneficiaries in MINDS. These projects have been very fulfilling and I hope that kind of fulfilment will be a recurring theme in my career.
What are your fondest memories of your time at law school?
(Laughs) I joined law school fresh out of the army, full of verbal shorthand and slang (note to readers: we clarified, and this didn’t mean vulgarities. Instead, it describes being too brief). During a module on legal communication, my tutor called me out (and rightly so) and told me to work on my oral advocacy. I thus tried to hone that skill with the invaluable help of my peers and seniors! By the end of the year, I was privileged to be chosen for the Dentons Rodyk Moots, which is reserved for top freshmen orators. The experience showed me just how far one can go with the support of community. It was especially memorable because my family was present to witness the moment too!
If you could do something differently, what would it be?
I’d probably plan my time a little better. In my first year, I realised that I had to spend my December break re-learning the entire curriculum instead of taking some time off. So I’ve learnt to be a lot more cognizant of what needs to be done and planning for it.
How are you hoping your career will pan out?
I don’t feel particularly strongly about pursuing any one field of law. I still see the law as a means to an end—the end being service to the community. I can’t tell you definitely where I’m heading but if I’m on the path of service, it’ll be good enough a career for me. It may sound idealistic but I think I’d be happy with such a path!
Jong is presently a Deputy Public Prosecutor with the Attorney General Chambers, and will be joining the Supreme Court as a Justice’s Law Clerk in 2022.
Associate Student Members like Jong enjoy a 25% discount on all Academy Publishing titles and student rates for SAL events.
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