~ His giving nature just reminds me so much of myself…. ~
Personally, I like to think that I’m mature for my age. It’s not that I’m in a rush to grow up. It’s just that I’ve always related and gotten along with people who are older than me. If I had to pick an adult who I look up to, I’d choose Dr. Yeap Swee Pin, my lecturer for Fluid Mechanics and Process Instrumentation and Analysis, Chemical Lab III classes back in May-August 2018, January-April 2019 and May-August 2019 respectively.
Dr. Yeap Swee Pin is one of the best lecturers in UCSI University. He is adored and appreciated by all of his students for showing tremendous effort in teaching and motivating students to reach their full potential. Till this day, I have not encountered such a lecturer with a heart like his. He genuinely cares about his students’ progress and he is willing to do his best to ensure his students succeed, not only in his subject, but in all their endeavours. Regardless of whether he’s dealing with students or his colleagues, he just knows how to give, how to live for other people. And perhaps that’s why I look up to and understand him so much. His giving nature just reminds me so much of myself.
Dr. Yeap is a lecturer from the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment. I first met Dr. Yeap back in April 2017 where he visited our “Fundamental of Mathematics” class as a guest lecturer. I had been struggling with arithmetic and geometric progression but through his explanation, I was able to cover the entire chapter in just an hour. I had no idea who he was back then. I only knew that this man was brilliant, and I never thought I’d meet him as a lecturer when I progressed to degree. I didn’t see Dr. Yeap again until March 2018 where he visited my “Calculus and Analytical Geometry II” as a substitute lecturer – and as fate would have it, he gave a lecture on arithmetic and geometric progression, but this time it was more advanced that what I had learnt in my foundation studies. I had hoped that he would teach Calculus and Analytical Geometry II for the second half of the semester but he had to assume responsibility in Year 3 and Year 4 subjects. So when I met him as a lecturer for my first Year 2 subject (“Fluid Mechanics”) I was absolutely delighted and thrilled.
“Fluid Mechanics” is hands down my favourite subject all throughout my academic journey – narrowly beating out “Thermodynamics for Chemical Engineers” and “Mathematical Methods for Engineers II”. Fluid Mechanics, as the name suggests, is the study of fluid flow in pipes; it was how the fluid profile changed throughout different sections of the pipe, how it velocity varied with the vertical radius of the pipe, how the momentum of the fluid is conserved and etc. It felt like Fluid Mechanics was the first subject where I started to think like an engineer and apply my engineering knowledge. My seniors had scared me saying that, “Fluid Mechanics is a tough subject.” In fact, I found that subject extremely enjoyable (both the theoretical and calculation aspects of it) and achieved the top score in my class. It would be unfair not to mention another lecturer whose help was fundamental to understanding and my “A” grade. Dr. Tey Wah Yen, one of the most brilliant lecturers from the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, deserves the credit for not only educating me in the subject but for continuously motivating me to learn as much as I can.
One of the reasons that I’m able to relate with Dr. Yeap is through our mutual appreciation for integrity in education. I vividly recall an incident back in the Fluid Mechanics class of May-August 2018. We had our midterm examinations and Dr. Yeap has gone the extra mile to set roll numbers for us. He simply didn’t want us to cheat and wanted us to score our midterm examination through what we had learned in class, the extent of what we had practiced and how much we understood the subject. I was placed in row H, seat number 2 but it didn’t matter to me where I was seated. Honesty is one of my defining traits as a student and I would never cheat or help another student to do so. But naturally, there were a few bad apples in the crowd. Well, ‘a few’ might be an understatement. Towards the end of the examination, Dr. Yeap looked very upset having caught around thirty of his students cheating. For a lecturer who values honesty and integrity in education, cheating was a tremendous form of disrespect which caused him to fill to the brim with rage and disappointment.
Dr. Yeap made an official announcement through a class email stating how many students from each row were caught cheating and if those students did not confess by the end of the week, they will be awarded zero marks for their midterms. His disappointment had been immense since he proceeded to cancel his lecturer classes for entire week. I, along with a few other students, felt extremely sorry that a lecturer with good intentions and a heart as pure as his had to go through with such an awful let-down. We sent him letters and emails of consolation hoping he would find comfort in our words. Sure enough, Dr. Yeap came around and thanked all the students for their support and belief in his honest teaching methods. The following week where he returned our marked exam papers, he explained his intentions to us and apologized for his anger which garnered a huge applause and a powerful sense of respect from the students. Through his actions and unwavering belief in his own principles, Dr. Yeap became a role model and a mentor for me.
From that time onwards I had continued to build a rapport with Dr. Yeap. Dr. Yeap has been an understanding soul and he is pivotal to my emotional and mental well-being. I am able to share my deepest concerns with him and he would always give his best advice. When my MATLAB group assignment got leaked to the entire class, he consoled me saying that sometimes things are not in our control and we can’t stop others bad actions. I had worked extremely hard on the assignment and I wasn’t happy that my hard work was just copy-pasted so that the other students could score full marks in their assignments. Dr. Yeap shared his university life with me and said people had taken advantage of his willingness to help for countless times. He understood that I was severely against cheating and he told me not to be too hard on myself for others ill behaviour. I found comfort in his advice and I was able to accept that some people, no matter how much you try to set an example through hard work and by doing the right thing, will never change.
Through our journey together as student and teacher, Dr. Yeap and I have come a long way. It was been a remarkable three years with him and I’m hoping I’ll be able to secure him as my supervisor for my Final Year Project (FYP) in the coming year. Dr. Yeap, for being a kind spirit and always true to himself, genuinely deserves all the happiness and success in his life.