Singapore

At 70, he has 5 diplomas, 3 bachelor's, 1 master's

This adjunct lecturer made history yesterday when he became the oldest to ever graduate from Temasek Polytechnic

He may be 70 years old, but his thirst for knowledge is unquenchable.

Yesterday, adjunct lecturer Johnnie Chia Swee Hock added a diploma in Digital Advertising Technology and Analytics from Temasek Polytechnic to his list of academic achievements.

He became the oldest-ever student to graduate from the poly, says Temasek Polytechnic.

The inspirational lifelong learner boasts a master's degree in Social Sciences (Economics), three bachelor's degrees and five diplomas.

He had started out with a Bachelor of Arts (Economic and Philosophy) in 1971 and added two more accounting-related degrees along the way, as well as an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants professional accounting qualification.

Mr Chia also has diplomas and certificates in a variety of fields ranging from computing to food hygiene.

Commenting on what motivated him to pursue his fifth diploma, Mr Chia said that if he sees a "need, now or in the future, he would take up the challenge".

The content covered in the latest diploma also adds value to his teaching job with the School of Business Management in Nanyang Polytechnic, where he specialises in marketing.

He has taught there since 2001.

To him, data analytic is somewhat like a "sub-speciality" of marketing and he wanted to learn more to highlight its relevance to his students, in contrast to how traditional textbook marketing is taught.

He also uses the knowledge gleaned from his diploma to help his friends improve their website traffic.

Mr Chia said that his friends, who are about the same age as he is, are tech-savvy and run their own websites.

At the Temasek Polytechnic yesterday, he was carrying a copy of Midnight's Descendants, a book about the 1947 partition of India and how it affected India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

When asked, Mr Chia said he always has a book with him as he is constantly eager to learn something new.

"Part of my DNA is to spend time studying and reading books," he said.

"If you keep exercising your brain, learning will be effortless."

CODING

In his free time, Mr Chia also explores different computer programs and writes codes for websites.

Having a supportive wife helps, too.

When asked about what she thinks of her husband's commitment to learning, she enthusiastically said: "It's very good! I encourage him to keep learning."

But if you think he is all brain, note that Mr Chia appreciates the importance of brawn as well.

He runs up Mount Faber Hill three to four times a week, lapping up the challenge of running uphill.

What next for Mr Chia? He said he will be applying for a diploma at Singapore Polytechnic, but has not yet decided on the course of study.

Part of my DNA is to spend time studying and reading books. If you keep exercising your brain, learning will be effortless.

- Mr Johnnie Chia Swee Hock

Temasek PolytechnicdiplomagraduateAdvertisingANALYTICS