In his own statement, Patrick Tan wrote that he was awarded two scholarships for his US studies, namely, the prestigious President Scholarship and the Loke Cheng Kim Scholarship.
The LCKS is an annual award given out by the Loke Cheng Kim Foundation, a private entity that gives out bond-free scholarships to successful applicants. Only one or two awards are given out annually.
Among the conditions stipulated for the award of its scholarships is that a recipient should not be a recipient also of other scholarship awards or grants.
The conditions and requirements of award can be found on the foundation’s website. These details would be used to advertise in the press inviting applications for the scholarships:
More details on the foundation and the scholarship can be found on its website here. http://www.lokefoundation.com.sg/
I am not aware if the President’s Scholarships* have a similar exclusion attached as a condition of award of the scholarship to successful applicants. But going by first principles and egalitarian values of optimizing available limited resources, one would expect this to be the case too, in fact, doubly so, for a prestigious award as the President’s Scholarship.
(N.B. *President’s Scholarships are generally awarded concurrently with another PSC Scholarship:
the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS),
the Singapore Police Force Overseas Scholarship (SPFOS), or
the Overseas Merit Scholarship (OMS)
– source Wikipedia)
The Loke Cheng Kim Foundation Scholarship appears to be a very generous and comprehensive scholarship package for an undergraduate course of study leading to a first degree. Furthermore, it is also bond-free. (Which explains why Patrick Tan was able to accept this and the PSC President’s Scholarship, concurrently?)
It is also up for speculation why his application to train as a ‘Medical Scientist’ was acceded to by Mindef? As far as it was commonly known then, the ‘practice’ then was confined to concession only for applications for local training to be a medical doctor which is in part to alleviate Mindef’s own needs for Unit Medical Doctors (MOs).
Although Mindef has lately attempted to clarify this issue as a result of the controversy, its release lacks the necessary details that could help clarify and convince.
It was on his return that PT was subsequently put to study an affliction known by its common name of ‘soil disease’ (Melioidosis). His PhD thesis was on an organism called C elegans. He did not explain in his letter in what way this organism is related to his study of the causal bacterium for Melioidosis, viz., Burkholderia pseudomallei.
By his own admission, his involvement in studying the disease appeared to be more fortuitous than pre-planned. It appeared not to be the reason or justification he gave to Mindef in the first instance to justify his application for his lengthy overseas leave of absence to pursue his studies and training. So one really has to wonder about the basis and justification upon which he was able to convince Mindef to grant him permission for such an extended period of absence (12 years?) to pursue his studies in the US.
Is Patrick Tan willing to favour us with an unambiguous and unequivocal explanation regarding this issue?