at Toa Payoh Vets
Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
26 March, 2011
Be Kind To Pets
PROSPECTIVE INTERNS INCLUDING VETERINARY UNDERGRADUATES/VET
TECHNICIAN STUDENTS FROM POLYTECHNICS
I receive many e-mails regarding internship. Some writers
obviously have not visited the Toa Payoh Vets webpage
research on the requirements of internship and just want to go
These applicants will be rejected. Some simply write an e-mail
without a resume or two testimonials and expect to be successful!
Market yourself well if you
want to do well in life and get what you want. This is the reality
There are strong competitors even if you have straight As in
your A levels. There are other factors affecting your
chances of being successful
in real life, far away from your school's ivory towers.
Therefore, be prepared if you
want to be an intern. In Toa Payoh Vets, internship is Dr
Sing's giving-back to the community rather than a tool to
recruit prospective employees. Therefore, applicants need to satisfy the
1. Application via e-mail/post. E-mail to
giving 5 reasons in 200 words as to why Toa Payoh Vets should accept you as an
Enclose your resume,
2 character references and academic results of your "O",
"A" levels and undergraduate grades or equivalent.
2. Please note that we do NOT accept interns
with poor academic grades and no two character references that
will be contactable by phone to verify your character.
"A-level" and polytechnic graduates must be accepted as
prospective undergraduates in veterinary schools in the U.K,
Australia, New Zealand or U.S.A. This usually means at least 3
straight As and some Bs at "A" levels or Junior College Year 2
4. Knowledge of digital/video photography
will be an advantage. Show me your portfolio if
you have such
E-mails without our above requirements and those with attached
files will not be entertained. We don't download attached
files due to concerns about viral infections. Therefore, learn
how to include your character references inside the e-mail
directly or post the application to Toa Payoh Vets, Blk 1002,
Toa Payoh Lor 8, 01-1477, Singapore 319074.
6. Interviews by Dr Sing. Bring your original
certificates and testimonials together with photocopies.
Testimonials unsigned by the teacher or referee or
without letterheads are suspect and are unacceptable. I will
phone your referees, therefore ensure that they are prepared
to talk to me about your character and integrity. If you
"forget" to bring photocopies of documents, including evidence
to support your acceptance at vet colleges overseas, you will be asked to go home.
7. Payment for internship. Please note that you will
not be paid. If your parents or you expect payment, please
Honesty is most important for young adult interns as dark forces in
your mind seem
to work harder at the growing up age to deviate you from the
"straight" path. Poor work attitude,
insufficient sleep and tardiness will not be tolerated. Thefts of money and property
of Toa Payoh Vets will be reported to the police.
at keeping records and writing up cases within 48 hours are
required. I will discuss with interns some cases. If they
don't have time to record the findings and challenges encountered in
the handling of such cases, how can they learn and profit from the
internship? I note that there are many interns from Junior
College not adhering to this requirement. This is a bad
9.1 Pen and Paper/Electronic pens. It is best you bring
your non-electronic book to write down details and
instructions of the cases.
I know some young ones are used to keying messages into the
mobile phone. You are the internet generation. However, I
cannot wait while you thumb furiously my verbal instructions
and discussions of the cases into your mobile phone because I have
lots of things to do myself.
Therefore, pen and paper are still necessary. However, if you
have an electronic pen, it is OK with me. Reports of certain
cases are to be
submitted within 48 hours by e-mail to me.
10. Personal safety. Toa Payoh Vets is in an
industrial park but it is a very safe place to work in the
evenings. I had an internist who told me her grandmother was worried
about her working in the evening and therefore she should work
during office hours. In such cases, my reply will be to just
stay at home. Veterinary work in the real world involves
evenings and weekend work.
Try not to waste time spent at Toa Payoh Vets by idle talk
with my staff. They have lots of work to do but some of my
staff simply love idle
chat and gossip with newcomers. Most likely you will find
that you need time management and that you practically have no
time to complete your tasks. So why spend time gossiping?
12. Self-discipline & targets.
You should write up the daily cases within 24 hours (that is
why I will ask whether you have a note-book) and e-mail them
to me (not as attached files - you figure how you do it
13. Independence. Ask your mother not to phone me
enquiring about internship on your behalf. I don't
accept students who can't be self-reliant. Please
ask your parent or best friend NOT to accompany you for the
interview. But if mum comes, introduce the parent/s to me as a
matter of courtesy. Best friends and parents are best left at home! This is one time you need to cut the apron's strings and be
confident as you embark on a new and wonderful adventure into
the big animal world.
In conclusion, many young
Singaporean adults used to growing up
in a life of abundance come
for interviews and work unprepared without resume and
knowledge of the company's
requirements. Please note that you are asking
for an internship and therefore should be well prepared for
the interview so as not to waste time.
is serious business for you. You will learn the ropes and the
challenges of the real world in a commercial veterinary
practice. It is so much different from your school or home. It is not
a travel or boat cruise at Toa Payoh Vets. It is not your
"grandfather's house" where you come and go as you please and
relax at Toa Payoh Vets just like the young man in the picture
There is much to learn and much to teach the interns going to
study to become good veterinarians in the very short time you
are with me.
A lot of time and resources are given to the intern to get
them on the feet into the exotic and beautiful veterinary
world. I don't want youths who are not up to my expectations
to be at Toa Payoh Vets. Therefore, ensure that you are able
to comply with the above requirements
before you apply to be an intern at Toa Payoh Vets.
Common behaviour of Singaporean interns observed. Tardiness and not
being punctual at work are commonly observed for the
previous interns. This is unacceptable and your
internship may be terminated immediately. No social skills
like saying: "Good morning" to my
You may feel that you are
not paid, therefore you can come and go as you please, taking
time off without permission. Toa
Payoh Vets actually must spend time and money to mentor you.
You are not an asset to the practice
at this time of your life and if you feel otherwise, please do
not apply for internship.
The world does not owe you a living. You have to prove that
you can be an asset to Toa Payoh Vets by your actions and your
diligence once you are accepted as an
intern. Note that punctuality at work
is important in Toa Payoh Vets. If you
feel that you can't be punctual or
wake up early in the morning to go to
work, please do not apply for
that your internship will be
terminated immediately if your working
attitude and punctuality are not up to
my expectations. Ensure you have
sufficient rest at home. I have seen
interns yawning or sleepy during my
case discussions. This is not an
acceptable behaviour and may mean
instant dismissal. Therefore,
treat your vet internship
seriously. Your good or bad
behaviour serves to undermine Toa
Payoh Vets' scheme of internship for
future applicants and therefore you
need to do your best.
Even if you are selfish and don't care
about other young ones by displaying
poor work attitudes during internship.
In any case, your internship will be
terminated immediately if you show
little passion or interest in
veterinary medicine and surgery. Note
that testimonials are given only for
interns who have worked full-time and
for more than 4 weeks and show above
average performance and care for their
work. Others will
receive a record of attendance. No
part-time internships (e.g. weekends
only, come and go as you wish) will be
Veterinary undergraduates are not
exempted from the above-mentioned
requirements. An e-mail just
requesting internship will be
rejected. All internship will be
processed and approved by Dr Sing Kong
An interesting case study is shown
March 24, 2011 was a day to remember due to the
The Junior College student with straight As and 1 B and an
excellent testimonial from her form teacher could not work "long
hours." She had phoned me the previous night to let me know that she
would not work the long hours of internship as it was "tiring". So, I
told her that I would phone her back regarding her terms and
conditions of work. That implied that she ought to stay at home till I
decided since my offer was not accepted. Yet she presented herself at
the Surgery today at 8 am as I had told my assistant Mr Saw that the
intern would not be coming.
I asked if her father or mother was against her working hard? She had
no objection to the hours of work during the interview yesterday and
even arranged for her driving test lessons to take place at 5 pm on
Friday. She would work 6 days a week with one weekend day off. She
arranged for 6 weeks of internship - a very short period but that
would give her some credentials as she had applied for an AVA
veterinary undergraduate scholarship.
Apparently her father was against it. "You will be going to
America to study," I said sadly to this young personable lady
who did not need to take the "O" level examinations unlike the
average Singaporean student as she was the "top 10% of her
cohort likely to go to the university" and therefore exempted
from "O" level examinations (a letter of explanation was
produced by the school).
"Your working hours are non-negotiable. In any case, you will be off
before 5 pm on Friday for your driving test at Bukit Batok and you
don't work on one Saturday or Sunday." I was rather sad that she could
not put her foot down for her own to build up her own future. "You need to think for
yourself and not get tied to the apron's strings."
I wished her good luck and let her go home as I anticipate problems
from her parents. Over-protective Singaporean
parents who think that the world owes their academic
superstar-children a living are actually harming the young ones in
achieving independent thinking and being street-wise.
make an appointment: e-mail
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
Be Kind To Pets
All rights reserved. Revised: March 26, 2011
Toa Payoh Vets