Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Interview

I took a day off yesterday to bring Nadira for her interview with JPA. She has been selected for the interview along with other 7,000 candidates nationwide. We are very happy that she got the interview. Dapat ke dapat tu, is a different story.

From what I heard, 80,000 students applied for the scholarship this year but only 7,000 were short listed for the interview. Out of this, only 2,000 will be granted a scholarship. Tough choice, isn’t it?

The interview was held at Putrajaya Convention Centre (PICC). I must say, Putrajaya is such a beautiful place! I love the buildings and the road leading to the PICC. It feels as if you were transported to another place, not in Malaysia. I was amazed at the architecture and the beautiful landscaping. They have done a great job with Putrajaya and I’m very proud to see how amazing it has turned out to be.

Anyway, back to the interview. The first 2 days were allocated for students wanting to do Medicine. I think, that’s a good 700 students altogether. There was a good mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay students waiting to be interviewed and how they did it was by spreading the interviewees into groups of 5 students. At any one time, there’d be 12 sessions going on at the same time.

Each group would be interviewed by a panel of 3 professionals from different background. My daughter had a doctor, an engineer and an accountant (if I’m not mistaken) as her interviewer. The questions asked were pretty simple ~ 1) Tell us about yourself, and 2) Why do you want to do Medicine. This part boleh goreng lah.

But there was one question which required her to do a little thinking, ie: “Concerning the issuance of free syringes and condoms to drug addicts. What are your views?”

This, of course, has no right or wrong answer. They just wanted to see how well you speak and whether or not you have an opinion about something. Being part of her school’s debate team, my daughter had come across and debated on a similar question before and so, she could answer it pretty well. Overall, it was ok, she said.

Getting over the interview was one thing but actually getting the scholarship is another thing. I believe, yesterday and the day before saw straight A students being interviewed. These are all clever students, ok? These 700 or so students have to compete among themselves to get a placing. They are all smart academically, but what makes them standout from the rest is the other factors ie. personality, confidence level, thought process etc, etc.

And now that the scholarship allocation for non-Bumis has increased to 45% from 10% previously, it will make it harder for Malay students to obtain a scholarship. Not that they can’t get it, it’s just that it will be tougher. The privilege of being a Malay is no longer there and one has to compete on equal ground, which is not a bad idea actually because now, the Malay students will not take things for granted anymore. Whoever is selected is only the cream of the crop.

So, what I’m saying is, we have to tell our kids to always do well in school. They can’t afford to take a laid back attitude because then, they will lose out. Students are getting smarter these days, so if you slack, you will be left behind. Even straight A students are finding it hard to get a scholarship, what more if you only scored 5As or 2As for that matter?

(But if you are filthy rich, this issue will not be applicable to you)

Perhaps some people may argue with me, ie. good results is not everything. But for me, it is the first step to getting somewhere. I always believe that no matter what circumstances you’re in, you must have “the paper qualification”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to work in a proper organization later, but you must study all the way. Get a degree. After that, nak jadi a world traveler ke or radio DJ ke, suka hati lah.

The paper is like a safety net for you. Once you have it, 90% of your worries are taken care of. It’s an asset, not a liability.

Let’s be practical. Not many of us are like the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong who strike it rich even though he didn’t know how to read and write. If everyone is like him, tak payah pegi sekolah lah. Only one in a million people would probably turn out to be like him, but since the chance of this happening to ordinary people like us is very small, just go to school and finish your studies, kid!

That’s what I always tell my children. They hate me for nagging them, but I know they’ll thank me for this later on in life. I sure hope so.


Busybody said...

Mrs N, I agree 100% with you. It is already very tough now, just imagine how it would be 10 years from now. Maybe they have to cari makan outside Malaysia...

Desert Rose said...

Mrs N,


its d quality that matters not quantity.

even if my dotters decided to b homemaker later on, be a frofessional one.

I mg Jepun sket bab belajar coz I been raised up like that.My dad used to say if he could get his bchelor degree during his time, yg susah nak mati 4 bumis to get a place in d university, it would b an emberrassment 4 us his kids yg hidup di zaman serba serbi senang ni to b better than him.

Only ilmu pelajaran lah saja yg boleh bela hidup kita kan, kalau kaya pun tak ada ilmu, tak ke mana

Ummi365 said...

Mrs N, can you see me putting up my hand.. I am with you..

aida yurani said...

I teringat zaman I study for SPM and nak dapat scholarship. My parents selalu cakap diorang takde duit nak hntr I study oversea, so kena study rajin2 to get scholarship. And my mom selalu cakap diorang kerja gomen, takde duit banyak, their harta is anak2. Kalau anak2 study rajin2 and berjaya, maka bangga lah diorang dgn harta diorang tu, lebih banyak nilai dari 2-3 bijik rumah & tanah :)

Aida said...

All the best to Nadira.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.I told my kids that getting good grades is the first step to getting somewhere. Though some of my friends say that they prefer their kids to be 'hollistic, and not just get good grades.

MrsNordin said...


I can't imagine how it would be like in 10 years' time. By that time, my Nizzar would be 13. Perhaps, by that time, 50% of students who sit for SPM would get straight As. How lah?

MrsNordin said...

Desert Rose,

It's true, kalau nak jadi home maker, must be a professional one.

Orang perempuan lagi lah. Can't afford to take this attitude anymore: "Alah, I tak payah belajar pandai2lah. Lepas sekolah kawin..." Buatnya esok kena tinggal by the husband, mana nak cari duit? Bahaya...

Like you said, cuma ilmu pelajaran yang boleh bela hidup kita...

MrsNordin said...


Yes! I can see it!


My mother used to say the same thing too. I guess, that's why I have the same feel about it too.

Thanks for your well wishes!

MrsNordin said...


These days, have to have good grades AND be hollistic. That tough!

Puteri's territory said...

You are so right. Can come you to my school and give a talk to the students? Let me know. ahak ahak.

madam gold said...

Salam Mrs.Nordin,
You are right.I always tell my kids it s a tough competition out there.Looking at many stright As achievers nowdays,so they have to produce something extra maybe leadership,co curricular activities,communication skills etc.. etc..So I always remind them to get involve in everything at school but at the same time put ur studies as ur priority

the principal said...

My temp teacher went to the interview. She wants to do Medicine. Last week she was absent for a week coz dia kata ada some sort like orientasi kerjaya sebagai seorang doktor...I just love this girl. At d age of 17, she's so matured, she can handle 25kids single handedly...I told her I really hope she gets a place & I hope Nadira will get too...

Anonymous said...

Kita Mak Bapak pun kena mainkan peranan buat persiapan untuk anak masuk U. Ramai org Melayu lagi pentingkan gaya (rumah, kereta, club membership, emas, branded items, etc, etc) dari belanja sekolah anak-anak. Bila mengadap Allah besok Allah tak akan tanya pasal harta-benda tapi Allah akan tanya pasal anak-anak. Kami pakai kereta yang sama sampai anak-anak habis belajar. Sekarang kereta tu ada belakang rumah tempat cucu-cucu main pondok-pondok. Nak jual tak laku dah. Anak-anak kami semua overseas grad (UK, US. Aust and India (yg ini Dr)). Kami guna duit sendiri. Anak-anak pun pandai bawa diri. They all kerja part time tolong Mak-Bapak. Kerja kami? Cikgu dan Cikgi. Atuk ada juga tulis articles untuk majalah dan akhbar tambah pendapatan. So yang muda-muda lagi tu, start planning sekarang. Tak kan kalau tak ada biasiswa anak tak pergi belajar kut? Besok lagi susah nak dapat. Pada yang mampu, walaupun anak-anak kamu dapat biasiswa, tolak lah. Jual lah kereta mewah, pakai kereta tak mewah. Emas yang berbelit tu, jual lah juga untuk sekolahkan anak. Tak duduk banglo, duduk rumah teres pun okay jugak. Bila mati nanti semua tu tinggal. Malulah kalau duduk rumah banglo, pakai kereta mewah, anak sekolah pakai biasiswa. Cis!!! Apa nak jawap di akhirat nanti? Kalau lepas tu anak-anak jadi penjenayah koporat, tak hairan lah kan? Contoh Mr 30% yang tumbuh macam cendawan lepas hujan. Beri peluang orang lain yang tak mampu. Pegang janji Allah yang mengatakan Dia akan tolong orang yang tolong diri sendiri. So usahalah....

Nenek Rock

MrsNordin said...


Tak payah I bagi talk, you sendiri can do that...

Thanks for dropping by!

MrsNordin said...

Madam Gold,

It's tough being students these days, isn't it? Dah lah pelajaran pun susah, tambah lagi dengan extra co-curricular activities and tuitions and what not. All these, to make one a better student than another. Budak darjah 1 pun dah demand nak pegi tuition nowadays!

Sigh... what a life!

MrsNordin said...


That's a good girl you have there. The one-week orientation tu was the attachment with a govt hospital to give exposure to students who want to take medicine.

Nadira did hers at GH. After the attachment, then she was convinced that Medicine is the career that she wants to pursue. I hope both of them get it.

MrsNordin said...

Hi Nenek Rock,

If we could afford it, we wouldn't apply to the scholarship. But doing Medicine these days is not cheap. RM1.5m at least for a full course. Mana nak cari duit?

So I told my daughter, if you want to do this, you'd better think hard. Kalau setakat nak jadi GP, tak payah pegi oversea. Belajar kat sini pun boleh and we can pay for it.

It's good that all your children get the opportunities to study abroad. Sejuk perut you mengandung. I wish all my children could be like yours.. but well, itu rezeki masing2.

Btw, I don't have emas berbelit or kereta menjalar. Coz if I do, I would have sent her on my own. I know who is deserving and who is not.

Anonymous said...

i doakan Nadira will get to be a doctor n also dapat the scolarship.....its gonna be a lot of hard work but it will be worth it.


IBU said...


Good results are not everything. But IT IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING. A very important thing. A passport that can help open up doors and windows of opportunities.

Gone are the days when securing scholarships was simply a matter being a malay with SPM Grade 1.

On the positive side, like you said, it should make our children more competitive & resilient out there. Hopefully, InsyaAllah.

All the best of luck & wishes for Nadira! Moga tercapai impian & jadi kenyataan, amin....

MrsNordin said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks for your well wishes.


Good results are not everything but IT IS something. Bukan macam dulu, senang sangat nak dapat scholarship. Now it's very, very tough. 10 years down the line tak tau lah macamana pulak, kan?

Anonymous said...

All the best to Nadira! Is she planning to study medicine?

I agree with you, education is expensive & our kids need to excel! I have to monitor my Hud now :)

::moi:: said...

It’s an asset, not a liability.

so true... semua mak ayah nak anak2 berjaya btol tak? kalau mampu semua parents nak sediakan utk anak2 mencari ilmu... tapi 'knowledge' pun tak murah yer and i totally agree with u.

mrs nordin sgt beruntung, Nadira cerdik budaknye.. myself sederhana jer.. tapi pernah terfikir nak buat medicine kat luar negara then again nak dapat scholarship bukannye mudah... apa tah lagi kalau average student jer... mak ayah plak memang takde harta berbelit2... so i settled for local university... rezeki masing2..

Insyaallah ada peluang Nadira...
Best of luck Nadira!

moi a.k.a Anonymous
18 February 2009 12:54 on winter sonata

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Dear MrsN,

Indeed, I agree with you that excellent grades facilitates a person to obtain a scholarship for his studies.

But, as I have been teaching in one of KL's best schools, my personal observation would be that good grades ain't enough for a secured future.

Generally, what is lacking in the Malay students is that they are too complacent with life (due to meritocracy) that some are only excellent academically, but has no what it takes to be the best in life.

My point is that, some of us have not the initiative to develop soft skills (communication skills, critical thinking etc). They might memorize the lessons in their textbooks, but are clueless about reality. I do not know why, some kids lack that 'oomph' factor.

Furthermore, I believe what matters most for a person to have a good life is the right attitude about life. Tell me, madam, in the parents' struggle to provide the best for their children, have they ever prepared their kids with the inner strength to face challenges in life? I see this is a crucial issue nowadays, generally speaking, many lack the values vital for life, such as respect, honesty, simplicity and humbleness.

Yes, we all want our kids to excel in life, but we must not neglect the contents of their hearts, i.e their souls need nourishing too.

Surprisingly, though I find being excellent academically is vital, deep in my heart that is not what I am aiming for my kids. I personally equipping them with living skills, skills that will help them to actualize their dreams, skills that will make them fit to survive in this cold world. I do not mind if they learn life the hard way.

Nevertheless, thanks for taking your precious time reading my comment. I have visited Nadira's blog, I believe you and MrN have prepared her well to face life.

She is brilliant.

Kmar said...


I hope that Nadira will manage to enroll herself in the medicine course with a scholarship.

My sister said kalau nak belajar setakat nak jadi GP, buat aje at the local U sebab nowadays bukannya senang nak dapat scholarship for overseas. Kalau nak keluar duit sendiri... more than a million belanjanya!!!

Dulu lain, sekarang lain...

tireless mom said...


Sounds like the interview with P**r*nas. I am a panel and those were the kind of questions we were trained to ask.

Hope Nadira will get to do medicine with the scholarship. It would mean a lot to us kan (and her).

Superwomanwannabe said...

Nasib BAIK JPA bagi scholarship kat I !! Kalau tak I kena lah start career as Maria Farida lookalike (5o years from now) heheheh!And NASIB Baik I dapat pergi UK! Boleh jumpa husband sekarang! Heee hee takdalah kawin doktor kot hehehe...!

I gurau je tau...

It is competitve now.. takleh assume dapat loan or what not kan?Yr daughter is smart..she can do anything she wants..

MrsNordin said...

Hi Mimi,

Sorry for the late reply. Yes, she intends to take Medicine. Education IS expensive these days. Tak payah kata university, children's playschool pun mahal nak mampus! One I saw recently charged RM10k a year! Crazy!

But for parents who could afford it, they will send their kids to these kind of places. I would, if I have the means.

Reg. Hud, one in a while, you just need to check his work. He'll be fine lah. Boys are different from girls...

MrsNordin said...


For me, the only difference between studying local and abroad is you get to experience life in a different country. You'll experience the change of seasons, the different language, different culture etc.

Study wise, it's almost the same. How you excel depends very much on your own effort.

My eldest daughter is in a local U and she's doing well. Of course I would like for her to go overseas, but since she couldn't make the grades, she had to settle for a local U. But I always tell her, if you do well, you can apply to do your MBA overseas. Or, after dah kerja ke... ramai orang dapat peluang pegi overseas after they all dah kerja.

All the best to you, Moi and thanks for your kind wishes for Nadira.

MrsNordin said...

Hi Ida,

It's good to read your observation of kids in school these days. Since you are a teacher yourself, you should know better.

I agree with you, some children lack the soft & living skills ~ my kids included. And the reason why they are like that is because we don't encourage them to take risks or venture out of their comfort zone for fear that something bad might happen to them.

But there are other ways to teach them the survival skills. As they grow older, we can slowly loose the ties.

On the soft skills, I guess we as parents are the ones who should instill these traits in them by communication and demonstration. Children follow what their parents do. If we show respect to other people, they will follow. Likewise, if we are always rude or constantly fight at home, most often than not, the kids would indulge in some vice activities in or outside schools.

It's true good grades is not everything but we can't allow our children to slip up in class and become murid tercorot. They must maintain a certain standard of achievement in the exams.

Bottomline is, they must work hard to achieve what they want. Having done that, if they still don't excel, it's fine. But the effort must be there. Nothing comes easy these days... and as you rightly pointed out, they must learn the hrad way. We all did!


MrsNordin said...


What your sister said is true...

Since I believe she could heck this course, we are trying to find ways so she could go to one of the best schools to study Medicine. For me, it's either that or do something else.

Kalau nak bayar sendiri, tak mampu, babe. Jual rumah pun, belum tentu cukup nak pay for the fees!

MrsNordin said...


I know you sit on the panel for your co's interview. She did apply for P's scholarship too, but the results are not out yet.

Ya lah, I hope she gets it too.

MrsNordin said...


Our days dulu, it was so easy to get scholarships, kan? JPA tu macam senang2 je nak bagi semua orang. Nowadays, minta maaf lah.

When Nadine's time come nanti, tak tahu lah macamana pulak, ya? It'll probably be even harder. Sigh...