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.