When I knew that my family was going to move to Australia, I was the happiest in the world. I thought that I could finally get rid of a country that judged me by my ethnicity, or that valued me solely because of my school results. I thought that I could move forward and never look back, until one summer night in Australia… (more…)
Partial view of my UEC-JML. I cannot show the whole of it, since it contains some sensitized information (e.g. my previous national id number), which I prefer not to disclose in a public space. I cherish this result card very much, as getting it has taught me a lot about gain and loss in life.
A meritocratic society
In comparison with the Malay high school students, a major disadvantage for the Chinese high school students is the non-recognition of their high school certificates by the Malaysian government. As a result, all of the students need to take additional government examinations –Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) – to be considered into a public university in Malaysia. Even then, as said, it is not a guarantee for them to get a position in the university. Moreover, the Chinese high schools in Malaysia are private institutions not funded by the government, so the parents have to pay a high amount of tuition fees for their children (I managed to get some subsidizations from the school during my second and third years of study, since my family met the low-income requirement).
Still, every year, tens of thousands of students swarm to get a place in different Chinese high schools in their regions. Foon Yew High School in Johor Bahru is one of these popular high schools. (more…)
A divided society
Then the time came for me to enter a high school. I had to make a decision whether to go into a Malay high school or a Chinese high school. If I were an Indian, I could also consider going into a Tamil high school. This was a major decision, since it would determine if I could go into a university, and it would also affect the type of university I could enter later on.
Going into a tertiary institution has always been my dream. (more…)
A multi-ethnic society
Malaysia is the country where I was born. Subsequently, I stayed in this land for fourteen years. As the opening line of its national anthem states: Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku, the soil of this land was supposed to absorb the very last drop of my blood. It is a unique country, since its birth is marked by a multi-ethnic society, consisting of the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and other indigenous peoples. (more…)