Thursday, December 01, 2005

Beating All Odds

In the recently released Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), there were many candidates who scored straight As. However, there was one person's result which stood out.

12-year old R. Priya Ranjini lives in a squatter house in Rasah, has to walk 15km to school, help take care of 4 younger siblings and occasionally study under the street lamps scored 7As for her primary school examinations. Her parents, an odd job labourer and a cleaner, earns barely RM800 a month. Priya's plight and achievement was highlighted in the Star on November 23rd.

Priya showed during the interview, admirable steely determination to excel despite the odds.
"I will not let being poor affect my studies. I want to do well in my studies so that I will be able to help my family live a better life. I want to be a doctor one day and will strive to achieve my dream even if I have to face many obstacles. I also hope the example I set will spur my brothers and sister to also want to do well in their studies and succeed in life."
In another related story, P. Hemaadevi of Sg. Siput also managed 7As despite living in a large single parent family. Her mother C. Sandriga, who earns about RM600 a month as a sweeper, said "it was not easy to raise six children single-handedly."
“There were many occasions when I could only afford to feed them rice and anchovies.”
Cases like Priya's and Hemaadevi's make you want to celebrate the human spirit and not take things for granted. Education is the best route to equalisation of opportunities and wealth in our unequal society, and Priya and Hemaadevi will definitely do well to focused in her educational pursuits.

You go, girls!

Footnote: The report of Priya's plight in the Star has brought about plenty of well-meaning as well as unwanted attention from many parties Malaysian-style. It looks like Priya's achievement has changed the family's life somewhat, with offers to rebuild their house, provision of scholarships and tuition classes, paid electricity bills and more. See reports here and here.


Anonymous said...

This is an example of someone who is determined to excel in life. Hope she maintain this as she grows up, and serve the nation well.

Glad the government is doing something about it.

I hope by the time she is ready for tertiary education, she is not denied access to local u due to race policies.

Anonymous said...

Well, what I want to point out here is, do not stereotype that all malays are poor and all Chinese are rich. I won't consider myself poor, but just happened to come from a mediocre family with my parents income slightly below average. But I have other friends too who have more unfortunate fate than I have.

I have 2 friends who have to stop school since Form 1 because his mother could not afford it and they are not qualified to receive financial aid from the government because they don't have the "quality" to receive it.

Yeah, the aid is only "special" for the bumis.

If you think that the special rights is to curb poverty, we could have just give the rights to the poor in lieu of the bumis.......... By giving the special right to the malays, you are just making the poor malay better off and the rich malays richer. How about other races in Malaysia? Should we be neglected just because we are second class citizens? Shouldn't the development of Malaysia be termed as the development of the malays instead?

I'm born in Malaysia, and just because I don't have the "color", I can't have the same rights as others?

How many malays are aware that the success of other races in Malaysia is not through gifts and special rights, but solely their sweat and hard work? Was Loh Boon Siew given special rights? Was he given the monopoly of the sales of the motorbikes? I doubt it.........

They worked really really hard, and they truly deserve what they have now. However, these days in Malaysia, we work hard, and others get it..........

Well, Malaysia has always been complaining about the lacking of unity among its people.......... But what's the root of this problem? I think I can safely say that it's due to Malaysia's policy that always try to distinguish the bumis from the non-bumis, the Islam from the non-Islam.......... I reckoned while filling in my SPM examination form.......... Only 2 races and 2 religions are available in the slots.......... Do I need to type it out here? You guys should have known it too......... Doesn't this is evident that Malaysians are actually divided?

Why can't we be just a bangsa Malaysia instead of bumi and non-bumi?

Let's look at the work force, especially in the government sector.......... Promotion wise, non-bumis can expect themselves not to get.......... unless they are really established and extraordinary.......... Perhaps I don't have a strong proof to this, but I believe the presence of discrimination could be sensed..........

In the long run, or perhaps by 2020, should I say Malaysia would be very successful in curbing poverty among the malays but poverty still occurs in other races like the Chinese and Indians.......... Please do remember that we pay our taxes, but we do not get 80% of what we deserved to get......... Is it just because we are of different skin color?

Malaysia is truly a country that practices racism......... Justice? Equality? I don't think I know them here.........

Anonymous said...

The Chronicle of Higher Education's discussion of affirmative action in Malaysia, says that it began because "ethnic malays held relatively little economic power" and because of a "colonial legacy under which the country's more urbanized Chinese inhabitants tended to prosper."

In reality, under colonial rule the British provided free education to malays but the Chinese minority had to provide their own - and the Chinese still completely outperformed the malays, both in educational institutions and in the economy. Performance differences are what slippery semantics try to evade, whether in Malaysia or elsewhere, when affirmative action is discussed.

Again, such semantic gymnastics attempt to evade the obvious: Some groups perform a lot better than others, whether in education or the economy and whether in Malaysia or elsewhere around the world.

Back in the 1960s, when university admissions were based on academic performance, students from the Chinese minority outnumbered students from the malay majority. When it came to engineering degrees, the Chinese outnumbered the malays 404 to 4.

While quotas changed the numbers in Malaysia, they could not change the performances. After three decades of quotas favoring malays, the government finally acknowledged that the universities were simply not turning out enough people with the high-tech skills that the country needed.

In both Malaysia and Indonesia, preferences and quotas were intended explicitly to apply to the majority of the population because minorities - notably the Chinese in both countries - were far more successful.

Anonymous said...

Every time the average Malaysians see Dr Mahathir, they see - Twin Towers, Putrajaya, KLIA, GDP growth of 7% during the early 90s, etc.

What they don't see - the cesspool of corruption, the lavish lifestyle of our politicians that rivals that of Hollywood superstars, the plight of the rural folks, the slums around Selangor and KL, the Straight A non-bumi students who couldn't get into university, the Umno leaders that threaten to burn down the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, etc.

When I think of Dr Mahathir, I see what the average Malaysians don't see.

I want Dr Mahathir to pay for his crimes.
I want all his corrupt cronies burn at the stake.
I want Dr Mahathir to face the people who is lives has been affected by his actions.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with that affirmative action doesn't work. Of course it works!

Non-malays now work twice as hard in all fields and succeed. If you notice, even more non-malays are doing well in the public examinations.

More non-malays are now venturing into new fields and succeeding in new lands. You read about successful scientists, engineers, doctors, businessmen who have left their homeland forever.

When an athlete is handicapped and yet can attain victory over his opponents, that athlete can succeed anywhere in the world. That athlete should thank his homeland for making him what he is.

Malaysia is a breeding ground for people who fight against great odds and survive. These people are the global people of tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The damage has been done. As long as the culprit still has the power to rule the country, there are no second thoughts of returning back here. For vacations maybe, but even that will be full with hesitations.

To be honest, if dissatisfied people in this country have sufficient financial terms and non heavy commitments, I can bet every single one of them would have left this cursed land long time ago.

I just wonder if all the non-malays are financially independent and just stayed at home enjoying life. The country under the "supreme" ruling of the malays and the outdated worthless NEP system, will crush itself like a 500 pound bitch humping on an dying 100 years old guy.

Soon, the globe will be spread with Chinese!
They will be the ones who contribute to the progress of the host country.

They will be accepted,
by their host country.


the malay politicians will still be using:

Special Rights

to tie their own countrymen down just to continue voting for them.

Some malay intellectuals will probably follow the footsteps of the Chinese.

The recalcitrants will be left behind to continue being (had) by the malay politicians.

Anonymous said...

I was studied in Melbourne Australia for 2 years, I met a lot of Malaysians who had migrated to the country, some of them work in big company such as Nissan, NEC, etc, some of them open restaurants (there are Malaysian restaurants everywhere in Australia), and their life is good and fairly treated by the locals.

In Melbourne, a lot of Malaysians (99% Chinese) live in a suburbs, most of them send their kids to local school, and all have no problem on their race and nationality because besides Malaysian, there are also a lot of Indonesian, Japanese, Singaporean, Turkish, Vietnamese, etc. They can learn their own language without any restriction from the authorities. And everyone is compete on level playing field, everything is based on merit.

The living environment there is very nice, clean air and water (water can directly drink from tap), nicely built roads and residential area, almost perfect mass transit system (although I feel that Singapore is better) where you can live and travel easily without own car. Living cost there is relatively cheaper compare to KL (dollar to dollar).

The main reason for this migration is that some of them felt that they were second-class citizens (the Chinese) and third-class citizens (the Indians) in the country that they were born in. The high cost of living and non-support from the government have also resulted in smaller families among the non-malays.

For those who ran away or are thinking about running, my best wishes to you. But for the others who stand and fight, my respect for you.

Anonymous said...


way to go!!

Let's celebrate the human spirit
that strive agaisnt the odds!

Persistence definitely bears fruits! And certainly they are sustainable and cherishable!

Universal truths!

Anonymous said...

The non-malays have heard this one before - If you think that Malaysia not good, please go out this country.

Umno has been brought up to think they are the prince of the land.

Every time they get cornered, Umno will tell the other race to go out where they belong. I think Umno must change their thinking or they will pull down the country to the middle age.

So far there is no Umno leader that can lead them to be modern 21st century citizens.

Rather Umno is anti this or anti that. There is no forward looking and thinking to break free perspective.

Malaysia developed nation on year 2020?

Anonymous said...

It is better that you leave Malaysia. This country is full of crap. Everything is crap here. There is racism and lots of red tape bureaucracy. Malaysia don't practise meritocracy.

If a bumi is not even capable in comparison with a Chinese or Indians, he will still get all the goodies and left the shit to the other races. I advise the government not to help the stupid bumis but to give equal rights to everyone and also judge a person based on his merits and not his background or race.

If the government continues to help those incapable bumis and not cutting those red tapes, I think Malaysia will not meet its 2020 vision. Also my advise to those bumis: To the Hell with you!!!

There has been a study/survey done to investigate whether Chinese, Indians and Malays are hardworking. They found out that malays are the ones to be lazy. Lazier than Chinese and Indians. They do not have the motivation to strive harder.

Most of Malaysia's success came from the hard work of other races while the malays just reaped the fruits that the Chinese and Indians sowed. The Malaysian government know about this fact and that's how they implemented to protect those bumis from lagging behind the other races.

If you agreed with what I had said, you know that this is making sense. However if you disagree on my views, here is 2 possibilities ---

(1) you are a bumi that is receiving help from the government and hence you don't make any contribution to the society.

(2) you are a corrupted, biased person that is easily influenced, just like our police force. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Better fly off whenever you feel not satisfy.

What I do know is that with so-called special rights, Malaysia lost a lot of talented brains. Those well-off enough go overseas to study and stay there. The rest just make do. Some turn out to be big and successful businessmen. The rest may be on smaller scale but beside business, what can they do?

With many families who had moved to a country that outwardly displays basic rights, it would be wiser the families who're still in Malaysia can really push themselves to get settled in Australia, from been regarded as second class citizens. With so many who had already established, and became citizens of Australia, in all fairness they must pull the stranded families from the clutches of the evil and bigoted malay government.

It's pleasing to the hearts and souls to see success stories in this board, and hope many more can get out from the horrible and nightmarish daily events anyone have to go through been in Malaysia, that regards its other citizens as unimportant and not part of the fabric.

Once again success comes from hard work and determination, and I know everyone has to go through to get the rewards, but in Malaysia there's no such thing for any to be successful from determination, because it only favors one race and no one else.

No matter how many times you tell your encounter abroad, they would just turn a deaf ear, continuing to practise their racial discriminatory policy.

They are just like robbers. Time after time they'd said if you don't give us what we want, violence is the only answer.

Regretfully, there is no such thing as a free lunch in the real world. Whilst someone has to pay for it in the interim, everyone has to pay for it in the end.

Anonymous said...

The younger generations, even though they seem to know the theoretical rationale of the social contract and try hard to live by it, do not have the same understanding of it as the older generations do.

Poor people are poor people, rich people are rich people - no matter which race they come from.

Justice and compassion prevails when rich people recognise their responsibility to the poor and the poor use the benefits given to them to better their lives.

Fair and equitable distribution of the prosperity that we enjoy in this country will ensure that our peace and harmony survives. That would probably require a mindset shift within our society.

However, many have experienced frustration under the Malaysian politico-social system, which has failed to recognise their contributions and skills, or ignored utilising them appropriately for the national benefit, or stymied their business ventures.

Many of these people have migrated to another country where they hope to be more appreciated and where their children may enjoy a better chance of succeeding in life.

We should resolve why the Chinese-Malaysian population is reducing. Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years.

Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.

While we push young talented people away, other countries notably Singapore, the US and Australia welcome them with open arms.

About 30 percent of top management in both Singapore's government and corporate sector are ex-Malaysians. We export them so that Singapore can compete with, and then whack us.