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Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 8:22:34 AM
by rebecca rajaendram
THIS year’s Monash University Malaysia Scholarship Awards Ceremony was the biggest so far with 156 of the university’s top achievers receiving scholarships amounting to RM4mil for undergraduate courses alone.
Almost all the recipients were merit-based scholars except for 14-year-old Jeshaiah Khor Zhen Syuen, a first year engineering degree student who received a special Jeffrey Cheah Foundation-Monash University Scholarship.
His father, Khor Hung Teong, said Jeshaiah started reading the newspaper at the tender age of 18 months. And it was a skill he picked up himself.
He was home-schooled right up to O-Levels before he enrolled in UCSI University’s A-Level Academy for his A-Levels which he completed last year with 4As.
“As parents, what we can teach him is how to live life. We treat him normally. The academics are not enough, he must have the right attitude in life. We want him to be humble,” said Khor.
Jeshaiah had been searching around for a degree to study but because of his age, some universities were hesitant to accept him.
“Monash agreed to make an exception and accepted Jeshaiah’s application for a degree course,” said Khor.
Despite pursuing his degree at such a young age, Jeshaiah does not consider himself a child genius.
“I am just more advanced academically than my peers. That’s all,” said Jeshaiah.
At first glance, he seemed quiet but his friendly demeanour was soon obvious.
With coursemates at least four years older than him, he insists that age does not come into play and that everyone treats him the same.
Normalcy reigns supreme for this student as he travels and spends most of his days on campus where he attends lectures, hangs out with his friends and studies.
Just because he is academically gifted does not mean he does not share the same passion as other teenage boys.
“I play the guitar. I read books, mostly science fiction and storybooks. I play games. Sometimes a bit too much,” he said.
“I like learning new things but I only enjoy studying things I am interested in like Science,” he said, adding that he does not fancy drawing and painting.
Monash University Malaysia deputy president (Academic) Prof Christopher Messom advised all scholarship recipients to give back to society.
“The kind of payback we’re looking for is enshrined in our university vision and graduate attributes; that you become critical and creative scholars who will improve the human condition,” he said.
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