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Highs, lows and the way to go

Tze Xin thrives on competition and knows that she has to deal with her successes and failures, too.

Tze Xin thrives on competition and knows that she has to deal with her successes and failures, too.


SMK Puchong Permai, Puchong, Selangor 

IN Biology, I was taught that all living things, regardless of species, compete for something. They could be competing for food, territory or even a mate.

As a highly intelligent species, humans do not just compete for living essentials. We also compete for things that we desire such as achievements in life.

When I was just nine years old, I was selected to represent my school as a contestant in a storytelling competition. That was my first time speaking to an audience in public.

Seeing the other contestants, all looking calm and confident, gave me butterflies in my stomach. When it was finally my turn to go on stage, I was so frightened that I broke out in a cold sweat!

I even stumbled while walking up the stage. Standing before a sea of faces who were staring back at me, I tried to calm myself down.

It was at that moment that my eyes fell on my mother – the person I admire and love the most in this world.

Seeing her boosted my confidence so much so that I managed to tell my story without a hitch and even won a consolation prize!

Getting the trophy marked the beginning of my journey as a regular school representative in competitions.

I slowly became a fierce competitor, aiming for the top and doing my best in every competition. Whenever I did not get the results I wanted, I would blame myself for not doing my best and be moody and upset for days.

My mother noticed my attitude and behaviour towards winning and losing. She then advised me on the importance of accepting defeat gracefully.

She told me to observe the reactions of other contestants at the end of each event. It was then that I began to notice how some took their defeat graciously – they didn’t sulk but walked away smiling and with their heads held high.

I was reminded that apart from winning, competitions are a platform for me to gain invaluable experiences from which I would be motivated to do better.

After all, who says that competitions are only about winning and losing?

When it comes to academics, I too face fierce competition among my peers. As a popular saying goes, it is more difficult to stay on top than to get there.

Having worked my way to be placed among the top three in my grade, I put even more effort in maintaining my grades and securing my position.

But seeing how hard it is to achieve good grades constantly, I have learnt to accept my results whenever I miss the mark. That does not mean that I have given up aiming for the best – my parents would be upset if I got an F in my examination.

Accepting defeat or unmet goals does not mean giving up; it simply means learning from the experience and treating it as a springboard for you to bounce back higher.

Competition has permeated all aspects of society because everyone wants to succeed. But I believe that our ultimate aim in life is to become a better person; one who can deal with successes and failures equally well.


Ku Tze Xin is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme. To read more articles written by BRATs participants, sign up for The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout. It is published on Wednesdays and available only through school subscriptions. To subscribe, call the toll free number 1-300-88-7827 (Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm).

For more information on the BRATs programme, go to rage.com.my/brats.

Education , BRATs NiE