IT’S SAID that being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress and twice the tears, but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride.
The single parents of the three students who scored a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in the STPM examination are surely feeling twice the pride today.
R. Khirtigha, Shum Mun Hoe and Wong Carmen, all 20, were elated to know that they achieved 4.0 even though they had doubts about whether they would even do wel.
Their parents, who were not present for the release of the results yesterday due to work commitments, immediately called them to ask their results and were proud with what they have achieved.
“My mother called me from Australia and when I told her about the result she said she was proud that her efforts had not been in vain,” said St Michael’s institution student Wong, whose mother works on a farm in Queensland, Australia.
Wong said her mother worked hard to take care of her and her two siblings even though she could not be there physically.
“Whenever I feel down or I need a push, I call my mother. She toils in the hot sun almost every day, but she does not mind doing it for us. She only wants the best for us.
“This motivated me to do well in the STPM,” said Wong, who took Accountancy, General Studies, Economy and Business Studies.
Shum, also from St Michael’s Institution, said his mother was very happy with how he performed even though he told her before the results that he did not do too well in General Studies.
He even applied to retake his General Studies paper but after finding out he achieved a CGPA of 4.0, he was lost for words.
“I did not do well in my third semester. I applied to retake my General Studies paper but my teacher told me that I scored straight As,” said Shum who took Chemistry, Physics, General Studies and Additional Mathematics.
Khirtigha, from SMK Methodist (ACS) said she was very worried about her result after she and her schoolteacher analysed her papers.
Khirtigha, who sat for the General Studies, Economy, History, Malay Language and Tamil Language papers, was afraid that she did not do too well in General Studies.
“I expected to get 3.89 but I am happy that I have exceeded my own expectations. The reason behind my great result – my teachers and grandparents.”
She said her mother, who works in a factory, supported her even though people had criticised her for rejecting matriculation and going for Form Six instead.
“So many people teased me for making such a move but my mother and my grandparents motivated me to prove them wrong.
“Many people told me the STPM would be tough but I know people who did well in it. My cousin got 3As and 1B for his STPM and now he is lawyer. Now I am going to follow in his footsteps,” said Khirtigha.
Muhd A’tif Pahmi, another student from SMK Anderson, who scored perfect results for General Studies, History, Geography and Malay Language attributed his success to his teachers and friends.
After school, he would attend extra classes and even had discussions with his friends.
“I would only go back home after 5pm. From 2pm to 5pm, my friends and I would share tips and techniques. I would like to thank them.”
A’tif wants to pursue International Relations but also said he does not mind Law, as long as he pursues his study in any public university in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, in SMJK Sam Tet Ipoh, although student Chok Mun Lam was no top scorer, he made his amputee father Chok Swee Hoe, 56, proud with his CGPA of 3.42.
Swee Hoe lost his left arm and left leg in an accident in 2009, and lost his job as a driver.
Mun Lam said, the fact that his family had to get by on only his mother’s income as a hardware shop worker pushed him to focus on his studies more.
“Back when the accident happened to my dad, I was only in Form One. I couldn’t do anything to help my family.
“But I believe that with good results, I am capable of changing my family’s financial situation,” he said.
Due to financial constraints, Mun Lam also said studying for STPM was not easy as he had to cut down on his tuition classes.
“My parents could no longer afford to send me to more classes, so I decided to focus more on Chemistry and Mathematics,” he said.
Scoring 2As in General Studies and Chemistry and 2Bs in Physics and Additional Mathematics, Mun Lam said he will be applying next week to retake the Additional Mathematics paper.
“I don’t feel satisfied with my grade because I’m confident that I can actually score better than this,” he said, adding that his ambition is to become a teacher.
On the other hand, top student Cheah Cheng Theik is among the 11 students in the school who achieved a perfect CGPA of 4.0.
“I’m so surprised and happy because I didn’t expect this at all. I was having a tough time with General Studies because it’s my weakest subject,” he said.
Being the only child in the family, Cheah, who also took Physics, Chemistry and Additional Mathematics, said he had to rely on his friends and teachers for help when he faced difficulties with his studies.
“The most important thing students must do when it comes to facing the STPM is to study consistently and try to do as many exercises as they can on their weak subjects,” he said, adding that he plans to pursue engineering in the National University of Singapore soon.
Another top scorer Ho Joe Yee was all smiles when she found out about her excellent results.
Being in the Physics stream like her classmate Cheah, Ho was also worried about her performance in General Studies because of its strict marking scheme.
“I had to give answers according to the marking format. And I struggled the most in the essay section.
“During school semesters, my average score was always around 40 marks out of 100,” she said.
The youngest of two children in her family, Ho advises other students to study every day, but also to remember to take frequent breaks before sitting for them STPM.
“I always tell myself to study hard and play hard so I don’t be studying all day long.
“I’ll rest for one to two hours by taking a nap or playing games on my phone,” she said, stressing that it is also important not to miss any lessons.
Ho plans to pursue environmental engineering in Singapore or Universiti Malaya.
SMJK Sam Tet Ipoh achieved the record for having the most students scoring a CGPA of 4.0 in Perak for last year’s STPM.