TRAVELLING across the border daily and struggling to get used to online classes were just some of the challenges 77-year-old Ram Sing Gengarajoo went through while pursuing a master’s degree programme.
While most people his age would be enjoying retirement, Ram Sing decided to obtain a Master of Science in Safety, Health and Environment from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
The former forestry officer said he wanted to continue his studies in his golden years to keep his mind and body active.
“I feel that age is not a barrier and I want to do more in life.
“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so I should not just sit around.
“The journey was nonetheless challenging as it has been years since I last sat down and revised for hours.
“However, it was worth it, especially when I managed to graduate with flying colours after two years of ups and downs,” Ram Sing told StarMetro in an interview.
The father of five received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Allahabad, India in 1979.
He then worked at the Forestry Development Authority for more than three decades.
Ram Sing, who lives with his son in Singapore, said he travelled between Johor and the island republic daily for a month before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
“My son would send me to the Causeway and from there, I would walk across the border and take a taxi fom Johor Baru to UTM in Skudai for my classes.
“However, one month into my semester, Covid-19 hit and classes were then held online,” he said.
Ram Sing added that he then faced another challenge – learning how to cope with virtual classes.
“It was a relief in a way as I no longer had to travel that much but getting used to virtual classes was not easy.
“My children were very supportive and helped me along the way, especially when it came to online classes,” said Ram Sing, who is a freelance consultant.
He said he was inspired by his children as they too had pursued post-graduate studies.
“Instead of inspiring them, I think it is the other way around as they inspired me,” said the grandfather of eight.
He was the oldest graduate at the 66th UTM convocation ceremony in Skudai, Johor.