SMK Mantin curricular senior assistant Dr Josephine Ong Kui Hua received her PhD in history during the recent Universiti Malaya (UM) convocation.
For her PhD research, she spent more than seven years staying in Vietnam and received the Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Programme grant and a UM grant to complete her thesis on the migration of the Chinese community to southern Vietnam from the 17th to 18th centuries.
“I thank God for guiding and protecting me through my various journeys from north Vietnam to south Vietnam to gather valuable facts to support my research.
“I also wish to thank my PhD supervisor Prof Dr Danny Wong Tze Ken who encouraged me to carry out the research in Vietnam.
“It opened the floodgates of knowledge on the French influenced Indo-China region,” she said after receiving her scroll last Saturday.
Dr Ong completed her undergraduate degree in history and linguistics at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and her Master’s in history from UM.
She was also active in sports and competed in basketball at the inter school and varsity levels.
Dr Ong has been a Jempol district schools sports council basketball coach for the past 15 years. She has also taught history to Form Five students for the past 21 years — 17 years in SMJK Chi Wen in Bahau and for the past five years in SMK Mantin.
She thanked her husband, Sathiyakumar Rajasingam, an English teacher for his support while completing her PhD.
“With his encouragement, I managed to complete my viva and thesis,” she said, adding that her main resources were in French and Vietnamese languages which she meticulously translated to Bahasa Malaysia .
Meanwhile, Tham Kuen Wei, 23, was one of two Royal Education Award recipients during the convocation ceremony. The other recipient was Sofea A Ghani.
Both recipients received their awards from Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah who is also UM chancellor.
The Royal Education Award is given to the best final year student who excels not only academically but also in co-curricular activities such as societies, sports/arts and voluntary/community services.
Two awards will be made each year, one for a Bumiputra student and one for a non-Bumiputra student.
The award will be in the form of a cash prize, a gold medal and a certificate of commendation.
Tham who is from Ipoh, Perak, has achieved consistent straight As in his UPSR, PMR, SPM and Matriculation exams before pursuing the Bachelor of Estate Management at the Faculty of Built Environment for the 2012/2013 session at UM.
Tham was also a recipient of the Kings’ Scout Award in 2011. He was on the Dean’s List for four terms during his degree.
He represented UM in many international events and won competitions and trophies.
“I encourage students to take part in more activities and mix with people of all backgrounds,” he said.