Orphaned at the age of nine, this teenager shows that determination changes everything.
I was born in 1999 in Negri Sembilan and raised in Kuala Lumpur. I’m 18 this year and am the youngest in a family of seven - a brother and five step-siblings.
My mother passed on from breast cancer when I was one, and my father from heart attack when I was nine. I’ve never got the chance to know my mother, or have any memory of her, no matter how slight. I only got to “know” her from pictures, which my relatives were reluctant to hand me out of fear that I will cry every night. My father was an angel to me.
Even though I only knew him for nine years, those years were the best. He was a very kind and wise man and everyone who met him would smile without fail. I never thought that I would lose him so soon, and it destroyed my little world because he was all I had and knew. It killed my soul and I bawled my eyes out knowing that I would never see him again.
My father was old and frail when he decided to send me to Angels Home (or Rumah Kanak Kanak Angel at Kuala Lumpur’s Taman OUG) when I was seven. I was scared that I could not fit in, but then again, an orphanage is a place for wonderful misfits. All I can say is that I was never happier about his decision – one that has made me who I am today – an independent lady with many skills and experiences.
My life in Angels Home was like a safe haven. Nevertheless, it has been a rollercoaster too, where I experienced ups and downs that taught me valuable life lessons. I learnt how to manage time, respect all regardless of age and status, do house chores, to always complete homework, and many more.
Each and every day I will not forget to be thankful for my family in Angels Home. Every single moment spent there is precious and will always be etched in the back of mind, the good and the bad. They have been there for me in times of need and happiness. The love I have for each and every one of them is unconditional because I know that we are all in the same situation. And I can tell you that I am very lucky to be an orphan because it made me strong, even though I was different.
Time and time again, I remind myself that “great effort leads to success”. This motto has driven me to where I am today since I was eight. My caretaker and guardian, Aunty Belinda, has been my inspiration, and has taken care of me like her own child. My achievements could not have been accomplished if it wasn’t for her.
In Angels Home, education is the main priority, besides food and shelter. When I was 11, I promised Aunty Belinda that I would score first in class. I worked hard and proved it to her. I saw how it made her very happy, and I knew that the only way to repay her for her kindness is to get good results.
At 12, I had my UPSR exam and I put in great effort and scored straight As. I didn’t do as well for PT3 – 3As, 3Bs and 3Cs.
I had to work very hard to prove those who doubted me.
I knew that I have to go to college for a better and brighter future. My caretaker and family in Angels supported me through one of the toughest challenge I faced – SPM.
I spent many hours a day studying, doing revision, attending extra classes and going for tuition. Many sacrifices were made in return for good results so I could make my family proud. By God’s grace, my hard work and determination has been rewarded. I scored 4A+, 3A, 1A- and 1B+ (in Bahasa Malaysia).
I am now eager to take my education to the next level by pursuing a foundation in science leading to a degree in biochemistry at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).
I don’t expect the college experience to turn me into an all-knowing adult, but I am relying on it to help me explore the world of ideas. Armed with this knowledge, I want to take the chance to help make the world a better place, and to make a difference.
In life, I strive to be balanced; not just academically but also possess good communication and leadership skills. There is so much more for me to learn, discover and experience, and I am ready for it – help the helpless, the poor, the needy, the orphaned, and to be the joy for those who suffer in silence.
Many people have helped me in many ways – be it money, advice or teaching – and I am ever so grateful for it. Without their help, I would have been lost like a boat in the ocean.
As for my journey to college, I need to prove to those who have the mentality that teenagers from orphanages will never be successful in life – wrong.
To those of you who have hope in me, I know I have an abundance of potential within me, and I will bring it to fruition. I promise. Why? Because... I’m different.
- The writer is tidying up her things at Angels Home as she prepares for new challenges at UTAR beginning May.