Never too late to learn


WORK hard, be serious and do your best – this is Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s recipe for success.

When visiting his alma mater, SMK Cochrane, the former newsroom sub-editor-turned-politician shared his story with students.

The father-of-two hoped his story would motivate students to pursue success.

He said it was his first time back to the school in Maluri since his appointment as Chief Minister last year.

Speaking at the morning assembly, the 61-year-old, who was born in Kuala Lumpur, shared how he had failed to enter institutions of higher education after completing his Higher School Certificate (HSC). So he began working in a civil engineering firm in Petaling Jaya as a trainee draftsman.

“I drew up plans for buildings, roads and drains, with a starting salary of RM180 a month.

“After completing two years in the firm, my colleagues encouraged me to reapply to enter universities.

“Eventually in 1980, I got a seat in Universiti Sains Malaysia (to study for a Bachelor in Social Sciences) in Penang and after that, I continued living and working in the state.

“That was how my journey began from (Jalan) Chan Sow Lin and being a student in SMK Cochrane, to becoming Penang Chief Minister,” he said to a cheering crowd of students and teachers.

Chow revisited his former school as part of a “Back to Alma Mater” programme, which also saw him present a mock cheque to the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. The RM5,000 donation was from a fellow alumnus.

He said like any other alumni, he left SMK Cochrane with “a thousand meaningful memories”.

“It was here that my friends and I studied and shared many experiences.“From a building with just five classrooms and one floor, four instructors and 83 students, SMK Cochrane is now on par with other elite schools.

“And in 2015, SMK Cochrane was selected as a trust school.

“I believe the selection was made based on the potential of the school’s teachers who are committed to maximise their students’ potential,” he added.

SMK Cochrane principal Haslina Kamari is proud to have Chow as an alumnus.

She hopes his story of success will encourage students to work hard to achieve their ambitions.

“I would like them to follow in Chow’s footsteps, especially in not giving up hope when things don’t go according to plan,” she said.