PETALING JAYA: As a young student from the small town of Bagan Dalam in Seberang Perai, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop used to brag that he “studied overseas”.
“I would take a ferry to St Xavier’s Institution on the island every morning. So, technically, I did,” he laughed.
Nor Mohamed, who is now Khazanah Nasional Bhd deputy chairman, said although he was an outstanding student in his rural town, he initially found it hard to adjust to a city school.
“When they were separating us into our classes, I expected to get into the A class because I always got first in my kampung. But I was put in the C class instead.
“It bruised my ego. But then I realised that the difference between the standards in the city and the kampung schools were so wide.
“The quality of teaching was different, the language was better, the students read all sorts of books and they had facilities I never had back home,” recalled Nor Mohamed.
He said to become the man he is today, a lot of hard work went into making up for the disadvantage he had to face during his early education.
“Education is like a race. Whether we perform well is up to us but it is very important to give the same opportunity to all students at the starting line,” he said during a book signing by Pintar Foundation at the Times Bookstore in Bangsar yesterday.
The book, titled Beating the Odds, features a collection of stories of children from under-served schools and their struggle with education.
It also features life stories from prominent Malaysian figures like squash champion Datuk Nicol David, activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, shoe king Datuk Dr Jimmy Choo, fashion designer Datuk Bernard Chandran and cartoonist Datuk Lat.
Proceeds from the book sales will go into helping underprivileged students in 309 schools under the Pintar Foundation nationwide.
Pintar Foundation Board of Trustees chairman Tan Sri Arshad Ayub said it was important to constantly nurture such students as they were “handicapped” compared to the more privileged students.
“The playing fields are not level unfortunately. And this is what Pintar is trying to do for the under-served schools,” he said.
The book, which is targeted for readers aged seven to 15, is priced at RM65 and is available at selected MPH Bookstores, Times or Borders outlets.
For more details, visit the Pintar Foundation Facebook page, call 03-2268 0000 or e-mail email@example.com.
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