From US to Malaysia with love

Remembering her roots: Yow’s message was featured in a video of the school’s graduation ceremony. — Photo sourced from social media

PETALING JAYA: Pupils of SJK(C) Keat Hwa (K) in Alor Setar, Kedah, had a pleasant surprise during their recent online graduation. Speaking to them in Mandarin from the United States was the mayor of Eastvale, Jocelyn Yow, who graduated from the school in 2006.

The 25-year-old, who is of Malaysian and Vietnamese parentage, recently made news as the “youngest woman of colour to serve as a mayor of a California city”. Eastvale is a city near Los Angeles, California.

The school had posted a video of the graduation ceremony on Facebook with some clips of the building and its activities as well as Yow’s message.

In the one-minute, 40-second video, Yow spoke about her feelings when she graduated from the school 14 years ago.

Encouraging the pupils to hone other skills besides academic achievements, she said leadership skills were equally important.

“There will be times when you may feel some pressure when entering secondary school. While school results are important, leadership skills are equally important, ’’ she said, adding that her best memories of her school years were the extra-curricular activities.

“I have learned and grown a lot from being a member of the Girl Guides. The experience helped shape my character, ” she said.

Yow also reminded the pupils to see themselves as a ‘’unique’’ person.

“When you are in secondary school, there are thousands of students with you. When you’re in university, there are like 10,000 students with you.

“When you are at work, there are millions of people with you. The world is huge but most importantly, you have to believe in yourself, and dare to be yourself, ” she said.

Yow said a person would not be able to convince others if he or she did not first believe in themselves, urging the pupils not to be afraid to fail.

“When we grow up, we will stumble and fall. We should have the courage and confidence to stand up again to face challenges.

“I hope all of you will fiercely pursue your dreams, ” said Yow, who also thanked her former class teacher Yang Li Zhen in her message.

Yow, who has a six-month-old son, said her father moved to the United States in the 1980s for further studies.

In 1996, they moved to Malaysia when her paternal grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and she ended up spending over 10 years in Kedah.

According to reports, she studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in government at Harvard Extension School.

On her appointment to the one-year term, Yow noted that she was one of the very few young mothers to serve as a mayor in California.

In 2018, Yow was elected to the city council of Eastvale, home to about 55,602 residents in Riverside county.

Previously, she was a district representative in the California senate and an aide for the US House of Representatives.

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mayor , Eastvale , Jocelyn Yow


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