Not letting disability hold her back

JOHOR BARU: Like many teens, How Xue Qi enjoys drawing and painting during her free time, but the difference is that she does it with her left leg.

Born without arms and a right leg, she has to depend solely on her left leg to express herself creatively through visual arts.

Overcoming odds: Xue Qi was given the Johor Inspirational SPM Student Award at a ceremony in Johor Baru. Born without arms and right leg, she depends solely on her left leg to draw and paint, which are her favourite activities. — THOMAS YONG/The StarOvercoming odds: Xue Qi was given the Johor Inspirational SPM Student Award at a ceremony in Johor Baru. Born without arms and right leg, she depends solely on her left leg to draw and paint, which are her favourite activities. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

“I have loved drawing and painting since I was in kindergarten. I usually draw the things that I like, such as landscapes or food.

“I would take the time to colour my drawing by holding the pencil or paintbrush between my toes,” the 18-year-old said when met at the Johor level Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) excellence award ceremony here yesterday.

Xue Qi, who studies at SMK Taman Daya, said she enjoys school.

Her twin sister How Xue Thing and classmates help her navigate around in a wheelchair.

Despite the challenges, she managed to pass all eight subjects in the recent SPM examination, where she scored an A for visual arts.

Xue Qi ’s hard work and determination also earned her the state Inspirational SPM Student Award, which was presented by state education and information committee chairman Aznan Tamin at the ceremony.

“I did not expect to pass all my subjects because I was quite weak in History and even failed the subject in my mid-year examination last year.

“I remember feeling nervous while checking my SPM results online last month,” Xue Qi said.

However, she managed to get all passes.

“I would like to thank my patient teachers who gave me extra assistance, especially in History,” she said, adding that she was also grateful to her parents for not putting any pressure on her.

On her plans, she said she would be furthering her studies in Form Six at the same school before pursuing a path to achieve her dreams of becoming an interior designer.

“I want other people – especially those like me – to know that we can achieve the things we want to do if we put our mind to it.

“Just believe in yourself and be happy in your own skin,” she said, adding that she wants to set a good example to her three younger siblings as well.

As for Anna Maria Ahmad, receiving the best Orang Asli SPM candidate award was her way of showing other Orang Asli families the importance of staying in school and completing their studies.

“I know from my own experience that there are many families within our community that do not encourage their children to go to school.

“My father has always stressed the importance of education so that we can get better job opportunities, rather than dropping out and doing odd jobs that are short term,” said Anna Maria from Kampung Orang Asli Kuala Masai.

The SMK Taman Rinting 2 student said she had scored 5As and 2B+s in her SPM, and it was her first time going on stage to receive an award.

“I am happy with my results, given that I had to skip classes many times due to financial reasons or to take care of sick family members.

“Even then, I would always do revision and get notes from my teachers to study at home. I hope to become a lawyer one day and help the Orang Asli community,” she added.

The Star photographer Thomas Yong’s daughter Eileen Yong was also among the award recipients.

The SMK Seri Perling student scored 10As, including nine A+s, in her SPM.

Aznan said the award ceremony was meant to acknowledge the state’s 50 best SPM and 10 Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia students.

Each of them was given a certificate, plaque and RM1,000 courtesy of Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor.

A total of 42,221 candidates sat for the 2023 SPM examination in Johor, where 133 were special needs candidates, he added.

“The state government will be sponsoring five excellent SPM candidates to further their studies in any of the top 20 best universities in the world, which is an increase from last year’s three candidates that we have sent overseas,” Aznan said.

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Disabled , SPM , Student , Hobby , Arts , Secondary School , Orang Asli


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