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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 02 November 2014 00:00

Study Grant Recipient Praises School as the Perfect Paradise

Written by  Tan Kim Hion / KL & Selangor Translated by Chew Chiau Ping

This drawing is proof of Agatiyan’s determination in pursuing knowledge and wisdom, which conveys a message that “knowledge can make a person wiser and triumph in his life”. [Photograph by Lim Choon Huat]

Accompanied by his mother, 14-year-old Agatiyan a/l Kanesan stood on stage in front of a large audience comprised of more than 200 students and 300 parents. He recited a poem entitled, “School”, to show the importance of knowledge and passion in pursuing studies.


 
School
A school,
A place where,
The geniuses are left to be,
The teachers are great,
Lessons are learned,
Leave us with good morals,
And will help us express ourselves.
 
A school,
With different races, religions and personalities,
With joy of laughter,
With tears of sadness,
But it depends on how we look,
For me it is my heaven,
SAB is a wonderful place to be,
It is the place for me.
 
Agatiyan’s passion for school and knowledge was evident as he recited his poem loudly and passionately in English. Proclaiming that “school is the paradise for learning”, he wanted to share his passion with the students among the audience.
 
November 2, 2014 was an unforgettable and surprising day for Form 2 student, Agatiyan. On this day, he received Tzu Chi Study Grant in a Presentation Ceremony held at Kuen Cheng High School and was invited on stage to share his stories with the audience.
 
Despite being on stage for the first time, Agatiyan calmly recounted his bumpy journey in pursuing studies, which is both precious and unforgettable.
 
Study hard towards realizing dream
 
Since kindergarten, Agatiyan has developed an interest in reading. Touched by how the doctors on the television show saved people lives, he vowed to become a doctor. When his mother learned about his ambition, she advised him to study hard as to become a doctor requires a lot of knowledge.
 
Since then, studying hard has been his biggest goal. When he was in Year 1, his father was admitted to hospital due to an accident. When he visited his father in the hospital, he was deeply saddened to see him covered in wounds and mourning in pain. Realizing only a doctor could cure his father, he became even more determined to become a doctor himself.
 
Being the eldest son in the family of seven, Agatiyan’s ambition had stood the test of time. His family was poor as his father was the sole breadwinner, who makes a living by driving lorry.
 
Seeing how hard his father has been working and how tired his mother was when taking care of his siblings, Agatiyan never asks for toys. Furthermore, he and his brothers would volunteer with the house work upon their return from school. He is well aware that the money he makes when he becomes a doctor will lighten his father’s burden. 
 
With this goal in mind, he put all his focus on his studies. In school, he concentrated on his teachers’ lectures; after school, he did the revision and homework alongside his brother. Despite spending 12 hours on studies daily, he never complained about having too much homework or used his poverty as the excuse not to study. 
 
All his hard work had paid off as is evident from his excellent academic results. He managed to obtain good results in UPSR (primary school evaluation test), scoring “As” in all subjects, and enabling him to move up to secondary school.
 
Poverty is not a hindrance to success
 
Agatiyan’s achievement has proven that poverty is not a hindrance to success. Since scoring all “As” in UPSR, his confidence has grown. However, on one unfortunate day before the final examinations, he was involved in an accident on the way back. His motorbike collided with a car, throwing him off the back seat and his head hit the tree when he fell.
 
“When that accident happened in September, my leg was broken and my head was injured. Luckily I survived. During that time, I feared the worst for my studies,” recalled Agatiyan. While lying on bed, he wondered whether he could continue going to school and move up to Form 2 if he skipped the examinations.
 
When his teachers and friends in school learned about his leg injury, they took turns tutoring him at home. During the three-month recovery period, he never once gave up on his studies. Instead, he studied every day and even completed the homework given by his teacher.
 
With perseverance and hard work, he did well in the examinations and moved up to Form 2.
 
When he finally returned to school, he appreciated the schooling days even more. Due to the accident, he could no longer run freely like he used to. Furthermore, his leg would hurt whenever it rains. Therefore, he took up other extracurricular activities and started to learn new languages. Now, he has not only mastered Tamil, English and Bahasa Malaysia, but has also learnt to speak Korean and French. The joy he found in learning languages had propelled him to represent his class, which won in English poetry recitation competition.
 
However, Agatiyan felt that his memory has deteriorated since the accident. He said, “Now I find studying becoming harder. I will experience headache whenever I study for over an hour.” This post-injury complication has prompted him to double his time and effort on his studies.
 
The pain he sustained was not a hindrance to his studies, neither has he given up or complained about it. The time in school was precious to him. Therefore, whenever the headache occurred, he would ask for his teacher’s permission to rest for five to ten minutes and resume studies later.
 
Agatiyan once sketched a pencil drawing in which the Earth, supported by a hand, wears a mortarboard with a book beside it. This favourite drawing of his was proof of his determination in pursuing knowledge and wisdom, which conveyed a message that “knowledge can make a person wiser and triumph in his life”.
 
His firm belief in “Wisdom is a guiding light in one’s life” has motivated him to ignore the pain and persist in pursuing knowledge.
 
Tzu Chi Study Grant award is a pleasant surprise
 
Agatiyan’s parents are also a source of his motivation, as he sees his father working hard outside and spending little on his meals to save enough money for his children to eat in school.
 
As they could not afford the children’s tuition fees, Agatiyan’s mother would spend at least three hours a day helping the children with their homework. She would consult her friend – a teacher, whenever she encountered difficulty in the homework. Since there is no computer at home, whenever Agatiyan needs to search for information online, his mother would accompany him to the internet café nearby.
 
After the accident, his mother enrolled him in tuition as she was worried that he could not catch up with the studies. However, not wanting to burden his parents, he decided to quit the tuition after two months. Moved by his thoughtfulness, she accepted his decision.
 
The mother is the children’s pillar of strength, as is evident from the freedom, openness and support given by her. All children are equally important to her. Although the second son is not as good as Agatiyan academically, she still shows the same level of support and recognition for him.
 
Having experienced the pain after the accident, Agatiyan not only hopes to become a doctor, but also to build a hospital as well.
 
“With my own hospital, I can treat the poor for free and charge a fee from the rich. Those money can provide a better life for my parents,” said Agatiyan naively, and her mother happily responded, “I look forward to seeing him in a doctor’s uniform one day and that would be the happiest day in my life.”
 
Agatiyan is very thankful for the study grant awarded by Tzu Chi. He remembered the joy when he received the study grant three years ago with his teacher’s help. He then spent the money on school fees, uniforms, reference books and stationery.
 
This year, Tzu Chi volunteers visited his family for his brother’s study grant application. Upon realizing the family’s predicament and difficulty in paying for the children’s school fees, volunteers applied the study grant for Agatiyan too.
 
Agatiyan was pleasantly surprised and happy that he could attend the ceremony with his Form 1 brother to receive the study grant. Although this aid may not be substantial to others, the money is very important to Agatiyan as he could spend it on stationery, reference books and next year’s school fees.
 
Agatiyan’s relentless effort in pursuing his studies and ambition by not giving in to sickness and poverty deeply moved the audience. As Agatiyan and his mother walked down from stage, the audience gave them a big round of applause. It was the most powerful encouragement and warmest blessings to him.
 
 
Accompanied by his mother (in the middle), Agatiyan recited a poem entitled, “My School”, to show the importance of knowledge and passion in studies. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]   Agatiyan’s mother would spend at least three hours a day helping the children with their homework. [Photograph by Lim Choon Huat]

Accompanied by his mother (in the middle), Agatiyan recited a poem entitled, “My School”, to show the importance of knowledge and passion in studies. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]
 
Agatiyan’s mother would spend at least three hours a day helping the children with their homework. [Photograph by Lim Choon Huat]
 
Agatiyan was invited by volunteers to share his stories on stage during the Study Grant Presentation Ceremony. He is seen here practising the speech with his mother before taking the stage. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   Agatiyan was pleasantly surprised to receive the study grant once again. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]

Agatiyan was invited by volunteers to share his stories on stage during the Study Grant Presentation Ceremony. He is seen here practising the speech with his mother before taking the stage. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
 
Agatiyan was pleasantly surprised to receive the study grant once again. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]
 
Both Agatiyan and his younger brother (right) received the study grant. It was important to them as they could spend it on school fees, uniforms, reference books and stationery. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]    

Both Agatiyan and his younger brother (right) received the study grant. It was important to them as they could spend it on school fees, uniforms, reference books and stationery. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]