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Efforts that win hearts and minds for a better Malaysia

Farah showing her SPM results slip

Farah showing her SPM results slip

Shahrum Sayuthi
Written by Shahrum Sayuthi

March 23 2017

HER 6As may not be as grand as the straight As of celebrated Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) top scorers, but Farah Marcella Bandie’s achievement was indeed special.

This is so because Farah managed the relatively good SPM results despite her family’s poverty. She lives in a store room at a snooker outlet with her mother and five siblings.

What followed after she received her SPM results last Thursday was also inspiring as Farah’s plight was made known to the public by her dedicated teacher Suraya Abdul Karim via Facebook.

Suraya, who teaches Farah at SMK Seri Kota Puteri, Pasir Gudang, together with her brother Zaikhan, raised a fund to ensure her student could afford to further her studies.

They managed to raise almost RM20,000 just within days through generous donations by those who were touched by the girl’s story.

It is actually a story of a student who managed to do well despite all odds and her teacher who is true to her noble teaching profession of not only educating but also caring and nurturing the young.

Farah could have been another talented but deprived youngster if not for Suraya’s effort to go the extra mile as a teacher.

Suraya, who is also a disciplinary teacher at the school had found out about her student’s living condition after she tracked Farah down to where she lives.

Farah, despite doing relatively well in her studies was frequently absent from school.

She would have likely end up like her elder brother Hans Hemsus, who despite scoring 5As for his SPM two years earlier decided to forgo further studies to work at the snooker outlet to support his mother, who suffers from depression, and his siblings.

Suraya and Zaikhan had said that they hope the fund raised for Farah would also be enough to help Hans further his studies.

It is comforting to know that many Malaysians have been generous to help Farah and her unfortunate family.

It was also commendable that Pasir Gudang Member of Parliament Normala Abdul Samad had assigned her aide to assist them to find a new house as well as provide other financial assistance.

The Umno Welfare Bureau had also affirmed that it will assist Farah’s siblings, Sephian Najmie, 16, Aduka Aliff Putra, 12, and Puteri Emily Nastasia, 10, who have not been going to school.

Nonetheless, despite all that, more should have been done for poor students like Farah and their families.

Members of parliament, state assemblymen or even their political parties should have their “eyes and ears” on the ground to better detect and help those in need. For instance, their “service centres” should do more for this purpose.

There were actually many cases such as Farah’s family which went unnoticed and ended up being left outside the mainstream of society.

If not for her teacher’s dedication to help her, Farah would most probably suffer the same fate.

It would have been very unfortunate if that had happened.

Then there are Farah’s younger teen siblings who have to quit school because of the family’s poverty.

This should not have happened if those who were supposed to care for the welfare of people in the area had been properly doing their job and more aware of cases such as theirs.

As Malaysia moves forward to achieve its high income society ambition, those unfortunate such as Farah and her family should not be forgotten and left to fend for themselves. Otherwise, ours will end up being a heartless soulless society.

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Shahrum Sayuthi

Shahrum Sayuthi