Featured in Victorious - Autumn 2014

There is a factual error here: 1 hour by boat from the closest town, Song. 3 hours by boat from the closest city, Sibu.
Still, this is an amazing amazing amazing honour!
I never imagined that I would be interesting enough to be featured in the alumni magazine, the Victorious, of my alma mater in New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington. In this magazine, I usually read about exemplary alumni who are contributing greatly to society; i.e. researchers, scholars, business people, biologists, mathematicians, policy makers & economists.

I'm just an English teacher working in the middle of nowhere with children who do not come from rich or influential backgrounds. I'm not doing anything world or nation changing like many others who have been featured in the magazine. I'm just doing what is within my circle of influence to make a difference in a rural community like many thousands of teachers are currently doing & countless others have done.

I am not a hero. Nor am I a lone ranger doing everything myself. Every day, I work with top-notch colleagues without whom I will be unable to carry out 100% of my programmes. I also work with the kindest students who are the most eager to learn in Malaysia. I want to highlight their faceless contributions of sweat & blood to my achievements. They are the heroes.

This is an unbelievable encouragement to me & it motivates me to work harder to enlarge my circle of influence until one day it reaches a tipping point where I can make a real difference for the betterment of my country. Thank you so much to the people who have believed in me & helped me along in my journey.

Thank you, Dr Jonathan Newton, Kristina Keogh & the Victorious team for believing that I'm worthy of this honour. I am speechless & totally grateful!

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Salam Aidilfitri