Cikgu Lian Fee Choo: Winner of Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald's 2021

The story that inspired me the most: Cikgu Lian Fee Choo

Needing a little bit of motivation after my struggles as a PDPR teacher, I looked at a few of the stories from this year’s recently announced Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s winners. While reading the story of Mr Kalai at SK Nanga Tau, Bintulu, I smiled at the thought that there are great teachers like him in the heartlands of my ibu pertiwiku.

Additionally, I was thoroughly impressed with Ms Ling Fong of SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Penampang, who brilliantly set up a shadow theater so that her deaf students could communicate with a panel of hearing judges. Following that competition, her students were recognized for their talents & invited to perform at events!

However, the story that inspired me the most was one of a principal at SMK Kemabong in Tenom, Sabah. How refreshing to read about a leader in the civil service who walks the talk & does not lead from an armchair. Therefore, it is no wonder that she played a significant role in uplifting the school from one of the worst 20 schools in Sabah into the top 100 during her decade-long tenure.

Besides personally mentoring high-potential students, she is also one of the few principals I know who still teaches, and Form 5 SPM classes at that. Principals usually pass the responsibility of teaching classes onto a teacher. Talk about leading the charge! No wonder their exam results shot through the roof resulting an overall improvement as well as several straight A students, an mind-blowing achievement for a rural school.

In the words of the teacher who nominated her, “orangnya bertubuh langsing, tinggi, berjalan dengan langkah yang cukup yakin dan aura positif yang sentiasa terserlah.” Notice the mention of “aura positif.” How many school leaders have that? A presence that invigorates colleagues in a positive way rather than strikes fear in their hearts. Imagine students learning & teachers innovating under this aura, rather than needing to watch our backs in a toxic culture of “cari kesalahan.” Honestly, the results speak for themselves.

I really hope to meet her one day so I can be a conduit for this positive aura. After all, monkey see, monkey do. It is really hard for teachers to project something that they have not experienced before. I for one want to walk in her footsteps. What she poetically said is very true, “do good and leave behind a virtue that the storm of time can never destroy.”

Thank you for your service, Mdm Lian Fee Choo. Although I have never served under you, I respect you for being the leader that we need to transform education in Malaysia. Your award is well deserved.
Do read Mdm Lian’s full story as well as those of the other equally deserving award winners here:

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