It is one of Pakatan Harapan’s promised manifestos to recognize the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) before the 14th General Election and certain parties are now pushing for it since PH has successfully taken over Putrajaya.
However, PAS and UMNO Youth are strongly against this move as they are concerned about the status of our national language and unity. But Farah Halijah Halim begs to differ, saying that contrary to what some Malaysians say, Chinese schools in her opinion promote unity among the various races in Malaysia.
The 29-year-old told FMT of her first-hand experience, relating how her primary and secondary school education in Chinese schools had taught her how to interact better with those of other races.
“In a way, it (Chinese school education) taught me the value of acceptance. Instead of demanding people respect and understand my needs, I learnt how to tolerate other people’s points of view as well.”
She also mentioned that her non-Malay friends were sensitive about the halal and haram aspect of her religion and even showed deep interest in the way Malays live.
“Some asked about the religious aspects (of Muslims), like the need to wear a tudung and why we need to fast.”
She was also mindful of the fact that her Chinese education meant she would have to learn Mandarin, a language she can speak fluently today as well as Cantonese, which she picked up from her Chinese friends in school!
When asked about the common perception of Chinese school students only mingling among themselves, Farah said that it is not true, because everyone in her school mingled freely with those of different races.
“It’s the same as going to expensive international schools, right? Does that mean that international schools do not promote unity by segregating the rich from the poor?
“And what proof do we have that national schools really promote unity among the races?
“At Foon Yew (Chinese school), they preach the ‘Foon Yew people’ principle, where students are taught not to discriminate against those of other races. Everyone is equal.”
Source: Malaysian Chinese News
What’s more impressive is that Farah emerged as one of the top students in the class of 2005. She was even selected as the valedictorian and the class representative!
“It was a big school and over 1,000 students graduated that year. I was selected as the student speaker for the graduation ceremony.”
She added that it was one of the proudest moments of her life.
Despite her excellent results, she couldn’t get into any public university as the government did not recognize the UEC. She said,
“I was lost at one point after leaving school because I couldn’t get into any of the local universities.”
Farah almost went to China but her father talked her out of it as Chinese degrees weren’t widely recognized in Malaysia at that time. Luckily, Nilai International College recognizes the UEC and offered her a full scholarship.
“So I did my first year in the college, and transferred to Cardiff University in the UK, where I completed my second and third years of study.”
Cardiff University is one of the top universities worldwide, and Farah is now a qualified auditor in one of the largest auditing firms in the world, Ernst & Young, otherwise known as EY.
Despite the difficulty she faced with her UEC qualification, Farah said she does not regret her experience, especially as it equipped her with all the skill she needed to be a success in life.
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(Source: WOB / Free Malaysia Today)