Friday, December 29, 2006


As invited and scheduled, Afirah and our whole family, including my sister in-law from Bagan Serai, were at Penang Education Office this morning, 29 December 2006. Apart from us, there were seven other Penang top PMR students with their respective families. One of them was the top student in special category (visual/sight impaired), while the other seven, including Afirah, were the seven top students. The occasion was the award of Certificate of Appreciation to these eight Penang PMR top scorers in conjunction with the Press Conference on PMR 2006 by Penang Education Director, Tuan Haji Ahmad bin Husain.

Afirah receiving the Certificate of Appreciation from Penang Education Director

The Certificate of Appreciation

At this occasion, again, I have to encounter with journalists. A TV1 (RTM) journalist asked me about the way I guided Afirah to her success. I did not have an exact answer to this because my guidance was actually very minimum. I did not really guide Afirah because she already had an aim of getting 9As and therefore endeavoured for it on her own. I did not have to force her to study. Instead, I gave her freedom when and what to study. I only came to her rescue whenever she needed one.

However, I told the journalist about three main factors. The first is Allah s.w.t., that it is Allah s.w.t. that bestows one with intelligence, the basic ingredient of one's success. Secondly, one's clear goal, hence the efforts. And thirdly, a conducive atmosphere, at home and at school, with parents and teachers and friends.

Afirah and the Penang top scorers

In the first factor, I could observe the gift from Allah s.w.t. of Afirah's brilliance. She is always the top students at every level, the primary and lower secondary levels. Intellectual sub-culture is also in her. Wherever she goes, even to only a supermarket around our area, she would bring a book in her hand and would read it whenever she has a chance, in the car, while waiting for us et. cetera. The place she likes most is bookshops. She would not miss the bookshop whenever she finds one. We share similar hobby in this.

Her goal in PMR, the second factor, was also very clear to her. She wanted 9 straight As and she sticked her own computer-printed statement of this goal on the wall in her room together with other various motivational statements. She set her mind accordingly and worked for it freely, without any pressure from both myself and my wife.

Afirah's goal is sticked firmly on the wall of her room

Afirah's motivational statements in her room

Thirdly, Alhamdulillah, she was also blessed with a conducive atmosphere, at home and at school. She has an air-condition room for herself at home with all sorts of necessary books and resources. Our home holds to a "library within the house" concept, with books in shelves in almost all parts of the house. We do not have any other exhibitable things in the shelves except books. The academic atmosphere is there and she was not pressured by her mum to do any house work such as cooking or cleaning the house. Frankly, her little attention on the housework was more worrying to me than the PMR. But thinking that she was going to sit for an exam, the worrying was definitely controllable.

At school too she had good teachers and brilliant friends who were all aimed for excellent achievement in PMR.