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By KEN VIN LEK
My high school life was monotonous and one-dimensional. In fact, the time spent glossing through thick history text books and practicing math questions now seems far from what life is truly about. I have chosen the road more taken by pursuing A-levels in a relatively famous institution, Taylor’s University. This time around, however, I was not contented with just scoring perfect grades. It felt incomplete – I felt incomplete. Grades still mattered, of course, but the diligence that I applied to achieve that A also had to be channeled towards more meaningful causes.
Thus, I founded the Taylor’s Model United Nations club in this college because I believed it could be the platform for today’s youth to actually see the world beyond our shores and realise that there’s more to life than just studying. Within its first year, it achieved great heights. Having attended 5 MUN conferences, we took it a level further.
When the war between Palestine and Israel sparked, we knew we could not let this issue slip by unnoticed. Awareness was vital, yet it was lacking – we had to make the plight of war refugees known to everybody. We were adamant that no one would be left ignorant about it. The only way to do so was to create a bang, and what better way than to invite Tun Dr Mahathir to speak his views regarding the issue.
The provocative and engaging discussion saw active participation from all Taylorians – not only did the students recognise the war on the other side of the world, but they also recognised the need to be involved in helping the refugees. The birth of consciousness for humanity in those students from this event remains the greatest highlight of my tenure in this club as President. Not only did I feel more fulfilled, I was also proud that I had done my best to pave, if not construct, the way towards a better tomorrow.
I was also an avid advocate for raising awareness on AIDS. Being the president of the Pre-Medical Society, I served as a volunteer and activist for the Malaysian AIDS Council, as the staggering numbers of people living with AIDS in this country are bound to increase exponentially if nothing is done now. I realised that this club could act as the pivot to put a full stop to this predicament. With that, I organised awareness campaigns, and gathered groups of volunteers to help out at the International AIDS Memorial Day as part of the effort to make this issue known to the people.
Medicine has always been my passion. It may have initially stemmed from other reasons but I am glad that it is now because of wanting, in whatever way I can, to help improve and make a difference in healthcare so that everybody has a chance to live healthily and thus, happily. That, I believe, is the position I must take and the role I must play in all of our efforts to create the best tomorrow.
What changed my perception of life – which previously focused on status and materialism – to one of compassion and humanitarianism was my trip to the rural areas of Miri. There, I witnessed the plight of people who had lived with disfigurements for 30 years. I saw the sufferings of helpless parents trying to ease their babies’ pain, and kids not being able to talk, hear, or even eat properly because of their cleft lip – all because they were not city dwellers or wealthy enough to procure healthcare. I was disappointed by this injustice, and these events unleashed my drive to one day ensure everyone gets equal treatment regardless of their bank statements, who they are, or where they come from.
Come September, I will be off in pursuit of my ambition. I have received an offer to read Medicine in the University of Edinburgh and if everything goes well, I will be on my way. I have always believed that it is when we stand on the shoulders of giants that we are able to see further and in my case, it is the institution where I will be seeking my tertiary education.
I leave you not with my experience, but with a challenge that every single one of us has what it takes to shape and mould the world to live in a better tomorrow.
Ken Vin Lek desires to make a difference in this world. He is about to complete his A-levels at Taylor’s University under the President’s Award Scholarship and head over to the University of Edinburgh to read Medicine. He firmly believes that we should live a life where you are grateful for what you have and serve the less fortunate community, for everyone in this world deserves an equal shot at everything.
Note: The above entry was written in 2010 for What’s After SPM?, published in 2011. This non-for-profit book project is a collaboration between Leaderonomics and a team of young Malaysians. Click here for details on the project and authors.
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