Linette Heng The New Paper Monday, Nov 25, 2013
She took her score of 164, wrapped it in joy and presented it with a smile to her family.
Their response: We're so proud of you. Both Syahera and Skye Poh (see report on right) and their families are beacons of light for those in a dark place after getting their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results.
They believe that great results don't make you great. That what makes you great is you.
Primary 6 student Syahera's score should be able to get her into the Normal Academic stream. It is something the 12-year-old was hoping for.
"I'm so happy," the bubbly girl said. "I hoped to get 180, but I'm very happy because I improved my grades for Science and English."
She had a C for English, A for Malay, 1 for Foundation Maths and 2 for Foundation Science.
Foundation subjects are offered to students who failed at least two subjects in Primary 4.
The Fengshan Primary student went to school alone to collect her results. Her grandmother was unwell and had to take care of her younger cousins. Her father and grandfather were at work.
This is not unusual as life is a day-today struggle, even though she has a loving family.
Syahera's inspiring story was featured in The New Paper earlier this month.
Three generations of her family have lived in the same one-room rental flat and she is their hope of breaking the poverty cycle.Their tiny flat in Chai Chee is home to six, including her grandparents, an uncle and her younger cousins, aged six months and four. She helps with the chores and to take care of her cousins.There is no study space, except for a lone bed in the afternoon and the top of the washing machine in the kitchen at night.
When TNP called on Friday, her grandmother, Madam Suryah, 54, could hardly contain her joy at Syahera's result.
"Education is very important. My youngest sister, who is very clever, had a chance to do her O levels, but my father had no money for that. So for Syahera, I'm going to make sure that she carries on studying, no matter what happens."Whenever it's her exams, I won't ask her to help with the chores unless I'm really sick and stuck in bed," said Madam Suryah, who suffers from chronic asthma.
The rest of the family were excited about her results too. They were sending her messages non-stop on Friday, asking her about it.Her grandmother cooked Syahera's favourite bee hoon as a reward, and the family celebrated her result with prayers in the evening.
"I'm very proud of her. At least she can make it to the Normal Academic stream, without tuition, which we cannot afford," said Madam Suryah.
Her grandparents are concerned about the expenses when Syahera enrols into secondary school. They are planning to check out schools for their financial assistance schemes.
"We will apply for a bursary. In primary school, there are Part A textbooks for the first half of the year and we can buy the rest of the Part B textbooks in June. But I'm not sure if we have to buy all the textbooks at one go in secondary school," said Madam Suryah.
Syahera, who loves art and photography, hopes to be the first in her family to attend polytechnic. Her parents were both educated up to Secondary 2; the same as her father's three brothers. Her father and uncles are shipyard workers. She isn't sure what her birth mother is doing now as they meet only once or twice a year.
Syahera, whose dad does not live with her, said: "My father told me that I'm the cleverest in the family. I'm going to continue to work hard.
"I am very excited about secondary school, to meet new friends and teachers," she said.
As far as we're concerned, Syahera's an A in our book.