Winners ignored, 5th placers lauded?

Disclaimer: I am one of the judges for the Malaysian level, and I actually interacted with the students from SK Wan Ibrahim during their preparations for representing the country.

That is the title of a letter to MalaysiaKini, which just pissed me off. The author is just as bad as the reporters that he/she claims to be twisting the story through creative editing. First, some facts – while the team were 5th placers, they were awarded the Most Creative award. So, they also did the nation proud and achieved something for themselves.

Now, for my rant. Let me put it this way.

The tiny school from sleepy town of less than 20,000 (with a sizable orang asli population) – Kuala Lipis – deserves to be lauded. If it was not for me being a fan of Siti Nurhaliza, I would not even be aware of the existence of such a rural town. Think about it for a minute. The fact that such a rural school was able to beat all the schools in Pahang and representatives of other states, to earn the right to represent our country at the World Robotic Olympiad, already deserves heaps of praise.

It is exactly this kind of achievement that we need to highlight – to show that even a rural school is able to scale heights, when the teachers and students work hard at something, with full support of the PIBG and the parents.

During the preparations for the WRO, the school headmaster accompanied the students and took down copious notes as we were busy dishing out advice. As the students had problems speaking English, we even advised the HM to get the school’s English teachers to give the students personal coaching and drilling, to prepare them for the international arena. I am quite sure that the school teachers threw their support behind the team, which has been given the rare opportunity to represent the nation.

Win or lose, I am proud of the school and the team.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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