By Richelle, Past Managing Director of RE:VOLVE.
‘I got inspired by JA and now I want to inspire others’.
My ideology of a good student used to be typical – someone who does not commit shenanigans during lessons and excels academically. Reserved, taciturn, passive… these introvert brandings never bothered me, for, unaware of my narrow horizons, I knew very well that my ultimate goal was to achieve stupendous examination results and gain admission into prestigious institutions. The year I turned 16, my life took a momentous change. Even up till now, with my fingers crossed, I feel blessed to have been one of the students under JA programme.
Now, as mortified as I am while writing this, allow me to make an earnest confession. I first joined the Young Enterprise programme simply because I was attracted to its promising prospects – a senior of mine got offered a full scholarship at Taylor’s University due to his brilliant performances. I thought my plan was going to be a bed of roses with glamorous school testimonials a one-way-ticket away from me. However, my tenacity to persevere for the credentials was put at stake almost immediately. It was a tremendous culture shock. I could not contain the avalanche of information dumped on me. It was as if I stepped into a realm where everyone was boundless, everyone was free. Nerve-wracking, yet exciting.
The members of the YE programme were very enthusiastic. They were absolutely daring to voice out their opinions and active in open discussions. I was impressed. They were everything I did not possess. When they were brainstorming for our company name, I was bewildered by their aplomb and youthful exuberance, they were literally sparkling. We settled on RE:VOLVE, which stood for ‘Regarding Evolution’, precisely what I was aiming for. I yearned to emulate them and in order to realise that, I must evolve and grow out of my own shell. Inevitably, I had to conquer a great deal of mental barriers. Nevertheless, my sweaty palms when I presented my business plans, my stammering when I tried to convince the opposition, all of those could not surmount to my ambition to become a better individual. I dare not say I have achieved prudence, but seeing how I have started to question its definition, my journey with JA was indeed a rewarding one.
I believe the JA staff currently reading my humble essay must have evaluated my annual report, therefore I shall not repeat the tedious humdrum. One of the major insights I gained is that we should not feel bashful to be openly passionate about things we really love. I would not superficially address this as the ‘Chinese School’ syndrome as erudite students of the Oxbridge Universities are proven to be in the same predicament. From my perspective, this is the repercussion of a conservative education system.
Due to our country’s stringent curriculum system, our students are educated to opt for excellent grades and co-curricular achievements to set foot into top-notch institutions. Nobody opened their eyes to other vast opportunities, nobody provided any tutelage to help them identify their passion and nobody taught them to dream. If, by any chance, a young soul really does illustrate his aspirations, I am very confident that he will only be passed on like any other jejune children by his teacher. The current education system is mass producing robots that are not equipped with the
prowess to innovate. This might not be an issue a few decades ago but I need to bring to your attention that we are facing a perturbing dominance of artificial intelligence. With such simplistic mindset, our students cannot even hold a candle to them, let alone ameliorate our country’s regression.
Please do not get me wrong, as a Malaysian citizen, I am grateful to have been receiving free education benefits. I am also rather well-informed of the blue plan the Ministry of Education has been introducing to nurture sophisticated minds in younger generations such as MFLS (Malaysian Future Leader Schools), a programme in which I was honourably selected as one of the participants. After feeling the strong urge to go home upon reaching there for only a few hours in the supposedly ten days programme, perhaps we should ponder: Are the solutions really pragmatic?
Hereby, I would like to express my gratitude towards Junior Achievement Malaysia for awakening me from my slumber. Whenever I think about how different I have become these few years, I am amazed by JA’s initiative to spark a change despite the nature of the dilemma I mentioned being intangible. JA promotes a healthy culture though its events. Not only it finds passion alongside budding students, it cultivates an awareness to embark on self-discovery. I got inspired by JA and now I want to inspire others. One word to describe JA Malaysia: YES.