Two young Malaysians have done the country proud with their achievements, one for his service above self and another for a breakthrough discovery that could be a game changer for modern medicine.
Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman, 28, was selected as a United Nation Young Leader from a list of 18,000 nominations from 186 countries around the world. He was among was among 17 young people named as advocates of change for the United Nations.
Shu Lam, a PhD student at Melbourne Uni’s School of Engineering, made a significant discovery which offers a potential alternative to destroying superbugs, without harming the body.
In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, she credits her early education at a Chinese medium primary school (SJKC) for her strong foundation in mathematics and science. This shaped her interest and gave her confidence to excel in chemistry and medical research.
Shu Lam says she owes her success to the nurture provided by SJKC, which inculcated in her the readiness to work hard and overcome trails to achieve her dreams. Her early schooling system helped to shape her into a through researcher.
She studied at SJKC Ai Chun in Batu Pahat, Johor, before completing her secondary education at the Temenggong Ibrahim Girls’ School. She told the newspaper that she scored straight A’s in her PMR examinations.
Her interest in chemistry started in secondary school and opted to pursue chemical engineering in university.
“Later I studied PhD, it was because when I was an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to join research group for the practical. The research combines knowledge of chemistry and biology, applying chemistry to resolve problems faced by biology medicine. At that time I was very interested in research and the direction of their research,” Shu Lam says.
“I feel that research is a journey to learn from failure. Nobody likes to fail. But many experiences and knowledge are accumulated from each and every failure.”
She has been focussing on alternative for antibiotics in her scientific research for three and a half years.
The young Malaysian hopes to continue with medical research after her graduation. She wants to contribute to society. She hopes her discovery can motivate scientists throughout the world to resolve the issue of superbugs.
“I am all for Malaysian students who are interested in research to take up this path. Research is not an easy path. It requires long hours and energy. Failure is common. However, each failure is a learning opportunity,” she says.
“My father has passed away for more than a year. My mother, sisters and I overcome the grief together. I still miss my father very much. I hope he is still alive so that I can share the joy with him and that he can see the outcome of my research.”
Her father, Lam Bang Nan, was a paediatrician. Her mother, Xue Bao Zhu, gave up teaching more than 20 years ago to be a homemaker. Apart from education, her parents placed emphasis on mental growth and nurturing strong family ties.
Despite continued calls to abolish vernacular schools in Malaysia, SJKCs continue to earn the confidence of parents of various races. Shu Lam is one of the many Malaysians who credit their success to a strong early education foundation at SJKC.
Eddie Hoo@The Heat Malaysia Online