My Uphill ClimbWebmaster
I come from a family of farmers. My parents divorced when I was young and at four years old, I was raised by my grandmother in Kampung Ongkilan, Kota Marudu. It did not bother me that we were poor. As a child, the cornfields were my playground and I was happy. It was not until I was in primary school that I began to feel envious of other children. They had fathers and mothers who sent them to school every day. They arrived with new clothes, shoes and bags. Those were blessings I did not have. I had no pocket money and relied on provisions from Rancangan Makanan Tambahan for food. I did not even have a belt; I just tied a raffia string around my waist.
Still, I tried my best. I did well in exams, was active in sports and even appointed head prefect. But the good times did not last. When I reached form five, the school fees became too much of a burden. Even RM10 was exorbitant at the time, so I had no choice but to drop out of school. I travelled to Kota Kinabalu where I got my first job as a parking attendant at a shopping mall in town. I was glad to finally have some money but the thought of leaving school early still left me sad.
With little formal education to speak of, I worked as a postman for almost 15 years. It was only recently that I was promoted to an administrative position at the post office. In all those years, my love of learning never waned, and I knew education would be the way I could change my life.
And that was how I discovered OUM. I heard about how someone like me could enrol via accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) and I began preparing the necessary documents and evidence of my work experience. Nervous and scared, I sat for the APEL test and now I am glad to be a learner in the Bachelor of Management programme.
I am so excited to be studying again. I am doing what I have always wanted to do, and fulfilling a dream I never thought would be possible. So, this is what I would like to say to others who may also be facing hardships in life – never give up no matter how tough it gets and strive to stand on your own two feet. Seek as much knowledge as you can. As long as you are sincere, I believe God will open the way for you. Remember that the only one who can change your destiny is yourself.
I cannot wait to graduate. With a degree, I would like to do charity work to help keep poor and rural children in school. I would also like to put my newfound skills and knowledge to the test at my workplace. Who knows? Maybe I can make a difference in post management in Sabah and inspire others to improve themselves too.
Riduan Masran, 37, is married with six children. Currently in his seventh semester of the Bachelor of Management programme, Riduan lives in Tuaran, Sabah where he works as an administrative assistant at the Kota Kinabalu Post Office.
By Riduan Masran