Greetings! Remember that email screenshot I posted two posts ago that showed how I was longlisted and was invited to sit for the ASEAN scholarships selection tests? Well, that’s exactly what I did for the past two days!
On the 16th of June, which was a Saturday, my Dad drove my Mum and I to the Sunway Carnival Convention Centre where the tests would be held. Needless to say, I felt like emptying the contents of my stomach, bowels and let’s be honest, my bladder too the entire time.
And then it was noon and we headed for Level 4 to find it crowded and let me just inform you beforehand that I knew absolutely no one else among my friends and acquaintances who would be sitting for the tests too but imagine my surprise when I bumped into not one nor two but three people I actually know back in Alor Setar: Jing Sheng, Zhe Han and Jing Hwan.
And things got a little better after that because I don’t like to admit it but the major reason why I was so nerve-wrecked was because I thought I’d be walking into a hall full of genius strangers and am I crazy for being more afraid of that than of the actual exams? Maybe.
Anyway, registration began, and all Pre-University applicants (which were around 80 people) were divided according to their classes. I was in Class 8.
The first test was Mathematics. The question paper contained 26 questions and we had to finish it in two hours. A friend asked me to describe the test in three words, so I’ll give you those three words: Pretty Freaking Bad. I managed to complete all questions, and by “complete” I mean create my own formulae as a desperate measure when I was running out of time and had no idea how to continue solving a question I absolutely didn’t know how to. Many asked if Singaporean Math is Modern Math or Add Math and the answer is both, only tougher. The syllabus is nearly the same, but the questions twist in more ways than one that make you forget the first step once you proceed to the next. To add to my distress, I couldn’t get that annoying Circus Afro song out of my head throughout the entire paper so yeah, thanks Pixar. If it’s even Pixar. I came out of the hall laughing my way to the toilets. Because I needed to pee and not because it’s a symbolic metaphor or whatever.
Next was English and I was relatively more confident for this test. The first paper was a comprehension and summary question and it was nice. Nice in the way that the words “using your own words” appear in almost every question because in Malaysia, your marks get deducted if you use your own words so wahey! (What even is “wahey” I don’t know it was a random sound I literally made at the end of that sentence.)
The second paper required us to write a 350 words comprehension in 30 minutes and this I’d been training for for the past two years when I took the University of New South Wales Essay Test, to be honest. We were allowed to choose from two questions which were “Young people nowadays are more concerned of themselves than other people- do you agree?” and “Wealth is a blessing as well a curse” and I chose the former one. Ten minutes into the essay and I didn’t really know where I was headed but at least I got two solid points in which filled up two pages.
And then the day was over and we went home.
The next day, we had to wake up at 6 AM because we were supposed to register ourselves at 9 AM. We reached Butterworth at 8 and had breakfast at some nasi kandar shop before heading for SCCC.
We were once again sorted according to our classes and led to different rooms where we would be sitting for our last test: the General Ability test. Amanda had warned me beforehand that speed was essential for this test so I rushed through all 46 questions in the span of 20 minutes, leaving two more questions undone which I then hurriedly filled in randomly. All in all, it was quite okay because I was confident I’d gotten most of the questions that I’d rushed through more or less correct.
After the GA test, we had a briefing session about the scholarship as well as the Junior Colleges at Singapore. And the gist of that session (as Aifa liked to put it) was this: I actually want to go to Singapore. Previously, it had just been an alternative route (although, let’s be honest, it’s been the only route these few months) but right then, right then I decided that if I got the scholarship, I would go. Without a doubt. This is a globally top ranked country educational-wise we are talking about, it’d be a shame to let go of such a great opportunity.
So after that, I bade farewell to the guys and headed for Penang where I would be meeting Amanda (who is currently an ASEAN scholar studying in Anglo-Chinese JC and also a fellow ex-Starstrucker) at Gurney Plaza.
We had lunch at Kim Gary and from then on, it was an Amanda-athon.
Nah, just kidding, couldn’t resist a The Social Network reference.
But basically, that’s what went down, to be honest, except it didn’t have as much hostility as Eduardo Saverin had put in. Amanda talked about her own process in getting the scholarship and subsequently her life at JC and in Singapore in general.
After talking to Amanda…okay so I might have been intimidated a little. And I’m not getting my hopes up. But I still see it as a potential path in the future.
After that, we went roaming around the mall for a while and ended up, not surprisingly, at Popular. However, surprisingly, we bumped into yet another ex-Starstrucker, Eibhlin and we went into states of shock for several seconds before everyone started talking at once. What were the odds? This was my first time meeting up with Amanda in Penang after she came back from Singapore for a 4-week break and the first person we bump into was Eibhlin, who we both coincidentally know? Do you see what I’m getting at? Do you see this incredible coincidence? Do you see a loophole in the universe? Do you see a chameleon licking a rainbow-coloured ball?
Anyway, Eibhlin had to leave really soon though and right after that Amanda’s phone started ringing as well so we started to part our ways after several rounds of hugs.
So that’s that and we have reached the end of this post! Further developments of the scholarship will only be known starting from mid-August, where eligible applicants will be called in for interviews in September and wouldn’t that be the perfect motivation for trials?