While many Secondary School graduates who did well in their O-Level examinations were overjoyed as they received their results yesterday, one young pupil’s success was especially meaningful given the hardships she faced in the lead-up to the examinations.
As her peers faced the pressure to perform well in the exams, 16-year-old Chua Jia Xuan was reeling from the sudden loss of her father as she was preparing for the exams. On 30 Apr 2020, the Damai Secondary School student was told that her father – a 62-year-old cleaner – had passed away after suffering a sudden heart attack at work.
Revealing that she was very close to her father, Ms Chua recalled how his loss impacted her in an interview with the Chinese daily. She said: “I am the only child in my family, and I have a close relationship with my father. After he passed away, my mother and I depended on each other.
“Sometimes I felt lonely, and I also remembered the times when my father helped me open the gate every time I came home.
“At that time, my physical and mental state was affected. I was also emotionally unstable, but because I didn’t want my classmates to worry during this time, I didn’t talk to others.”
With tears in her eyes, Ms Chua told the publication that she often had nightmares after her father’s passing. She also shared that her father’s death also put pressure on her family’s financial situation even though they lived frugally and her mother was employed in a data entry job.
She said, in the heart-tugging interview: “Although my father is not good at expressing his feelings, I understand it. My father is very hardworking, which has also become my motivation.
“Whenever I lose motivation or feel tired from studying, I will be encouraged and inspired by the thought of my father. I keep going, wanting him to be proud of me.”
With hard work, determination and the encouragement of her friends and teachers, she overcame her grief and achieved an impressive result of 11 points in her O-Level examinations. Aside from doing well academically, she was also promoted to captain of her school’s netball team last year.
Ms Chua’s form teacher, who taught her in Secondary 3 and 4, told the Chinese daily: “Jia Xuan has always been in the upper-middle level in her schoolwork and her efforts are excellent. When I first met her, I found that she was lively and cheerful and willing to help friends.
“It wasn’t until she was close to Form Four that I found out that she was actually very kind to everyone but also very strict with herself. Even when her father passed away, she often said that she was okay and did not want to cause people to worry.”
The lass aims to join the healthcare sector and become a medical technician in the future. The grit that she has shown in the face of adversity at a young age has inspired many Singaporeans, who praised her for making her father’s name proud.