Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Saturday 15 June 2013

14 March 2013: Day of Hope

I consider 14 March 2013 to be my 'Day of Hope'. What is the reason for this?

On 5 November 2012, it was the first day of my SPM examination. The subject tested on that day was Bahasa Melayu. Section B of Paper 1 of Bahasa Melayu was Karangan Respons Terbuka (open response essay), and we had to choose 1 of the 5 questions in this section.

During the examination, I chose to answer this question:
"Kebersihan kawasan sekitar penting untuk kesihatan dan keselesaan hidup. Walau bagaimanapun, masih terdapat segelintir anggota masyarakat yang mengabaikan aspek kebersihan ini. Sehubungan dengan itu, anda ingin menulis sebuah rencana yang bertajuk 'Menjaga Kebersihan Tanggungjawab Kita Bersama'. Tulis rencana itu selengkapnya."
("The cleanliness of the surroundings is important for health and comfort. However, there are members of the society who neglect this aspect of cleanliness. Therefore, you would like to write an article titled 'Maintaining Cleanliness is Everyone's Responsibility'. Write the article in full.")

The reason I chose this question was because I had previously written a similar essay when attending tuition. In the essay, I wrote about the roles of ibu bapa (parents), masyarakat (society), sekolah (schools), kerajaan (government) and pihak swasta (private sectors). I felt that I wrote the essay quite well. After Paper 1 ended, I talked to one of my friends about the paper. He said that he chose the same essay question as well.

Then, my friend asked me "Did you write about kerajaan (government)?" I replied "Of course." However, he said "If you wrote kerajaan then your essay is out of topic. The same applies for sekolah (schools), ibu bapa (parents), media massa (mass media) and so on. Since the question had mentioned masyarakat (society), we can only write about masyarakat." I asked him "What did you write then?" He replied "Mendidik anak-anak (Educate the children)". I asked "But you just said we can't write about ibu bapa (parents)?" He said "I wrote 'masyarakat harus mendidik anak-anak (the society should educate the children)'. It is alright as long as it is about masyarakat and not ibu bapa."

Initially, I did not care much about what my friend said because I thought he was just joking with me. However, when I returned home after Paper 2 ended, I thought back of what he said. When I looked back at the question paper for Paper 1, I realised that the essay question really did mention "masyarakat". I began to feel worried because it seemed that what he said was true and my essay was actually out of topic. 

Writing the essay out of topic can result in very serious consequences, because that section alone carries 100 out of the total 280 marks. It is possible to fail Bahasa Melayu just because of an out-of-topic essay. My tuition teacher had said that if the essay is completely out of topic, the maximum mark that can be scored is only 20/100. However, 1 of the 5 paragraphs in my essay was about masyarakat which was correct, so I was hoping I could get 40/100 with that.

Since I still answered the other sections quite well, I knew that I would not fail Bahasa Melayu. However, I most probably would get only grade C or D for Bahasa Melayu, and it was definitely impossible for me to get A or A+. So, I could no longer achieve my target of getting 10A+ in SPM. Whenever I thought of that, I would feel very sad and worried. In fact, I felt hopeless about the SPM examination.

I knew there was a possibility that my friend was just joking and my essay was not out of topic. However, that possibility seemed to be very slim. I could find out the truth by asking my teacher or my other friends about that, but I was too afraid to do so. I often avoided talking about the SPM examination with anyone. This was the case for more than 4 months from November 2012 until March 2013.

Finally, on 14 March 2013 which was one week before the release of the SPM results, I could no longer bear with it anymore. I decided that I must find out whether or not my essay was out of topic. I went to Google and searched for the title of that essay. Then, I came across a blog which listed the essay questions for SPM 2012 Bahasa Melayu and the suggested answers.

To my surprise, that blog listed the roles of kerajaan, ibu bapa, sekolah and masyarakat in the suggested answers for that essay question. Those were exactly what I wrote in my essay. This showed that my essay was actually not out of topic. The author of that blog was a famous teacher so he could not be wrong. Then, I further confirmed that by visiting a few other websites.

At that point, I found out the truth that my friend was just joking with me. I did not blame him for that. Instead, I realised that I should have been smarter and not get fooled by him so easily. When I read the essay question again carefully, I found out that although the question mentioned "masyarakat", it did not specifically ask us to write about that, so it was perfectly alright to write about kerajaan, ibu bapa, sekolah and others.

With that, I regained hope on the SPM examination. I knew I had a high chance of getting A+ for Bahasa Melayu. Starting from that day, I was no longer very worried about my SPM results, instead I was looking forward to the release of the SPM results. On 21 March 2013, the SPM results was released and I got A+ for Bahasa Melayu. I was definitely very happy about that. Looking back, if I did not find out the truth, I cannot imagine how worried I would be just before the SPM results was released.

So, 14 March 2013 is indeed my 'Day of Hope', isn't it?

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