When she was 12, Wong Yu-Wey lost her mother to lymphatic cancer. While the pain of her loss was immense, she did not let it crush her.
Instead, she turned her grief into strength, and set her sights on becoming a neurologist in hopes of one day being able to not only relieve the suffering of patients, but also that of their loved ones.
The 20-year-old is now one step closer to achieving her dream, having been named the first Star Education Fund scholarship recipient to pursue the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University Malaysia.
Expressing her joy and relief at the award presentation ceremony for the year 2022 at Menara Star here on Tuesday, she said it was her determination to become a doctor, as well as her family’s financial constraints, that had given her the impetus to apply for the scholarship.
“My father, who is a hawker, will not be able to provide financial support for my tertiary studies with his meagre monthly income. Being the sole breadwinner, he is struggling to pay for our utility bills.
“Winning the scholarship is a hard-earned result.
“I will use the opportunity to continue in my academic and extracurricular fields, and hopefully be able to repay the community in the future,” she said.
Fellow recipient Chee Qiao Yi, who is pursuing the Bachelor of Accounting and Finance (Honours) at Taylor’s University, said securing the scholarship had landed her a spot at her “dream university”.
It was an opportunity that wouldn’t have materialised as her parents couldn’t support her tertiary studies there financially, she said.
“My father is a hawker and my mother is a sales promoter. I do not want to increase their financial stress as they need to save money for my brother, who has a heart condition, to undergo medical operations,” said the 20-year-old.
Knowledge, she added, was everything in this world.
“I can give up a lot of things but knowledge is the most important thing that cannot be ignored by anyone.
“It is important to bear in mind that only knowledge can change the way you live and bring you out of your difficulties,” she said.
Since its inception in 1994, the Star Education Fund has benefited 4,361 scholarship recipients with a value of over RM158.5mil.
Star Media Group chief executive officer Alex Yeow said a total of 76 scholarships valued at RM5.9mil were awarded for the 2022 scholarship cycle.
“The Star Education Fund scholarships are highly coveted, thanks largely to our partners in education who make these education opportunities possible.
“These partners in education look beyond academic excellence. They believe in broadening the measures of success, adopting a holistic approach to create multiple pathways to success,” he said.
Thanking the partners in education, he welcomed more partners to join in providing an avenue for young Malaysians to chase their dreams.
This was the first time the annual presentation of awards ceremony was held after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the ceremony, Yeow unveiled the new logo of the Star Education Fund, which will be running for the 30th consecutive year this year.
He also officiated a soft launch of the Star Education Fund Scholarship Awards 2023.
Applications for this year’s edition are targeted to open this April.
“Paying for my university tuition fees will be another burden for him,” she said.
The scholarship, she added, was an encouragement for her to “become a holistic person” who has the ability to make her family, the Star Education Fund, Monash University Malaysia and the country proud.