Madam Wong Sok Peng
From SMK La Salle Sentul, Kuala Lumpur
Nominated by PRANAVAASASTRI A/L BASKERARAO
"To the world, you might just be a teacher, but to your students, you are a HERO!" This statement is truly an understatement when it comes to my beloved Puan Wong Sok Peng. Puan Wong was born and brought up in Kuala Lumpur. She is the youngest child of five children and lived up to her parents dreams of wanting one of their children to become a teacher. Puan Wong pursued her tertiary studies at the University of Science Malaysia (USM) and majored in Bahasa Malaysia. Puan Wong started teaching in SMK Bandar Baru Sentul and after tirelessly teaching in a co-ed school for nearly 11 years, she got promoted as the Head of the Afternoon Session (Guru Penolong Kanan Petang) in SMK La Salle Sentul. And fatefully, in year 2013, I joined SMK La Salle Sentul, when I was in Form One, and had the opportunity to learn from her and become her student. Puan Wong taught me, as you might have guessed at this point, Bahasa Malaysia. The Minister of Education, Dr Maszlee Malik, has implemented a new philsophy in the education system this year, which is the 4M’s ; Reading, Writing, Calculating and Humanity (Membaca, Menulis, Mengira, Manusiawi). Although this might sound like an exaggeration, Puan Wong has all these values embedded in her since the very beginning of her teaching life. Puan Wong is truly a dedicated teacher. Despite having 3 children and being a soccer mom, she always prioritizes her students welfare and performance. So let me share my humble story of her with you. I come from a poor family which might sound impossible since I’m living in Kuala Lumpur. I never knew my father and my mother worked odd jobs to support my family of 4. I was a really notorious kid since primary school, and so this behaviour was brought to my secondary life. Somehow, Puan Wong knew about my background. I didn’t know until the end of Form 4, that Puan Wong was the one who kept paying for my lunches during recess in school. She always made sure I had food to eat during recess. I remember those hungry days where I’d just sit with my friends in the canteen and watch them eat while my stomach grumbled away. Then one day, the canteen “aunty” gave me food saying that someone bought it for me. This went on for the next 5 years of my secondary school life, not only for me, but for all those who came from a less fortunate childhood just like me. I was only aware of this when I was in her room one day, waiting for her and the canteen “aunty” brought a namelist and put in on Puan Wong’s table. Out of curiosity, I saw the namelist and it had my name on it. It was a checklist to makesure the other students and I had already eaten my lunch for the day. My eyes welled up with tears and when Puan Wong came in the room, I thanked her profusely. She smiled and told me, “Boy, I just want you to study well and succeed. You’re a smart young boy, and you just needed small pushes and necessities for you to grow. Be a good student and a good son to help your mother, okay?” Being the Afternoon Session Head, Puan Wong made sure that everyone abided the school rules. She was a very strict but loving teacher. She had a charm to her that made naughty kids like myself, just stop breaking the rules. She took her time and spoke to the school troublemakers to change their perspectives and change for the better. I’ve seen Puan Wong angry, but in that crossness, I could sense her disappointment in her students. To which, she worked harder to mould them into well-groomed human beings. She made sure everyone went for their bacaan Yassin, by making attendance compulsory. She made sure the non-muslims had their collective prayers for PT3 and SPM, and she did this out of her own intiative. How does one not love her? A holistic teacher who is so sincere in teaching and wanting the best for her students. Puan Wong is the sole reason of who I am today. When I was in Form 4, she got promoted to become the Senior Assistant in Co-curricular Activities, which meant she was in the morning session. She was my Bahasa Malaysia teacher in form 4 and 5. My Bahasa Malaysia speaking was terrible. Puan Wong used to make her “elite group” write essays every week and she’d mark them for us showing us our weakpoints. She had extra classes after school, she had extra classes on the weekends, she had extra classes during the holidays. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a burden to us, as Puan Wong makes the class very fun and lively. This went on until I was in Form 5. Puan Wong always believes that, “Teaching a student is investing, not for myself, but for them, so that they can grow luscious fruits and live comfortably when they’re adults”. Puan Wong became my drive and foundation for me to be able to score 9A’s in SPM. I got an A+ for Bahasa Malaysia, THANK YOU PUAN WONG!!! On a more personal note, Puan Wong went to the extent to visit my home and talk to my mother about my financial issues especially when it came to paying my school fees and other school necessities. In form 2, I was absent for almost a month because it was “fees season”. She called me to come to school and asked me what happened, her eyes full of concern. I did not meet her eyes and told her what I was going through. Within 2 weeks, she bought my books for me, she helped me get donations for my fees, she sponsored my school uniforms. Knowing her, she would have done this for other students as well. I am grateful and so blessed to have her as my teacher, mentor and superwoman whom always is there for her students. Even the nicest human being, would help expecting something in return, but not Puan Wong. I promise with all my heart, I will never forget all the sacrifices you’ve done for me teacher. I promise to repay you and succeed. I’m now pursuing chartered accountancy in INTEC UiTM, and I can strongly say, I couldn’t have come this far without you Puan Wong. Terima kasih Cikgu !!!