"16-yr-old M'sian student the sole breadwinner of four
She wakes up to tap rubber at 3am before going to school. Sun, Nov 23, 2008 The Star
SEREMBAN, Malaysia: SPM candidate Maragatha Ambiga wakes up at 3am to tap rubber for three hours before rushing to school. This is what the Fifth Former, 16, has been doing since her parents fell ill in August last year.
She would ride a motorcycle to the 4.6ha rubber estate in Bukit Jalor, about 10km away, and help a neighbour tap rubber for three hours before returning home at 6am.
She would then clean up and head to SM Bukit Jalor which is 3km away. She gets RM20 (S$8.46) a day tapping the rubber. If it rains, she would not get any money.
Her mother V. Tamil Shelvy, 42, became asthmatic in August last year and was unable to work. Her father P. Ramasamy, 48, was a lorry driver before joining his wife to tap rubber. He also had to stop working because he is a diabetic and has high blood pressure and heart problem.
She has a brother, Suriya, 10, who is studying in a Tamil primary school. Ambiga's plight was brought to the attention of Negri Sembilan MIC chairman Datuk T. Rajagopalu who visited the family in Taman Air Kuning Selatan, near Gemen-cheh about 75km from here.
Tamil Shelvy said her daughter's rubber tapping provides the only source of income for the family in addition to the RM200 welfare assistance for the children's schooling. She said that her family members had refused to help her out and instead, had asked her to get her daughter married off.
"I want my daughter to study hard and be somebody in life. "I have confidence in her," she said.
Ambiga, who is currently sitting for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, said she had to work for the sake of her family. "I am confident of passing and hope to secure a place to attend teacher training course as I want to become a teacher," she said.
Rajagopalu said he would assist the children with their education. He had also made arrangement for Ambiga's parents to receive treatment at Seremban Hospital and for a contractor to do some repairs to their house."
A sad but inspiring story for the young girl. While I don't want to be sentimental, I can ask what caused the illness of her parents. Sometimes, people do not look after their health as much as they should unless there are genetic or hereditary issues.
Anyway, leaving that hard-nosed question aside, the lessons for me are:
1. if there is a will there is a way. If she thinks she can study and succeed, if she believes she can study and succeed, then it is likely that she will study and achieve success! Like Napolean Hill famously said: Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve!;
2. working and relying on your own fully to succeed is great but will be tough. So, any helping hands are welcome especially from well-intentioned and sincere help. Having allies in the quest to achieve something tough makes the journey that much easier. We don't always have to fight the uphill battle alone though we must shoulder the biggest part of the responsibility!;
3. when we work hard and make sacrifices, well-intentioned people who can help will notice us and gyrate to help us as we had taken the initiative. As we jokingly said: "When a gambler 'scolded' his/her God after failing to win the lottery, his/her God said to him/her: You got to make the effort to BUY the lottery ticket before I can help you win the lottery!!" i.e. God can only helps those who helped themselves!
With the economic downturn coming hard upon us, I am sure we will hear and read of most such inspirational stories where the 'victims' do not take fate lying down but to make a fight of it and triumph over it!