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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – For Orang Asli student, Jome Cheng Chen Giyok Peng, being among those chosen to further their studies in Japan is a chance to ensure a better future.
Not only for himself but for his family, community and country.
The 20-year-old of the Jakun tribe comes from the Orang Asli village in Sungai Joi, Kuantan and is a Universiti Malaya (UM) student selected for the Special Preparatory Programme To Enter Japanese Universities.
It is a two-year intensive programme by the Public Service Department (JPA) Look East Policy Division.
The programme is also in cooperation with UM with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as well as the Japan Foundation.
He is studying engineering.
The youngest of five siblings said that even though he is not the only child in his family who received upper level education, he was the first amongst his siblings and the first in his village who has managed to further his studies overseas.
Aside from his passion and the opportunities it holds, the 20-year-old said that the main reason as to why he chose engineering, all goes back to where he came from.
“Engineering is about growth and I came from a rural area with a lot of shortcomings.”
“So, it has motivated me even more to be successful in this field, so that I can bring positive changes to my village.”
“Besides that, the financial restraints faced by my parents also plays a role as to why I want to further my studies overseas. I want to give back to my parents and community,” Jome told Malay Mail adding that, his parents work as cleaners in Kuantan.
Jome admitted that it was hard for him during the first Movement Control Order (MCO) as he had to attend online classes from his home where the internet connection was limited and printing services were hard to obtain.
To make matters worse, his village was also amongst those affected by the flood earlier this year.
“I missed a few classes at that time and thankfully I managed to go back to my campus after that,” Jome said.
Although he is currently waiting for confirmation on which university he will be attending, Jome hopes to get into Saitama University, which is in the suburbs of Sakura-Ku in the Saitama Prefecture.
This was because its cost of living was low and also a lot of Jome’s seniors from UM were there.
As for the programme he enrolled in, Jome said he has been learning the Japanese language for the past two years as all the science subjects were taught in Japanese.
“It was hard at first but thanks to my lecturers and friends, I’ve managed to overcome it.”
“I’ve found the confidence to have daily conversations with my friends in Japanese but I’m still a bit worried when it comes to speaking formally in Japanese,” Jome said.
The cost for Jome’s studies and accommodations are covered by the JPA’s scholarship and he has also received financial aid from the Orang Asli community as well as from the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa).
Deputy Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad also personally contributed to Jome as a form of showing support for the youngster.
Jome and other students under the same programme are set to fly to Japan on March 15.