Nur Hasyirah Hatta

I Cry Because I’m Happy

“It was only about a month before PT3 examination in 2015 that it finally hit me — we are not a well-to-do family,” said the former student of SMK Keningau II, a school in the interior of Sabah.

She realised it was a challenge for her parents to pay for her education and that of her siblings. This was quite a task for a fuel tank driver and a housewife. Her father’s income was spread thin and very often they had to make do with what little they had. The priority was taking care of the essentials — food, a roof over their heads and their health. Everything else was a luxury.

“I want to change the fate of my family, for the better. I want to make my parents proud; in this world … and in the hereafter,” said Nur Hasyirah, her eyes moist and her voice cracking.

Her parents have always worked hard to take care of the family and she wanted to make sure no sen of theirs was “wasted”.

Her determination to excel drove her to form study groups with her friends to help those who were struggling. “By doing this, I improved my own learning,” she said.

Her efforts paid off, and it didn’t go unnoticed nor unrecognised.

In 2018, PETRONAS offered to sponsor her education following an outstanding 2017 SPM result, which earned her a place at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS to pursue Chemical Engineering.

“I’m really happy and grateful for this opportunity. I cry, yes, but that’s because I’m happy,” said a beaming Nur Hasyirah.