39-Year-Old Man Sits For SPM Chinese Paper To Fulfil 21-Year-Old Dream, Was The Oldest Candidate In The Exam Hall

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 Man sits for SPM Chinese paper after 21 years 

SPM, or Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, is a rite of passage for most students. But while we’ve made lifelong memories during the hustle – and struggle – of our school days and cramming for exams with our classmates, those of us who did so and have now entered the workforce are glad to have moved on from them. 

But this is not the case for Wong Yong Geng, who sat for his SPM Chinese paper after 21 years, even though he currently works as an executive administrator that doesn’t require results from the elective. He did so to fulfil his dreams, after having skipped the exam while in school, and running into roadblocks while attempting to take the exam again twice later in life.

Exam finally completed during pandemic after several tries

According to Sin Chew Daily, Wong had to brush up on his Chinese in his free time after work for the exam, as he hadn’t been utilising written Chinese for several years. He was set to sit for the Chinese elective paper last year before the pandemic struck, but the exam was deferred to this year. He was finally able to sit for the exams on 15th March 2021 after 21 years, becoming the oldest candidate in the exam room to do so. He also had to take an unpaid leave day to do so.

Because the pandemic and the resulting Movement Control Order (MCO), SPM exams were postponed in 2020, as reported by The Star. In February this year, Malaysian students were finally allowed to take their SPM exams.

Man takes SPM Chinese paper after 21 years - cramming
Image credit: Sin Chew Daily

Wong had previously tried to sit for the exam during his university days, and later again after finishing up his Master’s degree in 2007, but both attempts weren’t successful as he had other obligations to the university and his job that made him have to forego the exam twice again.

Determination to sit for exam to fulfil dreams

Wong was determined to sit for the exam even though he didn’t have to, because he wanted to fulfil a dream. He had skipped out sitting the SPM Chinese paper back in 1999, even though he had attended Chinese classes during secondary school.

He had reportedly passed his other compulsory SPM papers with flying colours, putting him in the Top 5 in his school.

Man takes SPM Chinese paper after 21 years - exam
Image (for illustration purposes) only: SMK Dato Usman Awang [Official ; Guru, Staf, Pelajar, Alumni]

But while he is happy to have achieved his dream after all this while, he encouraged others to sit for their exams in a more timely manner in the same interview with Sin Chew Daily.

Man sits for SPM exam to fulfil a dream 21 years in the making

It’s safe to say that all of us who have now joined the workforce are glad to be out of our school days and no longer having to cram for exams into the late hours of the night. So Wong’s determination to sit for a long overdue exam is commendable, and showing us all that it’s never too late to fulfil a dream.

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Cover image adapted from: Sin Chew Daily and (for illustration purposes only) SMK Dato Usman Awang [Official ; Guru, Staf, Pelajar, Alumni]

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