Written by Xiang Xi and Wai Wai
On the 24th October 2017, Sunway University students were privileged to have a chance to see one of the utmost Malaysian films, Adiwiraku (My Superhero). It is a heartwarming movie about the struggles of a teacher, Cheryl Ann Fernando in helping her students to succeed in their life. The inspiring story is written based on actual events and sometimes, the best stories are those that are written based on real scenarios. Adiwiraku follows the English teacher, Fernando who is assigned to a rural school in Kedah and has a tough time teaching her students. Although most of the students are disobedient and rebellious, Fernando believes that every child has the innate ability and intelligence and therefore, she continues to educate every student to the best with her ability. Her patience and enthusiasm succeed in changing the perspective of the students and she becomes integrated with them. Most of the students gradually improved and they could write and speak basic English with guidance from Fernando. At this point, Fernando decided to gather 35 students to take part in the district-level choral speaking competition. They needed to practice day and night in order to reach the standard level of other schools. The entire preparation process for the competition was challenging but both teachers and students worked together with determination.
A few months later, Fernando and her students triumph to surprise the people with their first success. They overcame the pressure and performed brilliantly in the choral speaking competition despite their nervousness. “Pain is temporary but pride is forever”, Cheryl Ann Fernando said to sum up the whole inspiring story of Adiwiraku.
“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s just you, saving the world!”
“We like a subject not because of the subject but because of the teacher who teaches the subject. As a teacher, it is important to give direction and to inspire. The students will follow your direction but they will only follow when you are giving directions. If you inspire them, they can direct themselves in the future”, said Ken. I agreed with what Fernando said. She is a dedicated individual who does not only play an important role in the movie but also in the life of her students. The difference between occupation and career can be seen significantly in the life of Fernando as a teacher. She is passionate, she believes in education and it is the powerful tool that can open up many doors for her students. She is caring, sees the uniqueness in each of her students and she continuously invests in them to unleash their potentials. Although she is fearful of challenging situations, she still faces them bravely. She is a teacher but she does more than that and even more than what she could. She does everything she can to lift her students to achieve their maximum potential. This is definitely a spirit that we should look up too.
Other than Fernando, there are also huge stories behind each of the students. They have a small body outside but have a strong soul inside.All these make Adiwiraku special! Most of us who are reading this might have our own concerns and challenges in life. However, the idea of being educated is still important. From the movie, we realized what a kid goes through outside the school just to get there. The odds are against them which limits their potential. Education is not their priority when they cannot even afford their living.
Alia, a hardworking yet shy student needed to take care of her mother as she has a mental issue. However, the worst thing was that she suffered physical abuse by her mother and after her mother regretted her actions and apologized to her, she would just take in everything. This pattern continued non-stop until Fernando came to help. Kemboja, another student of Fernando found that it was never easy for her to go to school. She discontinued her studies and worked in a petrol station to support her family and her ill father. Iqbal, he chose to take up the responsibility of taking care of his family. He woke up early and settled everything well for his family before going to the school. He was always energetic and the positivity in him covered up all the hardships that he went through every day until an accident took him away from the people that he cared. ‘Iron-man’, a boy who was overprotected because of having a cardiac pacemaker. He wanted to be a normal student like others but adults stopped him from the ‘danger’ that they perceived.
Throughout the entire film of Adiwiraku, the stories clearly display the chasm between the city life and village life in Malaysia. While most of the students in the urban areas are busy dealing with their tuition and exams, the students in the rural areas have more important things to be concerned about such as assisting their parents to earn a living or taking care of their unwell parents in daily life. The rural students can hardly focus on their studies at ease because they are not as privileged as the urban students. The same goes for the current situation in Malaysia, where there are many children and teenagers in the countryside areas who do not receive quality education due to disadvantaged backgrounds. Awareness needs to be raised upon this issue as every student deserves a quality education no matter his or her background and this is what Teach For Malaysia is established for in our country.
Teach For Malaysia started 7 years ago as a partner of Teach for All, a global organization that was established in America 25 years ago. It provides management training programmes with a social purpose of expanding educational opportunities by mobilising the movement of leaders to empower our nation through education. In a simple way, Teach for Malaysia develop generations of leaders to contribute back to the communities by teaching in underprivileged schools for 2 years as part of their leadership development program. They believe that the circumstances of a child in life should not be determined by their education and future.They hope that the people who went through the program can understand the problem of education and equity in Malaysia and help by serving to the community.
“Every small action creates a chain reaction!”