Bosses: Aren’t they those unfriendly people who most subordinates would avoid? Apparently not for me in my school’s Library Board, as Yeoh Zi Qing proves to be.
This lanky lass was born on the 25th of January 1996 at Pantai Hospital, has a brother (my ex-boss). She used to go to SJK(C) Yuk Chai, and now goes to SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3). Her hobbies encompass ukulele strumming, gu zheng playing, baking, designing, playing basketball, singing, drawing and loads more (though she doesn’t do them all at once!). As I asked this aspiring baker more about herself, her bubbly self shows through with tonnes of almost-rolling-on-the-floor laughs.
Her achievements are endless, and astounding, and she holds various portfolios in school organisations. When I asked her how she manages to balance all these with her studies and leisure, she stresses on being well-rested before attempting to study at night. Strumming her ukulele helps her relax, and so does playing basketball. ‘Most of the time, I’ll try my best to finish as much homework during recess and also when I am in the library or in the class when there are free periods, so that there would not be so much of a burden when I’m at home,’ she says.
When asked about her inspiration, her family crops up first. Apparently, her father and brother are as athletic as her, playing basketball and volleyball in various tournaments. Her house is so full of trophies that her father had to throw out his old broken trophies to avoid a clutter. On her mother, she says, ‘My mum will always tell me, it does not matter if you get grades like A, B C or even D, at least you know that you have done your best. Thus if you fail, she will tell you that it is okay, make sure to put more effort in your studies and improve in the other upcoming papers. Although my mum is very strict sometimes, she still allows me to go out with friends during the holidays to catch a movie or two.’ Besides that, American-Korean entertainer-extraordinaire Victor Kim solicits a ear-piercing scream from her. ‘Victor is a really nice person, beautiful in the inside and outside, down-to-earth, funny and has a smile that will have tonnes of girls chasing after him,’ she said, even recounting the time they met in person!
On preparing herself for competitions, she says: ‘Basically, I just attended all of the training sessions provided by the coaches, make sure I have enough rest, eat healthily and drink loads of water in order to stay healthy. Have a positive mind set and you are ready to tackle anything.’
However, the road to her achievements was not plain sailing. Recalling the time she first got chosen into her primary school’s elite team, she said, ‘The training was really exhausting. My hands and legs were sore and sunburnt when I got home. I was one of the weakest players in the team, both physically and mentally. I get tired really easily and sometimes throw up during or after training sessions; but after putting all of our effort and hard work in it, we manage and also won many tournaments and friendly matches and brought back pride to our school. As years passed, I learnt how to handle my own problems. I grew mentally and physically strong too and accept criticisms from my coach from time to time. Although it hurts and you might think that you just aren’t good enough, we will and must also learn from it and most importantly not to put it in your heart.’ On asking what her motto in striving, she answered: ‘Success in life requires enormous sacrifice and determination.’
When she recalled her most memorable achievement, her account struck me as so compelling that I might as well give it word for word here:
‘In 2008, I represented the Petaling Utama district in he Under-12 Girl’s Basketball Tournament. My team lost to the state champions. However, I was among the lucky ones chosen to represent the state at national level. My team-mates cried really as it was our first defeat, always thinking we were invincible. When we trained for a week, we squeezed ourselves in three rooms, made friends with the other teammates, stayed up late at night, walked to the basketball court together, laughed crazily whenever one of us does something silly and had meals together. I can even remember that we will always rush back to the apartment after our afternoon training session, grab our dinner and sit in the living room and watch a Chinese movie series that was on every evening. While we had our competition in Kuantan, we stayed in a hotel, three to a room. I still remembered who my roommates were: Brenda Lee from Petaling Perdana and Euphrasia Pang from Petaling Utama. I’m really glad that we stayed in the same room. During the competition, I had never felt so proud and happy before for I was one of the players that help the team scored the most points in almost every match. There were also quite a number of times where I manage to do the things/skills that I never thought I will be able to do such as able to score from a three-point line, a block shot and many others. It was funny that I didn’t really feel exhausted while in the match. Although we were rather relaxed, we still managed to beat the other states. We battled till the end and were once again known as the champions for the MSSM Under-12 girl’s category. VICTORY! We deserved it, after all the hard work, effort and the teamwork, we totally paid it off. Along the way, we actually became really close friends. We were like a one big happy family. However, it was sad as well that we had to leave but we had so much fun and unforgettable memories at the end of the day.’
Who would ever know that my boss is an epic basketball player? I was awestruck as I arranged the books in the Library, with Zi Qing helping me. Well, you’ll never know who your boss may be
By Kiwan Richard, 16, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor
This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.