The Care Journal : Scars of Yesterday, Strength for Today

Education Support

Scars of Yesterday, Strength for Today

While most children were busy forging fond memories in the prime years of their life, Xuan Zhe’s childhood years were abundant with setbacks and obstacles that most would never have to go through. Being the subject of constant bullying in primary school, the target of physical violence, and having to manage domestic issues at home most certainly forced Xuan Zhe to grow up quickly. And without a doubt, growing up was anything but a bed of roses for him. Far from it.

“I was once being bullied in school by the class bully. Practically every day of my primary school life. I don’t know why he chose me as his main target.” He candidly recounted his story of how he was tormented in the early years, even citing how he was once being struck by a metal rod across his face. “I was bleeding so badly from it, I even have this scar as a reminder of the bullying.” He pointed to an indelible mark on his face, almost like a battle scar that he survived. Indeed he has, and he certainly lived to tell the tale.

Unfortunately, having to deal with a classroom bully was not his only worries. With his parents’ marriage on the rocks, Xuan Zhe faced an insurmountable amount of stress especially during the critical Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) years. What hit him hard was when he received news that his dad was stricken with a terminal illness. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Life is just so unpredictable now.” He sighed indignantly.

Despite going through many stumbling blocks that robbed him of an otherwise happier childhood, Xuan Zhe is not one who caves in easily to adversities. “I will be strong because I want to make my mother proud. She cares a lot for me. She believes in me.” The love he has for his mother, his pillar of strength, is apparent in his eyes.

He tries hard to lighten her load the same way, by helping out with household chores and even surprising her with home-cooked meals on occasions. His self-professed specialty dish, Japanese Curry Rice, never fails to brighten up her day. He aspires to be a culinary chef someday so that he can prepare tantalising dishes for her and to live his passions. “I dream of becoming a renowned chef someday. I know it’s not easy but I will work hard.”

Being a leader of the Guitar Club and a prefect has given him new responsibilities and opportunities for growth. He takes his new roles with great responsibility and an immense sense of pride. Winning the Temasek Foundation Cares Resilience Award 2018 has most certainly helped boost his confidence and paved the way for even greater successes for him. The award is definitely more than just an affirmation to Xuan Zhe. To him, it is also a validation of his love towards his mum.

“I am very encouraged by the Temasek Foundation Cares award and feel even more motivated to do well now. The greatest part about receiving the award is that my mum was there to see me receiving it on stage. I have done her proud.”

Looking at the bubbly and high spirited adolescent now, who would have imagined that he was once a victim of bullying? The young boy with tall dreams is all set for his journey and his optimism and positivity will certainly bring him to greater heights in life.

By Ada Yap

Ada teaches English at Crest Secondary School where she also coordinates Partnership programmes.