I had no idea what happened on Earth that I signed up a scholarship interview for biotechnology. Maybe I couldn’t think anything better after my willpower was dampened by my performance on the final examination (the SPM examination, which is taken by 11-grader equivalent, a national standardized test for Malaysian students before proceeding into tertiary education level). My grades weren’t that bad (10 A and 1 B, still qualified to receive principal award), but I was denied from taking medical course or engineering – the fields I longed the most.
“Life must go on”, I muttered to myself, in dire need of motivation. Long story cut short I aced the interview and the government sponsor body, MARA, awarded me 500k MYR worth scholarship (approximately USD150,000). At that time still I didn’t have the adequate capacity to love this field of biotechnology, but whatever. It is United States. Who could resist the temptation to break free from cocoon and flying across continents (and causing butterfly effect…. haha).
“You should take the personality test and the career test”. Shoot. As much as I hoped the imprinted DNA (thanks dad, thanks mom) could tell me that ‘medical field / engineering is your birthright’, I freaked out when the tests betrayed my dream. ‘Scientist’ by career, and ‘research’ by personality.
God doesn’t play dice.
Months later, on a bus back to college from a field trip. Worth mentioning her name as I look her up as my mother, Madam Mimi Sophia (USBT 23 – Biology 1 lecturer) told me one thing, “when you finished your Degree, come back to Malaysia and I’ll supervise your paper for your Master, or even PhD”. This sounds like nothing, but it means the whole world to me. I was offered an opportunity to be supervised by my own beloved lecturer while the day of holding a Degree certificate and donning gigantic-sized flat cap would be in 5 years away.
“I’m interested in stem cell. You?” “Pharmacology and Toxicology. Pharmacology particularly”.
Living with my father who couldn’t care less about his pills often irks me. He often say, like a real pharmacist, “when you eat this pill and this pill both might turn into poison. I don’t want to poison myself”. Smash this myth, I will.
Who knows what wonder both of us, Madam Mimi and I, will bring if our research can make a breakthrough in the future?
Using dengue as a biological weapon? Or resurrecting malaria using chewing gums?