This page holds a tribute to the man who had been one of my greatest motivators to take Further Mathematics T in STPM, in 2009: Mr Ooi Chin Wah.
Mr Ooi Chin Wah passed away on 17 May 2013 (Friday), at 10.40pm. I've never met Mr Ooi in person, in fact I don't know much about him other than knowing that he was a retired teacher from Chung Ling High School in Penang. However, he has played a big part in my Form 6 journey: he is the guy behind my A- in my Further Mathematics T in STPM back in 2009.
The story started like this. In July 2008, I was planning to take an extra STPM subject in addition to the usual PA, Physics, Chem and Math. I read through the STPM syllabus, and the subject Further Mathematics T caught my attention. I love mathematics, and the word 'further' gave me an adrenaline boost. I told myself: I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna take this subject!
So I began my search for resources on this subject. It was through this search that made me realized the many obstacles to realize my dream: the lack of an all-in-one textbook for this subject; the lack of teachers in Malaysia teaching the subject (almost non-existent); the surprisingly low number of students taking the paper (30+ students in 2008), and also the problems students face when they try to register for the subject in their school.
"I think I should take Geography instead." I wrote in my diary, after all the disappointment I had searching for resources. But things turned suddenly: one day I incidentally bumped into Mr Ooi's website, where he had a forum which discusses Math and Further Math questions. On his website, he also kept a lot of Further Maths past year papers (His website is currently no longer online).
I was so delighted to find a teacher who teaches this subject! So I tried my luck: I e-mailed him, and asked whether he could help me and be my mentor for Further Maths T. To my surprise, he agreed, and we had been communicating with each other during my STPM times. So I took up the challenge, I started self-studying Further Maths T, and will always e-mail him some questions whenever I needed help. Despite all the problems I had to face, I was glad that at least I had a mentor to help me when I'm stuck. It was only later on that I've gotten help from seniors in Recom.org and etc, but he was the person who gave me the courage to take up that subject.
I have to say, if he never agreed to help me, I wouldn't have taken Further Mathematics T in STPM, which resulted in an extra A- in my STPM certificate.
This extra A- also became a decisive factor for getting the Singapore Scholarship to study in the National University of Singapore, and enabled me to join the other top 30 STPMers to receive the 1Malaysia Development Berhad Academic Grant. If it wasn't him, I wouldn't have started my Further Mathematics T blog in 2010 to help those who plan to take it the next few years.
When my STPM results came out, I was interviewed by China Press (中国报), and I took that opportunity to express my appreciation to this great man who have helped me so much. I later found him on Facebook too, and personally thanked him for his great help.
I have to say, I was deeply saddened when I heard about his passing. As I think back of those helpful e-mails that he had sent me throughout my form 6 years, I think he deserved all the respect that I could give. I aim to be like him, to help students in need regardless of their background and circumstances.
To his dear relatives whom I wish could have stumbled upon reading this, I just wanted to say it was an honour to have him as my teacher: I would always treasure him in my heart. It is a blessing for you all to have such a great father, grandfather or relative like him. Mr Ooi's contribution to math will be remembered forever.
Behind every successful student, there is a great teacher. Thank you Mr Ooi, and may you rest in peace. :')