On Top of the World

by Arun Kumar Ramsamy

The writer (center) with his university mates on campus
"To be a Honda Dreams Fund scholar simply meant my whole future!" - Arun Kumar Ramsamy | Photo: UNDP Malaysia

I’m on the top of the world looking down on creation;
And the only explanation I can find;
Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around; Your love puts me at the top of the world’......

I hummed this song as I slowly ran my eyes down the checklist I had earlier prepared regarding my coming university intake. Just as the lyrics, I truly feel on top of the world now. Well, it has been roughly 4 months now since I paved my way into Honda Malaysia and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)’s records as one of the 20 inaugural Honda Dreams Fund scholars this year and really it has been rather 4 different months of my life since then.

I could still remember myself thinking how much it meant for me to receive the scholarship while writing my entry essay several months ago way before undergoing the selection process. On the contrary of what I usually hear about other common scholarships offered by other bodies being so strict and straight, the Honda Dreams Fund experience was certainly much more exciting and fun with wonderful activities besides the undeniably good hospitality.

Definitely it meant a lot to me to be a Honda Dreams Fund scholar as at that time I was left with no other choice in planning my future as getting a place in a good public university for the course of my choice was rather thorny as the course was not only selective but limited. Another common alternative solution which was to pursue my degree at any private universities would had to be ignored as my family was not financially sound and moreover, my father was a renal transplant patient who constantly needed medical attention and that usually consumed a major toll of the not fixed income that he receives. Thus, to be a Honda Dreams Fund scholar simply meant my whole future!

After striving through the selection processes and attending interview sessions, I finally found my name in the final 20 list of scholars and ever since, I must say that I have experienced quite a number of unforeseen events occurring in my life at a considerably rapid pace. It was like one after another! Firstly, a week after receiving the scholarship, my face together with interview was published in the newspapers and instantly I was becoming a hot topic in the places I was familiar with. That was not all. A week later, I became more famous thanks to a famous radio station programme. I was pranked and the whole thing was aired on the radio nationwide and this time I was really the talk of my hometown. Messages and calls came storming in like a tsunami through my cell phone causing me to charge it sometimes twice a day. I could find my article almost everywhere! My former school, former tuition centre and even on the internet! What a blessing from God!

Honda Dreams Fund WorkshopThe Honda Dreams Fund Workshop in 2007, where Arun beat the competition to become one of the inaugural scholars | Photo: UNDP Malaysia

 I was becoming some sort of an icon. A role model to some and gradually, a friend to many more. Anywhere I went; those who knew me came up to me with very similar greetings. It was either ‘hey man, saw u on the papers. Congrats!’, ‘hey bro, heard u on the radio. Got pranked huh? Cool!’ or ‘hey Arun, come on lah.. Try and get me some Honda goodies la, like a car or something..’. Obviously I was feeling so happy and proud to hear all those remarks, I mean, common, I was famous! And it was all thanks to Honda and UNDP for giving me this scholarship.

Soon my STPM results were out and I was offered a place in the country’s most prestigious university, University of Malaya but to do a course that even though I had applied for, wasn’t really that of my interest. I kindly declined that offer and later enrolled myself in the University of Nottingham Malaysian Campus to pursue my degree and maybe even masters as well in mechatronics engineering. After all, that was my dream, to be an inventor. Prior to this sudden change of lifestyle, I soon found myself slowly loosing my friends despite the fact that I had found 60 new ones thanks to Honda Dreams Fund. Nevertheless, it wasn’t due to any bad reasons but simply because they were all leaving for studies at the public universities nationwide. I had to spend about 3 months more alone while waiting to get started with my studies. Just when I thought how boring was it going to be spending so much time alone, I realized that I had a whole new family out there! Once a while, some of the scholars got together to hang out somewhere and catch up with representatives from Honda joining us most of the times. Our relationship with our sponsors was more like family and friends. We were constantly kept in touch, visited to keep the spirit alive and I really appreciated that.

However, I do realize that everything that happens in life has got a reason for it and in my case; I have realized that God has really blessed me so much by making available this scholarship through Honda Dreams Fund. Though, I know that none of this could have ever happened if it weren’t for the support from my family members as well as friends but most of all, their prayers for me. Being short listed from an initial number of 623 applicants had to be a result of prayers and faith.

This Honda Dreams Fund project organized by Honda Malaysia associated with UNDP has given me the keys to unlock many doors in my life such as discovering some new talents as well as providing me a base to build my future on. Besides that, this project has also blessed me with a whole new set of friends and family who share similar stories to that of mine. Despite not being bonded to Honda as to the contract which is something that I actually regret even though many others would be happy about, I find myself bonded to a very large family of scholars and sponsors and that is something to be treasured.

Certainly I would make good use of the privilege that has been given to me. I shall not fail anyone and keep my promises alive to be a responsible and good citizen for the country and nation not only after graduating but also during the period of my studies. I will utilize the expertise that I will acquire to serve the nation in the future on the realms of achieving and realizing the country’s most distinguished Vision 2020. The Honda Dreams Fund scholarship is a platform which enables me to influence people’s mind, thoughts, actions, and many more. I hope to set a good example in the future by simply, doing good deeds.

Finally, I would like to thank God for His blessings on me, my family members and friends for their prayers and support and last but not least, my sponsors, Honda Malaysia associated with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the opportunity they have provided me with. It has truly been an experience all this while and I believe it will continue to be as I work hard to strive through the future.

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