SINGAPORE - When Mr Muhammad Raimi Rahmat was 12 years old, he begged his principal and mother to let him go to a neighbourhood secondary school.
This, even though he scored 270 in his Primary School Leaving Examination.
"Success is not defined by which schools we enter. Success is the ability and the willingness to be the best that we can be with the resources that are available to us," said Mr Raimi, 25, in his valedictory speech at the Anugerah Mendaki awards on Saturday.
Mr Raimi recently completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester and a master's in financial mathematics at the London School of Economics while on a Singapore Airlines-Mendaki scholarship.
He was one of the 21 Muslim graduates with first class honours from local and overseas universities who were lauded for their achievements. This is a record number of recipients of the award, and included graduates from emerging areas in the sciences such as biological and life sciences.
Ms Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, a journalist with The Straits Times who graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a degree in communication studies, was also among the recipients.