Ailing grandmother's words inspired her to study hard

Growing up, Miss Vivian Kek was never conscientious about her studies.

It was her paternal grandmother, Madam Yap Ah Choo, 69, who gave her a wake-up call when she was 17.

The elderly woman was very ill, but she managed to impart some important advice to her granddaughter.

Miss Kek, now 21, told The New Paper: "She said, 'You don't have to live for me. But you need to think of your future and live for you.'"

Miss Kek's parents split up when she was six, leaving her in the care of Madam Yap. She is still estranged from her parents.

Madam Yap, who also cares for Miss Kek's 19-year-old sister, earns a living by helping out at a fruit stall.

Even when times were hard, she never failed to provide for Miss Kek and her sister.

Madam Yap's perseverance inspired Miss Kek, not just to study hard but also to be kind to others.

Last year, Miss Kek received the Republic Award, which is given to students who demonstrate good character and values.

She was picked for the award because she had mentored a classmate who was struggling to juggle family problems and studies.

Miss Kek, who will graduate with a diploma in wellness, lifestyle and spa management, said: "I do what I can to help people who need it, even if it's just being there for them.

"Having the emotional support is important."

This article was first published on May 2, 2016.
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