SINGAPORE - Abdul Haziq Abdul Hafiz S. scored 199 for his Primary School Leaving Examination.
He could have opted for the Express stream in a secondary school but, instead, chose to enrol in the Normal (Academic) course at Temasek Secondary.
"I wanted to give myself more time to cope with my studies. I didn't think I would be able to handle being in the Express stream because it is very fast-paced," he said.
But barely three months into Secondary 1, Haziq's father suffered a fall at home and died.
"It was all very sudden," recalled Haziq, 16, the second of three children.
"I miss him. We were very close but I had to be strong to take care of and comfort my mother and my siblings."
With the family's sole breadwinner gone, Haziq's mother started to sell homemade cookies for a living. When he can, Haziq helps to take orders and bake.
Haziq's decision to enter the N(A) stream worked out well for him. On Thursday, he took home two distinctions, in Mathematics and Combined Humanities, out of the four N-level subjects he sat.
Haziq also took Mother Tongue, Food and Nutrition, and Combined Sciences at the Express level, and sat these subjects at the O-level exams this year. He is due to receive his results for these subjects next month.
"It doesn't matter which stream you are in, so long as you choose the one that suits you best," he said.
He intends to enter the Polytechnic Foundation Programme and go on to pursue a culinary-related diploma course.
Haziq hopes his results will make a good present for his mother, who celebrates her birthday on Friday.
"I used to quarrel with her a lot and made her angry," he said. "But we got a lot closer after my father's death. I want her to be proud of me."
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