How has your career progressed for the past 1 year? Are you on the right path to achieving your goals? Or, perhaps it is just another year, another day and another pipe dream? While others have proven they can be on top of the world, are we slowly yet surely sinking into the sea of mediocrity?
Following are a list of 7 outstanding Malaysians who have gone the extra miles and elevated their career to a new level and territory for the past one year or so. Some of them were faced with many different levels of barriers and adversities but those elements of hardship have brought the best out of them and proved their worth.
Most of them, except Sharifah Mazlina and Datuk Dr. Ismail have appeared in this blog before.
1. Nicol David – world’s No. 1 squash player
Nicol is currently one the country’s most recognized sporting icons. At the age of 15, Nicol stormed the world of squash by becoming the youngest player to win the Asian junior championship, and from thereon, world domination was beckoning. A year later Nicol broke herself free and entered into the world’s top 10 players list.
But that didn’t finish there. In January 2006, Nicol took over the helm as the world’s women no. 1 squash for the first time. What can you say… she was only 23 back then. She became the first Malaysian and the first Asian to be ranked the world’s top squash player. Even though she let loose the grip temporarily, she gained back her no. 1 status and maintains until today. She finished 2007 with a bang by bagging the inaugural Asian Sportswoman of the Year 2007.
2. Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor – the space model
That’s right. That’s what many people call him – the country’s First Space Model. Regardless of what people say, 50 years from now, would you rather have a grandson who tells his friends “My grandpa was the first Malaysia to go to space” or “My grandpa was the the chief maintenance engineer for the Parliament building?”.
In October 2003 the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation launched the Angkasawan Program with 11,000 candidates vying for the final 2 spots. 1 person would be bound to enter the space and Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar, who was already having a sterling career as an orthopaedic surgeon in UKM decided to prove a point and enrolled. The rest, as we know it, is history.
3. Sharifah Mazlina – the Poles’ conqueror
In April 2004, Datin Paduka Sharifah Mazlina became the first Malaysian and the first Asian woman to have stepped into the Antarctic (South Pole), crossing a 1,100 km stretch of trek between the South Pole and Hercules Inlet. In the process of completing her journey, she created a new record by clocking 22 days, faster than the previous best of 24 days.
But she still hasn’t had enough of it. She accomplished another great adventure a year later by reaching the North Pole, completing her Pole-to-Pole mission. Sharifah works as a lecturer but not a normal, everyday lecturer you meet. She engulfed herself into finding new methods and strategy and introduced new approaches in her teaching. Also a motivator, Sharifah Mazlina created new engaging ideas that helps her students to better prepare facing the reality of life.
4. Jazeman Jaafar – the youngest Formula BMW Asia champion
At 14 years old, you normally go to school, do exam revision and write love letters to your next-door girlfriend. Jazeman chooses another path and aims be a cut above the rest. He chooses to race. And looks like he does not disappoint. In November 2007, Jazeman was crowned as the Formula BMW Asia Champion, making him the first Malaysian, and the youngest racer to win the championship.
Jazeman is expected to eclipse both Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy, who are now racing for the A1 championship, to become a household name in Formula 1 come few years. Whether this will become a reality or meant to rot as an urban legend, only time will tell. But we certainly want him to make his presence felt.
5. Julian Chan – Malaysia’s youngest composer
In September 2007, Julian Chan officially put himself in the Malaysia Book of Record as the country’s youngest composer. He was only six years old but has already been composing tunes and published his own book. He has been playing tunes on his keyboard since he was three, and has that special ability to reproduced what he heard with his keyboard and piano.
Recognizing his talent, the Chempaka International School of Kuala Lumpur has offered Julian a full scholarship in music. Chan’s book, Original, compiles a collection of classical music he composed. Best of all, he doesn’t take the profits but chooses to donate to charity instead. Now that’s something.
6. Prof. Datuk Dr. Ismail Md Salleh – first OKU appointed Senator
Another outstanding figure. In December 2007, the visually challenged Prof. Datuk Dr. Ismail took oath in Dewan Negara and became the first person from the disabled community to be appointed as Senator. He has been totally blind since he was 13, but the limitation did not stop him from getting his Degree, Masters and PhD, all in the United States.
Additionally, The European Union awarded Prof. Datuk Dr. Ismail with the Doctor of Literature, in recognition of his contribution to the country and the international community. He also holds various key roles and positions including the vice-chancellor of University College of Technology Twintech, President of National Association of Bumiputra Private Colleges and a member of the National Implementation Task Force in the Prime Minister’s Department.
7. Ezad Indra de Zid – the magic man
Sabah-born Ezad did not have any formal education in magic performance. But his deep interest makes him go all the way to learn and master all sort of magic tricks; all he wanted to do is becoming a full time magician. The reward is fulfilling. One of the popular channels, NTV7, created a series, Magix which featured the 22 year old performing a series of magics and illusions.
Ezad’s magic performance blends the elements of illusion, close-up magic, stage show, psychic and street magic. In his Magix show, he revealed his talent in bending spoon and approached people in public and robbed their belongings without his victims realizing it. For someone who only uses books, CDs and YouTube website to learn magic and turn pro, a credit must be given.
(Images: SquashSite.co.uk, angkasawan.com.my, sharifahpole2pole.com, jazeman.com, TheStar, namnewsnetwork.org, nvt7.com.my)