Amanda Kong – First Class all the Way!
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."-Mahatma Gandhi.
Diagnosed with congenital glaucoma as a young child, Amanda Kong Hwei Zhen could see bright colours and shades of light. As she grew older, her eyesight began to deteriorate until she could only see very bright colours and differentiate between day and night. But this did not deter her from defying the odds to secure a First Class law degree from the University of Liverpool this year.
Her determination to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a criminal barrister (influenced by her love of crime fiction and fantasy novels) made her join the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Level programme at Brickfields Asia College (BAC). “Mr. Aria told me that there are two other visually impaired students studying law at BAC, so if you want to join we will be happy to accept you,” reminisced Amanda of her first visit to the college, “So I decided to join and I have never regretted it since because BAC has been really supportive throughout my studies.”
Her personal mantra that “perseverance is the key to success” led this young scholar to win the Cambridge Outstanding Learner Award for Top Student in the World for A-Level Law in 2013, making her the first visually impaired student in the history of the CIE A-Level programme to do so. “If you can believe that you can achieve something, you can,” continued Amanda who thanked her lecturers and tutors at BAC for providing her with a solid foundation on which she built her success.
Upon completion of her A-Levels, Amanda went on to enroll on BAC’s UK Transfer Degree Programme (Law) where she finished two years of her law degree before transferring to the University of Liverpool in 2015. “Studying and living in the UK helped me become more independent as I learnt new things and made new friends,” Amanda recalled. “The UK is very different to Malaysia and I had to adjust to a whole new experience but because BAC taught me to be consistent and to stay focussed on my goals, I was able adapt well.”
“My years at BAC and the University of Liverpool taught me to be a more open-minded person while honing my analytical and critical thinking skills,” said Amanda who credited the experience for broadening her horizons, “It really helped me become a better person.”
Amanda also paid tribute to her parents, especially her mother, who devoted time to assisting her translate notes into braille and for being a pillar of strength, her lecturers and tutors from BAC and Liverpool and BAC’s management team for “without their support, this would not have been possible.”
When asked for advice to other students reading law, Amanda encouraged them to “always think positively, be consistent, believe in what you can achieve and focus on your goals. When you are determined to achieve something, go ahead and do it. Be confident and don’t look down on yourself.”
This tenacious and strong-willed young woman is a firm believer in giving back to the community and insists that “law is a really good platform for visually impaired people like me, because we can use the law to argue for our rights. After all, if we don’t help ourselves, who will?” A firm advocate for the rights of the differently abled, Amanda has participated in various awareness campaigns and fundraisers such as the annual BAC Challenges Buddy Day Run which uses friendship to cement and promote a positive relationship between society and the special needs community.
In September, Amanda will begin the final stage of her inspirational academic journey at BAC where she has enrolled for the Certificate in Legal Practice programme. We have just one word for her – Respect!
To find out more about this year’s BAC Challenges Buddy Day Run, visit www.themarathonshop.com.my