3rd July 2015
I was half way through the first year of pre-university course in 1977 when I decided to terminate and apply to study in Singapore Polytechnic. I applied to study 2 mathematics and 2 science subjects in Pre-U but was denied a place as these places were much sought after then. And I was placed in the economics and biology class which was not of my interest and I could not cope.
So off I went to Singapore Polytechnic to study the 3 year electrical engineering course. I did fairly well in the first two years in a cohort of 170 students.
In the final year, I had to sit for the exams of 6 subjects. In the few days prior to taking the final exam paper of Engineering Mathematics which was my favorite subject and I had done well in the first 2 years, I was feeling relieved that the exams would eventually be over and I would join the workforce to support my family. We were downright poor then.
Came that day to sit for the Mathematics paper which would last for 3 hours from 9 am to 12 noon. The paper would consist of 5 compulsory questions in Section A worth 11 marks each and 3 selection questions out of 5 in Section B worth 15 marks each.
My mind went nearly blank for the first 2 hours and I could only answer 2 questions in Section A. That would give me 22 marks and I could not even pass even with a provisionary pass. In those days, if you failed one subject, you had to be retained again for the whole year.
I must not fail !
I had been active serving in the Christian ministries in the polytechnic then. I played the guitar and led the worship in the lunch time meetings. The registered groups of the other faiths were also very active then in proselytization too and there was rivalry.
Thoughts went through my mind that these groups would mock me and my faith for failing the exams.
I asked for permission to go to the toilet to wash up. When I locked up the toilet cubicle, I prayed. I prayed to God that His honor was at stake for I had been conscientious in my studies as well as in service. I knew I could answer the questions except that my mind went blank, so I asked for clarity of mind and that the cloudiness in my mind could disappear.
When I went back to the exam hall, I was able to answer one more question in Section A and another in Section B. Mentally I worked out that I could have 48 marks and that would be enough to qualify for a provisionary pass. Relief and gratitude to God came to my mind. I went on to finish all questions except one. Thank you so much, Lord !
When the results came out, I was surprised that I had a distinction for Mathematics ! Only 2 in the cohort had distinction for Mathematics. Hallelujah ! Praise the Lord !
The story did not end here. I will continue with the testimony in another post.