Nine days before her first Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) paper, Putri Lydia Hemamalini lost her “best friend” to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
That friend was her 64-year-old father, who had suffered from the condition for about three years.
“I would share my problems with him and he would give me advice,” the Lianhua Primary School pupil said.
“I wanted to do my best at the PSLE and make him proud.”
Yesterday, the 12-year-old was recognised by her principal for her perseverance. She was asked to stand while schoolmates applauded her.
She received an A grade for Malay, C for English, and Ds for science and mathematics at the national exam, and can move on to a secondary school.
During the difficult period, Putri had to juggle preparing for her PSLE and offering emotional support to her 47-year-old mother, who works as a crew member at McDonald’s, and her three siblings aged between eight and 17.
Besides revising daily when she got home after school, she also had to help out with household chores.
“I had to stay positive for my family,” she said.
Teachers and schoolmates rallied around Putri in her grief, helping with questions about schoolwork and offering words of encouragement.
“The school is like a second home to me,” Putri said.
“My teachers and friends have been very supportive. I am thankful for them and will miss them when I leave this school.”
Madam Po Mun Ying, her form teacher, said Putri is a cheerful and upbeat child who demonstrated resilience to work hard in her studies.
“She also knew she had to do her best to make her dad and family proud,” Madam Po added.