Di Amerika Syarikat, istilah Ivy League mempunyai konotasi kecemerlangan akademik, elitisme sosial dan sikap memilih dalam proses kemasukan pelajar. Hal ini demikian kerana kelapan-lapan institusi pendidikan Ivy League ini adalah universiti paling berprestij di Amerika Syarikat dan juga merupakan universiti terbaik di dunia.

cassandra hsiao gadis pintar dan cemerlang

Untuk diterima masuk ke salah sebuah sahaja pun dah sememangnya sukar, inikan pula kelapan-lapan. Namun, baru-baru ini seorang remaja Asia telah berjaya mendapat tempat di universiti Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Pennsylvania dan Dartmouth. Beliau cuma perlu memilih saja mana satu universiti yang diinginkan.

Cassandra Hsiao hanya berusia 5 tahun semasa beliau meninggalkan Malaysia untuk mengikut kedua-dua ibu dan bapanya berpindah dan menetap di Amerika Syarikat. Kini, beliau yang berusia 17 tahun menjadi 'imigran generasi pertama' yang telah berjaya mendapat tawaran tempat belajar daripada kelapan-lapan universiti Ivy League itu.

Sebenarnya, Cassandra bukan sahaja menerima tawaran daripada lapan institusi Ivy League ini, malah beliau juga diterima masuk ke Stanford, John Hopkins, Northwestern, Amherst, University of Southern California dan juga New York University!

Banyaknya! Terus keliru nak pilih yang mana satu.

cassandra menemuramah matthew morrison

Apa yang membuatkan Cassandra berjaya menerima tawaran sehebat ini?

Di Amerika, semua pelajar perlu menulis esei melalui The Common Application atau "Common App" sebelum diterima masuk ke mana-mana 693 institusi pendidikan tinggi di sana. Pihak IPT akan membuat pemilihan berdasarkan skor ujian SAT, prestasi pendidikan terdahulu, aktiviti kurikulum dan juga menilai esei kemasukan pelajar.

cassandra juga biasa menemuramah dan bekerjasama dengan nick vujicic 37

Tidak dinafikan Cassandra merupakan seorang pelajar pintar. Beliau yang bersekolah di Orange County School of the Arts mempunyai keputusan cemerlang dengan GPA 4.67 dan skor 1,540 dalam ujian SAT.

Bukan sahaja cemerlang dalam akademik, malah Cassandra juga menjadi presiden bagi dua persatuan pelajar, ketua sidang pengarang majalah sekolah dan juga aktif dalam komuniti setempat. Beliau yang merupakan seorang penulis dan wartawan pernah bertanyakan soalan dengan gaya rapping semasa sidang media bagi filem Moana:

Hebat kan?

Berbalik kepada Common App tadi, Cassandra telah mendedahkan yang beliau menulis sebuah esei tentang cara hidupnya di rumah bersama keluarga dan kehidupan membesar sebagai seorang imigran yang datang dari Asia. Beliau menceritakan bagaimana rakan-rakan mentertawakan sebutan bahasa Inggerisnya. Berikut esei penuh Cassandra:

In our house, English is not English. Not in the phonetic sense, like short a is for apple, but rather in the pronunciation – in our house, snake is snack. Words do not roll off our tongues correctly – yet I, who was pulled out of class to meet with language specialists, and my mother from Malaysia, who pronounces film as flim, understand each other perfectly.

In our house, there is no difference between cast and cash, which was why at a church retreat, people made fun of me for “cashing out demons.” I did not realize the glaring difference between the two Englishes until my teacher corrected my pronunciations of hammock, ladle, and siphon. Classmates laughed because I pronounce accept as except, success as sussess. I was in the Creative Writing conservatory, and yet words failed me when I needed them most.

Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough. I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. Everybody else’s parents spoke with accents smarting of Ph.D.s and university teaching positions. So why couldn’t mine?

My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.

When my mother moved from her village to a town in Malaysia, she had to learn a brand new language in middle school: English. In a time when humiliation was encouraged, my mother was defenseless against the cruel words spewing from the teacher, who criticized her paper in front of the class. When she began to cry, the class president stood up and said, “That’s enough.”

“Be like that class president,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. The class president took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother’s strands of language. “She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back.”

We were both crying now. My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn’t laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy. There is a measure of guilt when I sew her letters together. Long vowels, double consonants — I am still learning myself. Sometimes I let the brokenness slide to spare her pride but perhaps I have hurt her more to spare mine.

As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English. Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored. With my words I fight against jeers pelted at an old Asian street performer on a New York subway. My mother’s eyes are reflected in underprivileged ESL children who have so many stories to tell but do not know how. I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry.

In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. In our house, language is not broken but rather bursting with emotion. We have built a house out of words. There are friendly snakes in the cupboard and snacks in the tank. It is a crooked house. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home.

cassandra

Cassandra masih belum membuat keputusan untuk memilih belajar di mana. Beliau sudah melawat beberapa kampus universiti dan masih dalam perancangan. Cassandra berminat untuk menyambung pelajaran dalam jurusan bahasa Inggeris, filem atau kewartawanan.

cassandra bersama octavia spencer

Pengajaran yang kita boleh dapat daripada kisah hidup Cassandra ini adalah: jangan mudah mentertawakan keupayaan berbahasa orang lain. Tidak kiralah bahasa apa sekalipun, sekiranya kita betul-betul belajar dan fahami kosa kata serta nahunya, kita juga boleh menjadi seperti Cassandra.

Pokok pangkalnya, usaha yang gigih pasti akan membuahkan hasil. Tahniah, Cassandra!

Sumber:

1. NBC

2. The Tab


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Hakcipta iluminasi.com (2017)