From Sarawak To Perth

Door After Door Opened

By Vincent Lai

Vincent at left with his family

Poor But Resourceful

This is a story of a boy who grew up in Bintulu, an industrial town in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia who because of God’s grace became an architect in Perth. My dad was earning a meagre income of RM300, which is around AUD200 corrected for inflation. I realised that was why my parents seldom bought me toys. My dad was resourceful and made toys for me which I always enjoyed. Yes, there were times when I walked down the toy aisle in departmental stores and wished I could buy them, only to satisfy myself with reading the instructions on the back of Transformers toys on how to transform the toys.

Looking back in my life, I would have never imagined that I could live in Australia and speak fluent English. My world was the state of Sarawak, and other than Mandarin, I only spoke Hakka, a Chinese dialect. God has blessed me with wonderful teachers in each of the schools that I have been to, and that set a foundation for me not only to pass exams but to explore knowledge. This, in turn, helped me to get scholarships which enabled me to study overseas.

Good Student

After my Form 5 in Malaysia, I was looking for a scholarship to study architecture but despite a result of 13 straight A1′s, I was not given even an opportunity for an interview. Just before I decided to join Form 6, my ex-secondary school principal (who had been hired by a local college as CEO) called me and said he will offer me a full scholarship at his college.

After A-Levels, again I faced the challenge of looking for a scholarship to study at university. And, again God blessed me with a scholarship. This time, my college CEO called me into his office and said I have received a scholarship from Curtin University in Perth. I was so surprised as I did not apply for anything. Apparently, he recommended my name to our state deputy chief minister who set up Curtin University Miri, and the deputy chief minister, in turn, recommended me to Jeanette Hackett, the vice-chancellor.

So that is the story of how I came to be able to study architecture at Curtin University, Perth. The scholarship was an amazing blessing: a return economy class ticket every year for the duration of my studies, and on top of that, no strings attached, and no repayment was expected of me. Now 11 years on, since 2008 when I first landed in Perth, here I am. I have decided to commit my life to serve Christ through what He has done for me. He has been so faithful to me so I must be faithful to Him.

Vincent is working as a registered architect since two years ago. He serves as a zone supervisor in Zion Praise Harvest Church and helps out in both drama and projections teams.



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