Saturday, October 15, 2011

Schools and our Kids – Nik Nur Madihah 20A Silent Tears - Waiting for Superman

A heart warming and inspiring story of a teenage girl who has risen from the depths of poverty to shock the nation with her national record breaking results in our premier examination.

Nik Nur Madihah scored 20As in her SPM 2008, is currently the national record holder for SPM candidate with the highest amount of “A”.  SPM, (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) is the equivalent to the British General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is an examination for students before entering pre-university studies.

She’s the oldest of 4 from a simple and poor family, her father works as a fisherman and her mother is a cleaner. Yet she does well despite her life's shortcomings; living a life in poverty, no scholarship despite her earlier achievements, no outside tuition and her decision not to go to boarding school as her family cannot afford it. 

  • Living in a family that subsist on an inconsistent income of only RM500 to RM700 (USD160 to USD230) a month,
  • no financial means to buy books,  having to borrow dictionary from friends and copying it with her own handwriting,
  • from 12years old routinely fasts on every Monday and Thursday to conserve food
  • sometimes forgoes eating at school as her allowance is only enough to pay for her bus ride to school
  • eating only bread or a lunch box of fried rice when she can, as her family only eats rice and fried eggs when her father cannot go to sea to fish during the monsoon season.

The conditions of the house clearly show how difficult her life is with only a small room bordered by a cupboard serving as their rest area while the living room can only fit four person acts as her study. 

When asked why she took 20 subjects for her exams, she responded that she wanted to prove that even a fisherman's daughter could excel like the previous best students that had come from better off families.

Tajuk Buku : 
Catatan Hati Nik Nur Madihah
Karya : Nik Nur Madihah
Ummu Hani Abu Hassan
Penerbit : Hijjaz Record Publishing
Terbitan : 2009
Halaman : 126 mukasurat
Harga : rm25.90


What Guggenheim found in his two years of researching Waiting for "Superman" (with co-producer Lesley Chilcott) was that a lot of schools aren't right for any kids. "Every morning is the same - juice, shoes, backpack - the morning rituals. No matter who we are and what neighbourhood we live in, each one wanting to believe in our schools - and take a leap of faith".

Davis Guggenheim's edifying and heartbreaking documentary is engaging and, finally, enraging — as captivating as any Superman movie, and as poignant as a child's plea for help

Guggenheim wants to start conversations, debates, elevated arguments — to get people thinking about a crucial problem whose solution has eluded Presidents and parents for the past half-century.  More here


Oprah 9/20/2010 here

Forbes 9/24/2010 here
Rottentomatoes 10/13/2010 here

NewYork Post 9/24/2010  here

CNN 10/18/2010 here


  1. hi katrina, a heart warming and inspiring story indeed.
    ... but i wonder, if anyone of authority out there, is also inspired enough THIS TIME (that the media had published her plight) to help this poor girl and family
    ... else she can dream that "superman" will land on her "about to fly off roof" and give a real helping hand.
    nik nur madihah is such a respectable and determined girl, with great visions for herself and for the future of her family.

  2. Hi CV,
    Since 2006 our Kampung school had 4different HMs, the last left last week, now waiting for a new replacement. 5 in 5years!! One was here for only 6months.

    A nice dumping ground for soon to be pensioners or those to be upgraded to PPD (naik pangkat sebelum pencen) or (hushed whispers) one with disciplinary problems from previous school. Most of these HM's came as far as Damansara/ Taman Tun or Ampang (one hour journey from their homes!).

    More like transit schools for pensioners... haha

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