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SINGAPORE – Just nine days before she took her first Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) paper, Putri Lydia Hemamalini lost her father to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Despite the death of her 64-year-old father, who had suffered from the condition for about three years, the 12-year-old decided to soldier on with her revision for the PSLE.

“(My father) was like my best friend. When I had problems, I would share with him and he would give me advice,” the Primary 6 pupil at Lianhua Primary School said.

“I wanted to do my best at the PSLE and make him proud.”

On Thursday (Nov 24), Putri was recognised by her school principal for her perseverance. She attained 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.

Putri had to juggle preparing for the PSLE and offering emotional support to her 47-year-old mother and three siblings aged between eight and 17. Besides revising daily, she would go home after school to help out with household chores.

“I had to stay positive for my family, because we need to move on,” she said.
Her teachers and schoolmates rallied around her during that trying period, clarifying doubts that she might have and encouraging her to remain positive.

“The school is like a second home to me,” said Putri. “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 bubbly girl who demonstrated resilience to work hard in her studies.

Madam Po added: “She also knew she had to do her best to make her dad and family proud.”


This article was first published on November 24, 2016.
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