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Mr. Cedric Paul Siew Pan HO TIU, Laureate Year 2012
Saturday - June 8, 2013 9:06 am
 Interview with Mr. Cedric Paul Siew Pan HO TIU, Laureate Year 2012 Science side from College du St. Esprit.  


1. Tell us about yourself.

 My name is Cedric Paul Siew Pan HO TIU and I live at Vallée des Prêtres.  I did my primary schooling at Notre Dame de Bon Secours RCA and my secondary schooling up to Form 5 at Bell Village SSS, now James Burty David SSS. After obtaining a grade aggregate of 6 at my School Certificate Examination, I moved to College du Saint Esprit. On my first attempt at my Higher School Certificate Examination in 2011, I ranked 19th on the science side and on my second attempt, I ranked first thereby winning the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National Scholarship. My hobbies include reading, watching the television and playing piano. I have passed my grade 8 Piano of The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in 2011.

  2. Your first feelings when you come to know about your results.

 In fact, I was listening to the radio since 11.30 am and was very nervous and impatient.  I was holding my breath when the Minister of Education was about to proclaim the laureates. 

It was quite a big surprise when I heard my name.  At first I was a bit doubtful, but when I heard the Minister repeat my name again I burst out with joy as I found that I’ve made it. It was really a great thrill. The phone did not stop ringing for congratulations even from my relatives from abroad.  My first thought went to my parents as I spared them of having to incur my university fees and I was assured to be able to study in a good university abroad.

  3. What are the prime factors that have contributed to your success?

 Well, it’s usually hard and regular work for most of us. Some would say that luck plays a great role in determining whether one can become a laureate or not. I believe that this luck is actually the chance for evolving in a congenial environment for both at home and at school since my early age, the chance of having teachers who believed in me but the most important of all is the chance of having relatives especially my parents who have been supporting me under all circumstances. I would like to seize the opportunity to thank them all.

  4. Did studying steadily had any impact on your social life? How did you draw the right equilibrium between study and social?

 Not really. It’s true that private tuitions took most of my time but whenever I had to go out and mingle with others I was able to find time to do so.  Also, I frequently managed to find time to play piano so as to take out the stress of schoolwork.

 5. In what field are you going to master yourself.

I plan to study medicine in the U.K. However, I have not decided yet in which field I would like to specialize myself after my first degree. Perhaps during the Foundation Programme, it will be more appropriate for me to decide.

6. Initially you opted for finance and now, following the grant of a scholarship, you are going for medicine, why this change of objectives?

 It’s true that I initially opted for a degree related with finance because financially speaking, had I obtained a scholarship other than the SSR scholarship, it would not have been possible for my parents to fund my medicine studies which can last up to 7 years. Given that I have won the SSR scholarship, it is a unique opportunity for me to embark myself into something I feel more at ease and in which I can easily project myself in the future.

 7. Just like all the youngsters going abroad for studies, there is a high tendency of not returning back despite the repeated appeals from the authority. What are in your opinions those factors that demotivate these professionals from coming back to help build a stronger nation?

 If you are inferring about laureates not coming back, it is indeed a reality that there is a brain drain. I believe that one of the reasons is that the opportunities abroad are much more appealing than those offered in Mauritius. Not all laureates go to study in a field which will be valuable for Mauritius and thus if they return to their motherland, they will be restricted in terms of research work or there will be simply be no work related to their studies. Moreover, the standard of living and scopes for promotion and earning more are much higher in affluent and first world countries. We also have to face the fact that there are many legitimate professionals who cannot have a proper career due to ‘mediocracy’ which is prevalent in some sectors and it is thus totally understandable, but unfortunate, that these professionals would otherwise feel frustrated if they return to Mauritius.

I would like to add that it is true that Mauritius need its brainy people to return with a view to developing the country. The government has therefore total right to claim the return of the laureates after their studies. However, in this global world in which we live, we also need good ‘ambassadors’ who will represent Mauritius in different fields; those who will project a good image and who will contribute remotely to the advancement of the country. These professionals can eventually bridge Mauritius to other countries.

 8. There is a gradual regression of values in our present society at all levels. What can you say about it?

 I think that we are living in a world in which materialism and individualism are highly glorified. For many, material possession is the only visible way of gauging one’s success. Therefore, we all want to acquire more in terms of power and money even if we have to forsake our values and moral principles. After all, for some people the ends justifies the means. As a result, we are indeed advancing materially but morally, we are stepping back. It would be worth to consider the values which our ancestors used to preach and which made the Mauritian society a much better place to live in.

 9. If you were to advise youngsters from primary to secondary levels, what would you say as far as their personal development is concerned and also the role to be played in future?

 Well, I would advise them to pay particular attention to their studies because in this global world, the level of expectation is rising everywhere. Education is no more a luxury but a must and therefore every student must achieve his best. Also, I consider education to be the only reliable pathway to climb the social ladder without being indebted to anybody. Certainly a student must not focus solely in his studies; he must be able to be engaged in extracurricular activities which will definitely help him to develop his personal characters and become an all-rounder. I also find important for youngsters not to neglect their family life and to know which person to befriend with.

 10. Were you aware of the existence of the NSFK before this evening get-together? What can you say about this Cantonese society? Anything else that can help contribute to its sustainability?

 Yes, I was already aware of the NSFK as my grandmother, Fok Yuk How, and my father are members of the NSFK though they are not really active members.

The Cantonese society is indeed small one among the Chinese community.  I fear that sooner or later the Cantonese language may disappear because we are having more and more couples from different backgrounds and cultures who express themselves differently. Also, in the Mauritian context, occidental languages are more popular and deemed to be more useful afterwards, which is in fact to the detriment of ancestral languages like the Cantonese language. With the first generation of Mauritian Cantonese which is decreasing each year, we are often left disoriented as to how to perpetuate the traditions and many of us just gradually abandon our culture.

I think that we need to make people of Cantonese origins to meet and retain them via various frequent activities. We have to bear in mind of the different age groups and thus adapt these activities so that they will be appealing to each and everyone. Besides, it might be good to have a permanent place to display objects of cultural value to the Cantonese people which will remind us how our ancestors have left their footprints on the sands of time.

 11. Any special words or idioms that you would like to add or quote.

 In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.

 Dated 29th May 2013

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