Sadness overcame him. Tears well up in his eyes. Slowly he let it flow along his cheek. He was alone huddled in a corner far away from the crowded place in campus. With just one year into his three years studies at the university, he finds it hard to cope with the end of the year exam round the corner. It was the money issue not the exam.

He reflected on his decision to pursue the tertiary studies at the late age of 39. It would be difficult and he knew what it would be like then. The expectation of him to find solutions to put the daily bread on the table for his family would come sooner or later. With three school going children, their mother a housewife and an aged mother, it makes the journey even harder.

He had thought then “With no income, will I survive? Will my family survive?” The little savings from selling the family car to fund his studies was just sufficient to last a year. He had “bite the bullet” then thinking that he could go through the three years hardship. The risk was worth taking considering the better life thereafter. Three years is a long time with no income! However, I will leave it to you to decide. I’ll support your decision.” The family had agreed to cut down on all expenses except the essentials.

However, this time the cash flow was low. He had cutdown on his meal allowance per day. It will last just two weeks and that’s it, he will have to find another way. He is adamant not to loan from the bank or his relative. A chinese pride that held tight. He has no confidence of passing the half yearly exam should he worked part time.  He thought, “Bear with it. There should be a solution!”.

He wiped off his tears, heave a long sigh and headed home as the sun faded into the horizon. His wife greeted him when he reached home. She was smiling almost delightfully. “Is something up dear?” he enquired. Then she told him the good news “Your application for fund support from your employer came through the mail. You’ve been given the scholarship! We can now make it.” She was jumping with joy!

He thought “It’s always darkest before dawn. Never believe it could be real. It really happened to me!” The family celebrated with a good meal that he thought was two years early.