EUGENE Low Kah Soon’s father passed away when he was young, and he was brought up by his mother.
He soon discovered that his mother was battling both brain and breast cancer and at a young age found that he had to divide his time between school and taking care of her.
Sadly, she succumbed to cancer just months after Low’s SPM examination which left him an orphan.
Despite this, Low continued to be an outstanding student at school which caught the attention of Unirazak’s Yayasan Cemerlang. Under Tun Rahah Scholarship Fund, he pursued his studies in Islamic Banking and Finance.
Now at 23, Low’s progress is exemplary. No doubt, it would have made his parents proud if they were still alive.
Reflecting on his younger days, Low said that the death of his father 12 years ago left him confused about his future. At that time, he was living with his mother, two brothers and a younger sister in Ipoh.
“We felt that we lost everything. We spent countless nights crying our hearts out. My eldest brother who is older by nine years decided to take charge of the household. He was already finishing school and had to start work to keep the family afloat.
“But just as I thought that our lives were improving, we were faced with my mother’s sickness.
“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and all of us had to take care of her. As the famous saying goes: ‘When it rains it pours’, it was another heartbreaking news which left us all devastated. She succumbed to her illness just a few months before I sat for my examination,” said Low.
Despite these challenges, he was determined to do well in his SPM.
“Family is very important to me. At one point of my life, I had to share a meal with my sister. However, I knew I couldn’t depend on my brothers anymore because they had their own lives. No matter what, I had to be financially independent. And the only way to achieve this was to study hard and not burden my family further.
His hard work paid off when he scored straight A’s and was offered the scholarship.
“The scholarship covered my studies for four years, including one year in Foundation.
“It was tough in the beginning but since I was financially secure, I was able to focus on my studies. For that, I am forever grateful to Unirazak for awarding me with a scholarship,” he added.
Fascinated by numbers since small, Low somehow knew that he was destined to take up either Accounting, Taxation or Finance, but little did he know about Islamic Banking.
He did some research and soon found that he liked the nature of the course.
“Since I didn’t have to worry about the costs and fees, I was able to fully concentrate on my studies as well as have a balanced social life throughout the years.
“Unirazak nurtures students in its own way. The campus itself is not surrounded by buzzing restaurants or cafes, to ensure that students are not distracted.
“It was a good environment for me and it helped me not to get distracted from my goals and objectives studying here,” said Low.
He also said that academic is not everything. He believes that getting straight A’s or scoring four flat doesn’t really determine who you are.
“It is your personal attitude and soft skills that make you an all rounder. We need to do
this on our own, to get out there and to know more people which is good for networking,” said Low.
He joined Unirazak’s Toastmaster Club and found himself able to speak in public after many failed attempts.
“I was very reluctant and quite shy to speak in front of so many people but the club taught me to be myself and improve my level of confidence.”
Low is currently working at Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad as an associate in the Debt Capital Markets unit.
During his free time, he rather stay at home to relax and spend time with his sister. He also hopes to climb up the corporate ladder and live life to the fullest before starting a family of his own.
Low’s advice to fresh graduates is to always cherish their time with their family because once you lose them, you will never be able to create memories with them again.
“If you have problems at the university or at the workplace, just talk to your family. They may or may not help, but they will surely listen to you. No matter how hard life is, family always comes first,” he said.