Three students from MCKL walked away with main prizes at the Economics essay competition hosted by the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UoNM) and World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub. This year, the essay title was: “Why is climate change an issue in Malaysia? What climate change mitigation and adaptation measures would you suggest to the government?” The competition was open to all pre-university and high school students across Malaysia with prizes up to RM1,000 and a pledge that the top three winning essays will be published on the World Bank Malaysia’s hub website.
Erica Yoong Ka Kei bagged the third prize, and duo Thamini Vijeyasingam and Lim Chee Yuan won consolation prizes for their essays on climate change. “I was informed by a friend about the essay competition due to it fitting my interest in sustainability,” said Erica. “It was my first time participating in an essay competition, so securing a spot in the top three definitely gave me a huge encouragement to keep a lookout for more competitions to enter.”
Aside from the appeal of the prize money, Thamini felt that, “This year’s question was quite interesting to me, since it was a Malaysia-specific question about climate change. It seemed like a good opportunity to learn more about the problems that Malaysia will face in the near future, especially amidst terrible flooding damages.”
Conducting further research into the topic, Thamini came across profound findings about the nation’s current situation, “Reading up about Malaysia’s biggest challenges to the climate crisis had me wondering if we can really overcome it. It’s quite surprising that flooding has been a longstanding problem, yet the infrastructure for disaster support is so poor.”
However, while information on the impact of climate change in Malaysia was not difficult to find, the challenge was in sorting out the relevant information, “There was a lot of ground to cover, but a pesky word limit of 2,000 words. Trying to ensure sufficient breadth without sacrificing too much depth and keeping it cohesive was quite a difficult task. I wouldn’t say we achieved our goal, but we pared it down to three main areas of concern,” said Thamini.
Erica shared the same concern in penning her thoughts into the essay, “One of the biggest challenges I had was looking for a direction for the essay and creating the framework. From my research, I found plenty of statistics and numbers, and a lot of my effort was in organising all the information I had into a smooth and easy-to-understand essay. I had to consider making the essay interesting and bringing my point across simultaneously.”
The students’ work paid off when UoNM announced the winners, “It was good news, and positive encouragement to enter more writing competitions. Certainly, it meant that the time invested reading research papers had been more fruitful than I had expected,” Thamini beamed.
However, according to Erica, winning should not be the only motivation when considering to enter a competition, “Take the chance when you get it. Even though you might not achieve anything, the experience is forever precious,” advised Erica. As a third prize winner, Erica won RM600 and Thamini with her partner, Chee Yuan received RM350 for their essay entries.