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School CP - October 2004

Corpun file 14159

The New Paper, Singapore, 12 October 2004

Strict head prefect ...

... but a caring friend

By Veena Bharwani

TO many in the school, the three boys deserved to be caned in public. They had beaten up a school mate.

But head prefect Mohammad Khurshed, 17, didn't think so.

He went to the principal and tried to convince him to cane the boys in private instead.

'I knew the boys weren't actually bullies and one was even facing problems at home. They just reacted on the spur of the moment, like boys sometimes do,' he said.

And the Bowen Secondary School student made it a point to explain to the boys why such a harsh punishment was necessary.

He did not change the principal's mind but he was a winner with the culprits.

They know he is not a 'soft' head prefect.

Khurshed, one of the 14 Friend of Singa award winners this year, chooses to see the good in everyone.

The New Paper learnt about this incident from his teacher, Mr Rahmat Ali, at the Friend of Singa awards ceremony recently.


Said the 56-year-old teacher: 'The three boys knew that Khurshed would hear them out. He may be a strict head prefect, but he's also a caring friend.'

Khurshed was not only rewarded for his kindness, he also bagged the 'Most Courteous Student' award.

The Friend of Singa awards, organised by The Singapore Kindness Movement, are a yearly affair which acknowledges various acts of kindness by students from all levels.

Khurshed's compassion goes beyond the school as he is also involved in several charitable activities.

His biggest charitable project to date is one that he initiated himself with Grace Haven, an association which houses youths whose parents cannot care for them temporarily.

Khurshed rounded up some school mates and plans to have activities like treasure hunts and soccer games for the troubled youths at Grace Haven.

'Whenever I walked past the home, which is across from our school, I always had this burning desire to do something for them,' he said.

He added that he wants the project to continue even after he leaves the school this year.

While he helps troubled boys, his own life has not been free from worry.

A former Normal Technical student, this Sec 5 Normal Academic boy has had diabetes since 1994.

Another teacher, Mrs Rajalakshmi Danapal, said: 'He may be a diabetic, but he has never considered himself to be a patient.'

Khurshed's elder sister, Madam Asmah Perveen, 31, said she wasn't aware of her brother's involvement with Grace Haven, but added she wasn't surprised at all.

She said that along with juggling head prefect duties, doing charity work and preparing for the coming O levels, Khurshed also finds the time to help out at his dad's new minimart.

Still, Khurshed doesn't plan to stop there: 'Before I sleep at night, I think of the things I have done for the day. For the good deeds, I think of how I can make them better.

'For the bad ones, I think of how I can turn them into good deeds.'

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