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Vocational School Teacher of Sabahan Haiku Champion Says Having Faith in Students is Crucial


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Source: Provided to WOB

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This vocational college in Sabah is making waves again and this time, it’s thanks to a 2nd-year student winning the 1st prize in an international haiku competition.

Hailing from Keningau Vocational College (KVC), Siti Nur Hanisah Omar Hashim is not the first person from her college who has had great success on the international stage.

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Previously, one of her schoolmates was the only Malaysian who made it into the Top 10 of the Global Student Prize award and a teacher beat about 7,000 other applicants to claim the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards 2022!

Haiku-writing journey

In an exclusive interview with WORLD OF BUZZ, Hanisah shares that although she’s an early childhood education student, she also has another passion for writing and reciting poems in Malay.

However, she never dabbled in haikus until she attended a 1 hour class on how to write haikus in a cultural camp her school organised.



The class piqued the 17-year-old’s interest in the Japanese poetic form and led Hanisah to attend a masterclass on writing haikus.

After writing for a while, Hanisah’s English teacher, Mr. Sirhajwan Idek who frequently reads and proofreads her haikus suggested that she submits her work for the International Online Festival-Competition “Argentine Gathering”.

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An excerpt of hanisah’s winning haiku


To their great pleasure, Hanisah’s work captured the judges’ hearts, landing her the first prize in the haiku category of the international competition!

“I felt thrilled that my effort was being recognised. It motivates me to write more and perhaps try other genres in literary and performing arts such as storytelling and drama,” said Hanisah who hopes that one day her work will get published in established literary magazines. 

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A school of achievers

Despite vocational colleges not having the best reputation, Mr Sirhajwan along with the other teachers in KVC believe that presented with the opportunity, guidance and assistance, their students can become superstars. 

“It’s the power of never ever underestimating young people no matter who they are or where they come from. They can do so much if we give them the opportunities, platform and assistance they need,” he said, adding that most Malaysian teachers will probably agree with him.

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He also shared that cultivating an encouraging environment and believing in the students are key to nurturing their climb to success.

“When teachers have faith in their students’ ability to succeed, the students will also believe in themselves. They become more invested in and motivated to pursue their passion regardless of the field.”

This is proven by the string of international accomplishments students from KVC have demonstrated.

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Fredo with his certificates of achievement


For example, Fredo Foo Sau Yi, a culinary arts student whose animated tale “Dragon of Mount Kinabalu” won the bronze medal in the Magic Bridges of Budapest 2021, an international competition and festival of arts, music, vocals, dance, and folklore.

Not forgetting Aldiedianie Alexander and Erlyn Sherlyn Ujin who were awarded the 3rd degree laureate in the Russian Friends of Moscow festival in the puppet show category. They study early childhood education and their performance was titled “Soyang”.

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Aldiedianie and erlyn posing with their winning puppet show.


On Hanisah, Mr Sirhajwan expressed that he hopes she will continue writing, not necessarily just haikus. 

“I think it’s important to teach the young generation to become writers who can not only write critically and effectively, but also artistically and creatively.”

Watch Hanisah’s submission for the haiku competition below:


Such dedicated teachers and amazing students! We can’t wait to see what you will achieve next.


Also read: Sabahan Vocational Student Amazingly Advances To Top 10 of the 2022 Global Student Prize!

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