SHOUTS of elation, high five exchanges and the almost impossible struggle to hold back the tears were just some of the scenes at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology recently.
While the neutral onlooker might frown at the loud display of emotion, the 409 Felda graduates of the Generasi Baru programme could not care less.
“This is our moment,” said a few in unison, armed with freshly-minted diplomas. And who could disagree?
“Felda students were only guaranteed secondary education 30 years ago and without strong education attainment, their only way forward in life was to be a teacher or a Felda administrative staff,” said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron, who attended the graduation ceremony.
“In fact, my parents were rubber tappers after their retirement and this issue is very close to my heart.I can see that it is special for you too,” he continued. “It was so quiet when I graduated – it felt like a funeral. All of you shout so much but it’s okay. Shout away.”
With their parents and relatives in tow, the throng of people exceeded the capacity of the university hall and only parents were allowed in.
“I feel very happy for my son as we are poor and simple folk,” said a father who had come from Pahang. “I know it was hard for him to adjust to the pace of modern life in the beginning.
“Having overcome the challenges, I hope he won’t forget his roots and will come back to his settlement now and then to inspire others.”
Launched in 2005 by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the Generasi Baru programme is designed to provide the next generation of Felda settlers with tertiary education at Limkokwing.
Students received their diplomas in disciplines such as animation, broadcasting, digital photography, interior design, hair design, fashion and apparel design, graphic design, advertising, information technology, business management and tourism management.
Among them was Faculty of Communication, Media and Broadcasting graduate Norzazrina Zainuddin who hails from Najib’s hometown of Pekan. The connection was further amplified as she was awarded the Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak Award for Creativity and Innovation.
“I enjoyed my mass communication studies here as I always loved using the camera,” Norzazrina said. “I learned a lot here and made full use of the opportunity to be part of the Princeworks filming crew for three months.”
Not stopping there, the brand ambassador for Felda even dabbled with script writing and hopes to work with embassies eventually.
‘“I plan to pursue a degree now,” she added. “I’ve always been a confident person and have built on that in my time here. I’m happy to represent the university.”
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Norzazrina.
“My parents came here today and they were crying when I received my scroll as it has been a hard journey for all of us. They found it hard to understand and accept that my work for the media was not a nine-to-five job. Sometimes, I returned home really late. I took a lot of time to explain things to them and appreciate that they love me regardless.”
As the ceremony ended and the crowd slowly eased their way out, the Generasi Baru graduates congregated at the stage for one last group photo.
However, some were slow to move. At first, it seemed like they were lost. But watching them more closely, it looked like they were committing the occasion to memory.
Filed under: Media Dan Akhbar