In Malaysia, over 14,000 cases of bullying have been reported from the year 2012 to 2015 (source: HAKAM Report, Jan 2018). These staggering facts reveal that bullying, in particular, physical bullying has become a common phenomenon in schools across the country.
Growing up, Rose Quek was always picked on for being different. Her outstanding academic results, bubbly personality and body size didn’t sit well with her peers. They would often alienate her from activities and tease her because of her body size – “They would call me fat and say I couldn’t do anything.”
At one point in her life, the bullying got so bad that it made her fear having ambitions of her own. “I was afraid of trying new things. I was afraid of being the best student I could be. I was so concerned about other people’s opinions because I wanted to be accepted.”
Thankfully, Rose realised the importance of staying true to herself and kept going on. She has definitely come a long way despite the hardships she experienced in the past. Not only did she recently graduate with a Diploma in Mass Communication, Rose has also been involved in charity work – she was part of the Expedition Agape Malaysia 2014/2015 team and travelled to the Philippines to help the needy and raise funds for underprivileged children.
She also seized the opportunity to be part of prestigious PR campaigns such as the KL Alta Moda 2018 Fashion Show where she had the opportunity to assist local designers by speaking to their prospective clients at the show; something she has always wanted to do.
Here’s a rundown of the interview with Rose, a bullying survivor!
1. Congratulations on gaining your diploma! How does it feel to complete your diploma and achieve other personal milestones?
Thank you. To be honest, I am proud of myself and I’m really grateful to be able to complete my Diploma. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I wasn’t given the opportunity to do so. Yes, there were struggles along the way but I refused to give up because getting an education is a lifetime opportunity.
I am grateful for all the experiences I have gained. Currently, I am serving my scholarship bond with IACT College. Although it’s a bond, I am still grateful for the experience as most of my friends are still struggling to find jobs.
2. How do you manage to keep going despite the bitter experience of being bullied in school? Any inspiring quotes you live by?
I am inspired by the people around me – my parents deserve a special mention. They have supported and motivated me to do my best. They believe in me even when I struggle to have faith in myself. Above all, they have worked so hard to provide for the whole family. I hope to give back to my parents by always giving my best in everything that I do.
3. Looking back now, what is something you have learned from your experience?
I’ve learned that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. In actual fact, you are meant to please no one but yourself.
4. Do you deem yourself an inspiring person?
Honestly, I don’t. Nevertheless, I am touched and grateful to learn about others who have been inspired by my story. I am an open book and ever willing to share my story and experiences with others. Personally, I know people from more challenging backgrounds and it’s inspiring to hear how they have overcome obstacles in life.
5. Speaking of inspirational figures, do you have someone you look up to?
I can’t pinpoint a specific person. I think in general, I look up to strong and independent woman such as Mila Kunis, Sandra Bullock and Emma Watson, just to name a few. These remarkable women aren’t afraid to voice their opinions or lend a hand to tackle social issues. They teach me to believe in myself and own my mistakes. After all, everyone makes mistakes and what we can do is to learn from them.
6. What would you say to someone who has or is being bullied?
I was bullied for being obedient, intelligent, and hardworking. As a result, I developed a fear to do things. Fear not, as you shape your own future! Never be afraid of trying something new even if it makes you different.
Other than that, always surround yourself with positive people who want to see you grow. Don’t allow negativity to creep into your life as it will drown you.
7. What are your future plans?
I hope to pursue a degree in public relations. I believe it would help me in the near future, especially when I am searching for a job. My ultimate career goal is to set up my own PR firm.
Rose is a great example of how ‘when you get made fun of, when people point out your weakness, it is just another opportunity for you to rise above.’
We wish Rose the very best in her future endeavours!