Five years ago I was really broke. Broke as broke could be with no money even to buy cigarettes. That was the time my daughter won a place in UM and UTP - she actually had to choose one. I could not care less whether it was UM or UTP. What was on my mind back then was money. I needed at least RM2,000 if she were to go to UM and slightly less if she chose UTP since the UTP offer came inclusive with PETRONAS scholarship. And where could I find that kind of money there and then.
To be frank I am not really poor. I have some properties including lands but it would take me months if I decide to sell. I could borrow from my siblings (some of them were Datuks and holding JUSA posts and could surely afford to loan me a few thousands) but I have never borrowed any money from anybody, siblings or friends, parents or in-laws. I just did not have the strength to say it. The only money I ever borrowed was to buy a house through a government loan. When I left my government job three years later, I had to pay the RM200,000 and used whatever I had saved and hence depleting all my cash savings.
I had two crude choices, sell off my car or my watch. Sell my car and I had to walk or take a bus and my wife was against it. She pestered me to take a loan from my sister but I refused. I had a Rolex watch, half gold which I bought in Hong Kong eons ago. The problem was I could not pawn it since I had lost the watch certificate. Rolex watches come with certificates and if you sell they would ask for the certificates. You could find lots of advertisements on newspapers offering to buy Rolex watches and I walked into one of them and they offered me RM4,000 without a certificate or RM6,500 with a certificate. It was a depressing situation but I decided to go home to look for the certificate so I could gain a few extra thousands.
I was rummaging my personal items for the watch certificate when a postman rang. It was a registered letter addressed to my daughter from a body called PTPTN. I heard about PTPTN back then but not much. In fact I did not even know their procedures or eligibility. When my daughter opened up the letter out fell a cheque amounting to RM1,500.00. The letter said it was an advance from PTPTN to cover for my daughter's tuition fees. Holy crocodile! That was the biggest saver in my life.
No guarantor, no terms, no conditions but just a cheque for RM1,500 and it came when no hope was left inside me. The letter said my daughter had been offered a loan by PTPTN and the RM1,500 was an advance from the pre-approved loan. The letter only said my daughter had to pay the amount back to PTPTN if she was offered another scholarship or if she declined the loan offer. And that was it, nothing simpler than that. One page of letter and a cheque, no hassling.
So we were ready to go to Tronoh courtesy of PTPTN. But I never made it to Tronoh. My wife had actually phoned my eldest sister telling her my predicament and a day before we were supposed to go to Tronoh my sister arrived at my house, took my daughter into her car and sent her to Tronoh and paid everything that needed to be paid.
My daughter has since graduated and is working. I have since recovered from financial recklessness. But looking back, I could only find good words to say about PTPTN. And PTPTN gave me hope when I needed it the most. And for the watch which I never wore. I emailed the HK outlet and they sent me a copy of the certificate and later I sold it at a much higher price.