THE COMMUNIQUE Edition #010918

We caught up with the Adib brothers, Syahmie 16, and Zahin 15 who has been living in the United Kingdom with their parents since 2001. Zahin was born in England and Syahmie was born in Malaysia, arrived in England at the age of 12 days old. They are now studying at The Windsor Boys’ School in Year 12 and Year 11 respectively.


In March this year, Syahmie and Zahin joined the Mastering Leadership Programme with the Spring Cohort at Lady Margaret Hall. During the summer break, Syahmie was back in Malaysia and travelled to several parts of the country to catch up with friends that he made while in Oxford, as well as to do community work in East Malaysia. Zahin stayed behind to study for his upcoming GCSEs.


Hi Boys,


  1. How has your summer break been?

Both: So far it has been great and productive (apart from Zahin’s bike being stolen). We went camping in Scotland, Syahmie went back to Malaysia while Zahin stayed home to revise and keep his fitness up. We met the Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Syed Saddiq in London. We were given the opportunity to entertain (also getting paid) two Malaysian boys (both 14 years old) on their holiday. So we took them to Thorpe Park (an adventurous theme park) and also a water sports centre called Liquid Leisure. We also took them to see Old Trafford Stadium (Manchester United), Etihad Stadium (Manchester City) and Enfield Stadium (Liverpool FC). We also shared the experience of fruit picking at Garson Farm in Esher and dined at the very well known Burger & Lobster, having ice cream and gelato at Amorino Bayswater and many more. The package is not complete without the London tour and trip to Oxford and Cambridge.


S: I went on NCS. NCS (National Citizen Service) is a UK government program for 16-17 year old students, where they have to take part in charity/community work. My group worked with a care home for the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s. Straight after this, I went back to Malaysia to help with a friend’s charity called SEAS (Sabah English Aspiration Society).  I was one of the facilitators for the English Camp 2018. I also gave two motivational talks to two schools in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.


Z: I stayed at home to do revision for my GCSEs. This was because of my rowing commitment and I had also been chosen to take trials for county hockey. So I had to put in more effort to go to the gym and revise more often. To know that I am going to be very busy I decided that I stay home for the summer holidays and study while I can. I went to the gym every other day until my bike was stolen while I was working out. I have to borrow Syahmie’s bike now :(



  1. Syahmie, what part of being back in Malaysia during the summer break did you enjoy the most?

While I enjoyed my time in Sabah teaching English to children from rural areas, I enjoyed spending time with my family, who I had not seen for a while. I went to my aunt’s wedding in Terengganu, and met with some of my Oxford friends (Arif and Elisya were the only ones to turn up, where was everyone else? Kidding). For Raya Haji, I went back to my kampung in Banting, but I had to fly back that night so that I could pick up my GCSE results the next day.



  1. Zahin, you rowed for your school and has achieved strong positions throughout the last few years. Tell us more about this sport and why you enjoy it so much. Also, how did you balance your extracurricular activities with your studies?

When Syahmie started rowing I was slightly intrigued by the sport and decided when I joined the school I would want to be a part of this awesome sport. To see my brother putting in a lot of commitment to the sport (six days a week) so I was more prepared as I knew what was coming. I was a Sports Leader in my previous school and involved in athletics, so I was more athletically capable. The Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club has been doing well for many years. The top quad (4 people) won Henley Royal Regatta (a very prestigious rowing tournament in the UK) two years in a row. So I would like to maybe represent myself for Malaysia in a few years time (Malaysia has never been known to row in the Olympics). To achieve that I need to aim to win a singles race next year. This year I’d been given the chance to row in the octuple (8 people) where we won at Thames Ditton Regatta. Mostly, I race in quads and many times I have been in the finals. I enjoy it because it makes me feel good even though it is a very tough and disciplinary sport.


Doing rowing means staying after school to do training until late in the evening. I need to make a timetable of when to study and follow it because some mornings there are early sessions where we do a weights session or a run. This doesn’t include the races on the weekends where sometimes we have to travel up to 2 hours to the race venue!



  1. As the only Asian in the rowing group, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome it?

Asians aren’t usually very tall so that’s one problem but I can’t really overcome that one. Every time I grow a bit taller they also grow more so I am never the same height. However I am not doing bad as before, when I started I was a lot shorter (it meant I had to exercise a lot on the hanging bar). Before when my crewmates lifted up the boat sometimes I wouldn’t be able to reach as they were all taller than me.


Another problem is about covering aurat as a Muslim. The rowing kit is very tight and revealing and also doesn’t cover the knees. So it happened I put my leggings on every race but then the main coach told me not to wear them or just not race.


  1. And Syahmie, we heard you completed the GCSE with flying colours, Congratulations. Tell us a bit about your result and how you studied for it.

S: Thank you very much, but I wouldn’t say “flying colours”, as I didn’t quite get straight A’s. My batch were the first to use the new exam system, and we found it difficult as we couldn’t prepare for it properly. All we could do was try our best, but Alhamdulillah, I managed to get a few level 8s(A*) and 7s(A). I’m very happy with my result in Maths because I got accepted to do Further Maths (requires a minimum grade of level 8 (A*)) at A-Level, as well Economics and Law.

Maths has always been my strongest and favourite subject, and every Saturday I travelled to London to study for long hours with a group of Malaysian friends. Studying in a group made it easier to learn because we were similar in ability, which meant that we could always ask each other for help when needed.



  1. We also noticed that your community services from both of you are par excellence. How did this interest in community work started?

S: Since an early age, we’d always been in charity work of some kind. Our mum spent pretty much every day volunteering in our school. She helped with the reading, and during playtime. From there, she made us help with any school functions. I remember we were both part of a Malaysian Dance group, and we even entered a competition where we won. We were also asked to dance at the school Summer Fair where we also sold Malaysian food. The money we raised was all donated to the school which was involved in the landslide incident in Malaysia.


Z: I remember when we were younger we would make books. For an example, we made a book called “Our Story” and sold them for a good cause. As well as that, I remember me being the illustrator and Syahmie the author. My mum used some of the books to present to the Ministry of Education of Malaysia to encourage children to enjoy reading. When it was possible my mum tried to get us involved. Once there was an event to raise money for an outdoor classroom for the school by running laps around the school field. My brother and I raised the most money.

Recently there was Egham Regatta where we set up a Malaysian food stall to help raise money for The Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club, selling satay, nasi lemak and mee goreng. Next year, hopefully, after my GCSEs, I will be joining Syahmie in doing volunteering at SEAS English Camp 2019.


  1. Share with us your 1-week experience in Oxford during the Mastering Leadership for Youth Programme, and what your takeaways from the programme were.

S: I’m actually very introverted by nature, so that programme was very difficult for me at first. However, it helped me gain some confidence as I was able to make some friends. Normally Zahin is the more easy-going, popular guy, so it felt nice that I could make friends on my own. Thanks to this, it became easier for me to take part in public speaking, such as what I did in Sabah in front of two groups, both numbered at around 200 students. I even managed to make jokes and make the students laugh, which felt good. I hadn’t even gotten my GCSE results back, but already I was talking to students about to take SPM and STPM. Luckily, I did well, otherwise it would have backfired ;)


Z: The experience was good as I made a couple of friends and also learnt a few things like problems in third world countries. But at the time the hockey season was on (not to mention I missed a week of rowing training too) so I was unable to give my full, undivided attention. Luckily during the programme I was allowed to leave for a few hours to play my hockey match against Eton College. It was a pretty big deal. So thanks to Miss Sonia I really appreciate her giving me the chance to play against this elite school (even though we lost the match).


Upcoming Events

MGBF In The News