First of all, my shining wife, Fidelia Sawai Horne, is well and truly alive. For a similar eulogy which became famous overnight, you really should read this article by clicking on the link just above ^^^^^^^. I'm sorry to say that it caused much confusion amongst people from at least 3 different continents, and it required much clarity in explanation and a follow-up article to get the correct message across.
So be sure people, that Fidelia Sawai Horne is very much alive and well!
On Saturday 9th October, 2010, my dear wife, Fidelia Sawai Horne, graduated from Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) after receiving her honours in the university's 5th convocation. The Sun was so intense that even the air-conditioning seemed warm. As I struggled in the equatorial heat, Fidelia received her much-deserved honours after six years of laborious effort.
As Fidelia received her honours on the stage, which took no less than 5 seconds before she was up, and then off with graduation folder in hand, nobody would have suspected her to be any different than the other 700 or so students in green and blue robes. The only criteria by which these students were judged was the completion of their courses, assignments, essays, tests and exams throughout the last four years. But with Fidelia Sawai Horne, there was a world more than that to take into consideration. If only the university dean and other officials and leaders present at the ceremony were aware of Fidelia's true achievements, I'm sure she could have walked up the red carpet down the centre of the hall.
When I first met Fidelia Sawai Anak Michael Mulok, she was a year into her chemical engineering course and was some way off target in her second semester results. We got engaged and then spent the best part of the next year separated as she continued studying in UMP in Gambang, Malaysia, whilst I worked in England. This was an exciting yet painfully difficult time. To this day I still don't know how some of her very best semester grades were achieved during this period of our engagement. I ran up an exorbitant phone bill of two thousand pounds (there is no 'pound' symbol on my keyboard) which equates to around RM12,000! I bothered her, I'm sure with these multi-hour marathons of calls whilst she had school work to do and I'm still puzzled as to how this amazing woman managed to fit everything in.
The following year, being the summer of 2006, during her school holidays, we were civilly married in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia and then jetted off to England where we had a marriage ceremony in the London England Temple. Following our marriage and honeymoon we made the move to Kuantan, where Fidelia had searched and found an apartment for us to stay. This was done by her with the help of a few of her friends whilst we were engaged. She managed to find a lovely owner who has dealt very kindly with us ever since.
They say that through struggle comes strength. And we did struggle in the early days of our marriage. Fidelia had a 40-minute journey to university every day, and without a car, we were paying a lot for taxi fares. As I was now residing in a place I never previously knew existed, Kuantan seemed a strange home full of question marks and doubts. I had to start my career from nothing. A monetary gift from my good parents was a great benefit to us, and just as it was whittling down to zero, I had found a number of students for English tuition to cover our expenses. Throughout this trying time, my determined wife soldiered off to school and home again by taxi. We soon bought a second-hand car (though it's more like tenth-hand!) and Fidelia, amidst our financial tests and university work, had her driving tests and passed.
Fidelia travelled to university in the early hours of the morning, sometimes not arriving home until 11pm due to night classes replaced because lecturers couldn't take the class at the normal time. She also patiently coped with changes in class times and venues that she was never made aware of because she didn't live on campus. Occasionally her friends failed to notify her of cancelled classes and a long journey in a hot car was wasted. She handled the difficulties of life off campus admirably well.
In 2007 we learned that Fidelia was pregnant with our first child. Morning sickness came for a few tough months. Fidelia vomited it all out and then drove off to university for her lectures, often not feeling too well, but gave her best effort always. As her pregnancy neared completion, she had to postpone two semesters of her study as she gave birth and looked after Lauren in those critical first few months.
By July 2008 Fidelia was ready to resume her studies, but with a whole new group of people to make friends with. Her classmates were now a year ahead and Fidelia began the process of becoming acquainted all over again with those juniors who were a year below her, but now in the same lectures and classes. It seemed to be an effortless transition for her as she took everything in her stride.
Fidelia did, and I'm still not quite sure how, manage to balance her studies with parenting her baby daughter with spending some quality time with her husband! Yes she was stressed at times, and I'm not saying that it was at all easy, but she persevered and came through everything that was set before her. She completed all the requirements of her chemical engineering course whilst simultaneously travailing through all of the maternal worries of a mother for her sick baby and of her husband who was at home each day looking after Lauren by himself. Not only did Fidelia have to have good communication relationships with her fellow students, but also with the complexities of marriage and parenthood.
I am astounded beyond measure when I look back over these monumental achievements she has piled up in her favour. Just to spend four years studying chemical engineering is tricky enough, with its attendant stresses and pressures. But for my wife to have accomplished all of these other accolades that went entirely unseen by the men in blue robes handing out the honours on her graduation day, makes me stand in awe. There are not really any words suitable enough to describe how proud I am of my wife, Fidelia Sawai Horne.
I struggle to think of any other graduate more deserving of the honours received in UMP's 5th convocation on Saturday 9th October, 2010.
My birthday is approaching on 16th October, but I already have the best gift I could possibly wish for - my outstanding, select wife, Fidelia Sawai Horne, complete with the phenomenal strength of six years of divine struggle, culminated in grand achievement; not necessarily the honours received in a blue book on stage, but more of the unseen triumphs of the mind and soul that has made her the spectacular woman of today.