From sleeping in void decks to enrolling at Oxford

Scholarship holder who suffered many hardships now aims to help those in need

Mr Zulhaqem Zulkifli will start his master's degree in Buddhist studies at Oxford in September.
Mr Zulhaqem Zulkifli will start his master's degree in Buddhist studies at Oxford in September.

Mr Zulhaqem Zulkifli, 27, used to spend Sundays with his father, rummaging through dumpsters for scrap metal and cardboard boxes to sell.

It was hard work under the hot sun. "People thought I was in some sports CCA (co-curricular activity) because I was so tanned. I told them 'yeah, I do sports - at the dumpsters'," the philosophy student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said in jest.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2019, with the headline 'From sleeping in void decks to enrolling at Oxford'. Subscribe