On Monday, 12 June 2006, I was on leave - just wanted to rest after the Singapore trip over the weekend. In the morning, I received a call from Ms Pappu, Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology, University of Malaya. She informed me that my viva would be on that coming Friday, 16 June 2006 at 9:30 am. I was surprised at the short notice, and I exclaimed, "so fast?". She replied that it was delayed already, which is true because it was supposed to be 1 - 2 months ago. This is it. The VIVA that I have been waiting for has FINALLY arrived. I started to panic a bit. Then, quickly sent sms and email for prayers. Sent an email to my supervisor for advice. He asked me not to worry, and advised me to review the latest research for my area. Glad that I took his advice. Thank God that Seng Chor was supportive. He missed his meetings and badmintons to take care of Jordan while I revised. So much to read but so little time. In the end, I had to cut down a lot things and focussed on a few key areas. Seng Chor gave a very good reminder actually. The viva is about defending your project work. So, he said "Just explain and defend". This prompted me to look into any 'loopholes' and 'patch' them with the appropriate answers. I managed to read my entire thesis once through and practise the presentation quite a number of times. I came to realise that I can never be fully prepared for anything. So, that was a comforting thought and I was more relaxed. I just need to rely fully on God. Surrender all to Him - whether pass or fail.
Below is what I wrote in my journal for that day:
16 June 2006 (Friday)
PhD viva at 9:30 am in UM.
Reached UM 9:00 am. Went straight to see Ms Pappu to have my presentation installed. Then, she surprised me with 2 statements:
Yours will be short, probably 1 hour (My thoughts, “hmmm…sounds good or could be bad”).
After the viva, wait in this room. They will call you in to let you know the results ("Wow! So fast can know the results").
I waited at the Postgraduate room.
I was called in at about 9:30 am. Got 6 people in the room including my supervisor, Dr Sapiyan.
Presented using PowerPoint for about 25 minutes.
Q&A for half an hour by the external examiner.
Then, went back to the room to wait.
Within 10 minutes, they called me in.
“… Christine, we will recommend to the Senate that you be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy.”
Praise the Lord! Wow! My heart was pounding. It was such a relief.
After that, had some discussion with Dr Sapiyan until almost 11:30 am. He told me that my presentation was good and my report was organised well for the examiners.
Called Seng Chor to tell him the good news.
Couldn’t call my Mama but managed to get my Papa.
Sms to Mama ("Ma, your cabokia is now a doctor"). Called Selvi and Yoke Kheng.
Returned to College after getting the Examiner’s reports from Ms Pappu. The reports were encouraging.
Called Aunty Luan and Max (my 'research assistant'). I was in tears as I told Aunty Luan the good news. It was tears of joy.
My heart was still pounding with excitement for a few hours after the results. It was so unbelievable. It was a miracle from God. I just kept on praising God for giving me the strength to go through it. Until today, I am still amazed and give Him all the glory.