Genevieve Ooi is currently studying Law at the London School of Economics. Genevieve completed her IB at Sri KDU International School and is graduating in 2022. This personal statement was part of her successful application to LSE, King’s College London and University of Manchester for Law.
“Sexual Abuse Cases of 20,000 Malaysian Children Were Hidden by Government for 10 Years”. Reading this repulsive headline made my blood boil, as I believe that law should protect the vulnerable. These heinous crimes were concealed under the Official Secrets Act to protect the reputation of the government. The injustice faced by those children outraged me; this among a range of issues motivated me to pursue law, as I desire to bring change.
Prior to the enactment of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (SOAC), there were no laws in Malaysia that governed non-physical sexual assault; I felt that the law was inadequate in protecting the children. The pursuit of NGOs lawyers along with undercover journalists’ investigations on child sexual grooming led to the enactment of the SOAC. The initiatives of the pro bono lawyers encouraged me, as it is analogous to the work I did as the founder of the Leo Club in my school, and as a tutor in a refugee school. I am fascinated by the ever changing scope of laws and the challenge to advocate new legislation to strengthen the rule of law to address society’s current issues. Perplexed by why courts couldn’t take a tougher stance and preventive measures to swiftly halt suspects’ sexual or abusive actions, I read Palgrave’s “Great Debates in family law”. The conflict between protecting children from sexual and physical abuse and safeguarding an individual’s privacy was debated. Judges are often faced with the arduous task to strike a fine balance between these two conflicting outcomes. The question of whether it is justifiable to infringe one’s privacy to protect the vulnerable intrigues me, as one’s perception of justice and fairness is subjective, along with the decision as to what should prevail. I wanted to learn more.
Child marriage is another controversial issue as Malaysia operates a dual justice system. The non-uniformity between the Civil and Syariah laws made protection laws challenging and paradoxical, which is evident from the recent nuptial of a 41 year old man to an 11 year old girl under the Syariah court. The antagonistic nature of these two laws results in discordant outcomes falling short of arriving at a conclusive solution. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, I read Palgrave’s “Great Debates in Jurisprudence. Dworkin’s theory proposes that law is a branch of morality, and must have a point, value or purpose. In this respect, it would seem to me that both the Civil and Syariah laws fulfils his theory of law, when contextualised. From morality alone, the question as to which jurisprudence is superior cannot be answered, as both morality and the law are interpretive concepts. The complex nature of the interpretation of law fascinates me and I look forward to deepening my understanding in Law school. I have debated on the issue of child marriages in a Model UN conference and realised how stark cultural differences affected different countries’ policies on child marriages. The interconnection of philosophy, anthropology, history and other disciplines makes law extremely engaging. As one of the top performers for IGCSE, I was honoured to receive a full merit scholarship for IB. History, English Language and Literature have sharpened my skills to analyse text and form cogent arguments, the essentials for law. My passions to delve in logical reasoning and to interpret complex information is attested by my Mensa accreditation. Being the assistant music director and the curator of TEDx have honed my creativity and leadership skills. I have learnt effective time management skills as I continue to pursue my interest in figure skating and music alongside the demands of the IB course.
My desire is to emulate the unwavering noble pursuits of lawyers who advocate for the rights of children, to be the ‘voice to the voiceless’. Acquiring a law degree in a world class university will equip me to achieve this aspiration.
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