GENUINE friendship helped three outstanding students of Diocesan Boys' School to an extraordinary HKCEE result - all of them scored nine As. How close are they? The day before the announcement of the results, Chan Siu-kim and Eric Liu Ka-yip spent the night together in school, talking and releasing their pent-up apprehensions. ''We actually slept on the campus last night (Monday), after we had the usual heart-to-heart talk,'' Ka-yip told Young Post after he received his result. Siu-kim scored A(1)s in Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Principles of Accounts. He had A(2)s in Add Maths, Religious Studies and English Language. Eric earned A(1)s in English Language, Religious Studies, Geography, Economics, and A(2)s in Chinese Language, Maths, Principles of Accounts, Chinese History and Biology. What the two usually do together has little to do with studying. This pair of confidants share their feelings about life and their goals. For them, the secret of success is to perceive learning as something other than an escape from the outside world. Siu-kim believes that learning will train students to be better people instead of just improving their academic knowledge. ''You have to perceive learning as something meaningful. You got to do something to make studying intriguing,'' said Eric, who makes his study interesting by considering his own interpretation of information first before getting to teachers' opinions. Eric plays the violin while Siu-kim plays the guqin in the Chinese orchestra ''like a novice''. So, do they have the same goal in life? Siu-kim wants to be an ''inventor'' while Liu wants to be an accountant. ''It is only a dream anyway. My father wants me to be a doctor and I think by taking biology in matriculation studies, my dad's dream will come true eventually. And mine? It will go down the drain!'' Siu-kim quipped. Their good friend, Suen Jenkin, 17, scored nine A(1)s in Chinese Language, English Language, Maths, Religious Studies, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Economics and Add Maths. ''I did not expect such good results because I only finished half of my English composition and I did real bad in Maths. So, I thought the best I could do was six As.'' Jenkin believes that the most important factors in doing well are ''not to cram, sleep enough, be hardworking throughout the whole preparation for the HKCEE and do some exercises and extra-curricular activities'' to strive for balance. To achieve this, Jenkin joined the Chinese debate team and the orienteering society. He said that such activities trained him to be a better student. Jenkin hopes to be a lawyer.