The letter…

This is not going to be a post about those things that you get in the mail…but about the letter – A.

The letter A 1

Some of you may not be aware that they have changed the grading system in the SPM Examination at the end of Form 5 from numbers, Grades 1 to 9…to letters, Grades A to E and G which stands for GAGAL (fail…and I guess it can also stand for “goondoos” as well). For each A, they have A+, A and A- but only a B+ and B and also a C+ and C for the two subsequent grades and they do not have any such differentiation for the D and E grades. I wonder why.

SPM new grading system

Another thing that they claim is that an A is equivalent to the former A1 and an A- is the same as the former A2. An A+, however, is an achievement much higher than the former A1…

I think they said that in the past, among those who got A1, there are some very good ones and some not so good ones, so to be fair, they now have A+ to “separate the men from the boys” or so to speak. Personally, I fail to understand the rationale or the logic behind all of this. They could just raise the minimum mark requirement for an A1 so that those who are not of that standard will have to be happy with an A2 or lower. Sometimes I really wonder how the minds of those people function.

Now we have schools proclaiming the number of students getting straight As…but they are certainly not revealing specifically whether it is an A+, an A or an A-.

The letter A 2

And talking about those who did manage to get an A in English, it does seem that the candidates have to be quite good to get an A+ and do take note that I said, quite good – not very good or extremely good. I had some students that I had expected to get a B4 for the Cambridge English 1119 score but they managed a B3 instead. And for the SPM grading, they got an A when under the old system, I would think that they could be good enough for an A2 or lower and definitely not an A1. Catch the drift?

Whatever it is, I cannot understand why there is this mad scramble for a string of As. At the end of the day, it is just one’s paper qualification – it does not prove who you really are. And at the end of the day, it is you – whether you are an individual of substance or not that really matters. I know of a girl who is now studying under the JPA scholarship in Japan. Her grades for her Science subjects were not outstanding but she managed to impress them at the interview and succeeded in getting what she wanted. On the other hand, I do know of a couple of excellent students who also got the scholarship and went abroad – one broke down mentally halfway and had to come home to recuperate, never to continue his studies again and another had to continue in a private college in KL as he just could not make the grade when he was sent to the States.

And incidentally, when the aforementioned girl’s SPM results were released, she called me and said that if her school had been a tall building, she would have jumped off and killed herself. Why? It was because she had called her mother earlier…and she said, “You’re so useless!” and hung up. I had to do all I could to console her and encourage her that in life, there would be so many roads to choose and so many ways and means of getting to where one would want to go. A string of As may be a means to an end but is in no way THE end and I’m sure everyone will agree that success in examinations is in no way an assurance of success in one’s undertakings in life…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

57 thoughts on “The letter…”

  1. Bravo! Couldn’t have said it better myself. An A or rather Straight As does not assure one a successful and rich life. You have to be smart when facing the world that’s beyond examinations and grading if you wanna be successful in life. Having loads of As, does not mean you really have the wisdom in your head.

    Speaking from personal experience…and look at all the successful family business empires built up over the years by their never-been-to-university fathers and grandfathers here. How many have collapsed in the hands of their very qualified children…

  2. Ouh…I didn’t notice the change bro. :p So many different grading. So now G is gagal lar. ha 😀

    You didn’t? I thought you’re in the teaching line? I guess you’re not teaching the upper forms and therefore, not in the least concerned…

  3. I can’t agree wtih you more. examination results is not a yardstick to measure one’s intelligence in everything. I feel that the focus on examination in Msia is skewed. Parents end up bringing their children for tuition just for the sake of getting As by tackling exam questions. There isn’t any aim to encourage critical thinking in children but to just memorise and accept facts without questioning.

    That’s why they say…we have to move away from this exam-oriented mentality and yet they make such a big hoo-ha over the results each time they are released…and they even name the Top 10/20 in the country. Ah well! Don’t we know those people too well by now – they NEVER practise what they preach! I do not want to mention names but I know a schoolmate who was not an A-student in his time but now heads a private university and a national newspaper etc etc etc…and he’s not the only one.

    1. Haha…its so obvious who that is even without being named.

      So let it stay that way – he who shall not be named! LOL!!! 😀

    2. And he recently started printing the national paper in Kuching …that one kah? hhahahaha.

      Yup! That’s the one!

    3. Oh that wan I know. I heard he used to sell kampua wan before he struck gold right?

      No leh? He was a reporter…and then he went to further his studies in a college…and there were only 6-8 students. He took over the college…and since then, there has been no turning back!

  4. For me, I think they just want to get more people to have As’… like everything will be pushed up.. so getting straight As’ will be much much much easier this time.. LOL..

    They’re just trying to pull wool over people’s eyes…or are they trying to kid themselves? Even in the PMR, so many get straight A’s…but are in no way A material! I’ve a class full of them and they do not know what Viagra is. They know that Chong Wei won some badminton competition but they cannot give you the name of the international competition… Sigh!!! And the thing is many actually think they are SO smart and get offended when you try to correct them or teach them something!

    1. Getting straight As in PMR breeds overconfident and arrogant tin kosongs?

      They would look at you with stares of disbelief as if they were saying, “What on earth are you talking about? How could I be wrong?”!!! And some would even glare at you and pull a long face for a few weeks to show their displeasure at you for scolding them…and the worst part is they would go on making the same mistakes again…and again…and again! They just do not give a damn!

      1. Why should they bother when the government encourages this? I really feel the education system is going from bad to worse! I feel so retarded graduating from this system, I wonder how will these students feel when they are out of school?

        Don’t blame the government! They are merely whitewashing things to get votes. Blame the over-ambitious parents blinded by their over-eagerness that their kids should end up becoming doctors, engineers and the like…and parents too busy with their scramble for money, money and more money – pushing everything to the schools, the teachers…and the tuition centres. It is understandable that they should push the schools to give the best academically for the children but on the hand, they should provide for their children’s physical, emotional and spiritual development…and knowledge that is beyond the school’s curriculum. At the end of the day when things do not work out, they blame everybody…but themselves!

  5. Hheehe…. your keyboard so “laa charr”.
    I guess straight As is just a key to enter a good college or to get a scholarship. What happens after that is another story. The key is to have a good balance. ie. study when u need to and party when u have to. hehe. No one really bothers about your As once you start working. Performance is what matters then.

    Hahahaha!!! It is, isn’t it? Didn’t notice till I saw it in the photograph. Must get down to cleaning it now… Yup, once you start work, it is who you are that matters…not how many pieces of paper you have.

  6. U r rite! And the a being ‘above’ even a1 in my time, that’s ridiculous! If a1 used to be from 80-100 marks then u need 101% to get a ?? anyone with straight a yet? :p

    Straight A+? I’m sure there are – like those in the list of top 10 or 20 students in the country…and there’s no telling what the minimum mark is to get an A+. The way things are, I do not think it is that high!

  7. gah!…i was comenting from my phone jsut now..i dont knwo why did it remove my all my “+”

    anyway..i meant A+ lol

    Yup…many things you can’t do if your surfing on your handphone! It is a lot worse on my ancient one! LOL!!! 😀

  8. Hmm., a diversion from your usual food post, i see.

    “And incidentally, when the aforementioned girl’s SPM results were released, she called me and said that if her school had been a tall building, she would have jumped off and killed herself. Why? It was because she had called her mother earlier…and she said, “You’re so useless!” and hung up.”

    We seem to have forgotten that the purpose of school isn’t to prepare us for exams, but to teach us things. Now I would not say that our education system is too exam oriented or what, because exams are important for our learning process. But the problem begins when there is an over-emphasis on grades. Perhaps it is the typical Asian stereotype that a good kid is one who scores straight A’s in the exams?

    But come to think of it, grades are tools used to measure one’s value (or perceived value, or future value). It does not necessarily reflect the true potential of one. Just like being a teacher, you know for sure, not every Bachelor of Education (Hons) holder is a great teacher as per William Arthur Ward’s definition.

    (The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward)

    And it seems that you have inspired and impacted the lives of many. Now we pray that your princess and her fellow mates will follow your footsteps and impact as many lives as possible.

    God bless you and warmest regards.

    I would like to believe that I have…and for the record, I do not even have a B.Ed degree, never mind what class honours, just a teacher’s certificate that has since been upgraded to diploma status. Undeniably, we should get the students to do well in their exams and go on from there, but it should not be an obsession to such an extent that all the other aspects of a child’s mental development as well his his/her physical, emotional and spiritual, are all pushed aside.

    Btw, welcome, KJ. Your first time here, I see…and I assume from your comment that you’re not a local. Yes, a break from the usual food posts. “Normal programmes will resume tomorrow!” LOL!!!

  9. I am always confused about our education system so much so that i dont really know what the EM wants our children to grow up to be, to be in the the Uni level where they cant even know what a Neuro sergeon is? Anyway, to me education must be a tool in ways that enable a child to find his/her strength or talent…not to be a copycat……………….

    The bottom line now is schools will drill students to score a string of As in the exams…and if you can’t beat them, join them! But it is up to parents to provide the “true” education, to bring up wholesome well-rounded knowledgeable and independent individuals who are capable of making something out of themselves once they step out into society. Try asking a student with straight As in the PMR exam any simple question on something that they have studied – a month or two later and you can be sure that they will not be able to answer. The other day, I asked my class whether they heard of the earthquake in Chile. They all did! Then I asked them if they knew where Chile was. Nobody did…and one replied, “South Africa!” Lord have mercy!!! Oops! I forgot! They no longer have The Southern Continents in the lower secondary Geography syllabus…

    1. Cikgu…. Chile is next to Chabik…no? Its good to have the world map hung somewhere around the house.

      If they bother to look… 😦

  10. Hm, just read about Cornell earning a reputation as a ‘suicide school’ and then I come here and find out about our Education Ministry changing the grading system. There was enough pressure when students were aiming for straight A1s, I can only imagine how mentally unhealthy this change is going to be when kids start aiming for straight A+. They’re only 17 for heaven’s sake, they need to explore the world as 17 year olds instead of chasing a few alphabets. Or rather, one alphabet

    What we have in our midst are a bunch of kids who are only interested in scoring in exams – anything that has nothing to do with the exams, they are not interested. I heard of one who applied for architecture and was asked, “Which building in Malaysia impresses you the most?” The applicant answered instantly, “The Petronas Twin Towers” (and praise the Lord, he did not say Wisma Sanyan…or for that matter, “Parkson”!!!). The interview retorted, “Those two ugly-looking grey things sticking up vertically into the air?” The poor fella was stumped – speechless…and I guess he did not get the scholarship. Can’t blame him! His education prepared him for excellent results in the exams…but it never taught him how to respond in such a situation!

    1. We will never really know what percentage marks constitute A-, A or A+. When all the markings are done, I am sure the bell curve comes into play, and normal AND standard deviations are debated, adjusted till they get an acceptable (read politically friendly) spread.

      STP, it’s not inconceivable that A+ could be adjusted to percentage marks ranging from 81 to 100 right? So no difference between scoring 81 and 97..and for certain subjects, the man will score 97, boy scores 81…..but since both will achieve A+, man and boy are equal.

      Yes, the curve… They use that here and they claim that it is used and accepted internationally. But when they have to move the curve down so much…to the extent that a candidate getting less than 10 marks can pass in certain subjects, I know about the rest of you…but personally I feel it is absolutely ridiculous. There must be a line somewhere below which if a candidate HAS to fail, then he HAS to fail. Period. And if the curve has been moved that low, I can imagine how many marks would be required to score an A+. So what’s the big deal then?

      1. Yes, then there should be a proper system in place for the student who flunked to re-sit the SPM.

        They can. They can register as private candidates and sit for it again…but they may have a problem if there are changes in the syllabus or e.g. the texts in the literature component. I supervised once and a few of them took Bible Knowledge…and when I peeped at their answers, hilarious was the word! “Judas Iscariot took the 30 pieces of silver, bought a piece of land and became a farmer!” Hahahahahaha!!!!

      2. LOL! Very ‘pandai’ your students can write their own ending abt Judas! Even Dan Brown also ‘kalah’!

        Hahahahaha!!! Not my students, private candidates and most of them grown working adults. Bet they just wanted to try their luck – went to sit for the exam without studying.

  11. I hope I will not go crazy this time next year!! No matter what is being opined about grades, it is still undeniable that excellent grades open more doors.

    My mum used to nag this: you get mediocre results, the schools choose you, you get excellent results then you get to choose schools, all other things being equal. Now a good tertiary education will set the family back AT LEAST RM500K for a basic arts/humanities/science degree. Scholarships enter the playing field, and fortunately some actually select their scholars based on the interviews as well. To get selected for an interview..the number of As (hopefully on A+s from now) will still be all-important. How else can they screen for academic scholarships? I came across a student’s account on how she will be terrified if she’s asked about sports in ECA – she apparently played netball in her scholarship application, but in reality, she played once (introductory), and spent the rest of the year learning netball rules in class!! At least she was honest eh?

    Unfortunately, that is the case…and in the end, what do we get? More and more excellent students…and more and more mediocre doctors or worse! You have a post on that on Facebook… And let’s not start about the co-curricular activities, I have a lot of stories to tell as well…

    1. Yes, the more I read, the more appalled I got. No wonder that doctor (am guessing is a houseman) couldn’t even intubate my late father, and my mum knew she was doing it wrong. However he passed on because he was called, so correctly intubated or not, he would have left. The fact still remains that the doctor did not know how to intubate, and I see nurses practicing this on dummies in a private hospital. What kind of clinical training (if any) did these medical students do in medical schools?

      I have a lot of stories too in the case of my mum but the classic one that I can never forget was when I sent Ma-kor during her dying hours to the hospital…and the ER doctor had a long check-list to complete…and he asked me, “Does she still have her period?” I was stunned but I did manage to reply, “Doctor, she is over 80 years old…” I rest my case.

      P.S. Sometimes, these old experienced nurses, despite their lack of a university degree, know more than the doctors! Like when my daughter had German measles…and the doctor had her quarantined for dengue fever! All the senior nurses who dropped by to visit shook their heads and said, “German measles lah! What dengue?”

      1. LOL!!!! Definitely went through rote-learning, that one!

        Also very kulit-fied…if you get what I mean!

    2. Eh, tell more of those stories lar…Seem like this kind of post fetches quite a lot of comments also leh

      Not bad, eh? 28 already so far… Somebody should try doing the same thing! LOL!!! 😀

      1. The one who attended to my dad was also very kulit-fied!! All these kulit-fications…no wonder all the sultans seek medical treatment in Singapore!!

        I refrain from making any further comment. I know, you know…everybody knows.

    3. I just read the British Medical Journal magazine in the doctors’ restroom just now, and it says that more and more UK universities are employing the non-cognitive method during the medical school admission interview. For instance, they will ask the student to explain how would they tell a neighbour when they have run over his/her cat/ explain without using your hands how you tie your shoelaces. Coz it’s the personality and attitude towards work that matter more in long-term performance than exam results. gosh! Malaysia Education ministry never stop entertaining us with their various ideas to ‘improve’ education.

      Yup! I agree with you that it’s the personality and attitude…and no string of degrees can make up for that! Well, if you want to blame the ministry, you can blame them for their stupidity….in giving in to the people’s demands, in trying to impress and butter up the rakyat – in the hope of getting votes in the next election. They should get the best to work in the development of the national curriculum, the implementation of exams and all that…and stand by what the experts say should be done. But then again, the “experts” they rope into those sections based on “certain specific considerations” – I really wonder!

      1. oh regarding kulit-fied doctors, am not too sure about the teaching standard in Msia but I think msia graduate doctors are more bookworm-ish than having clinical experience. They know a lot of things in their head, but put them in a clinical setting and they don’t know how to apply. One of my friends who just graduated as a doctor in Msia told me that he doesn’t have to get signed off for intubating patients! he said it’s up to them whether they want to experience doing it or not as a med student, whereas in UK, we have to get intubation done and signed off by a med doctor. Hvg said that, intubation is actually not routinely done by junior doctors here in UK, it’s usually performed by trained anaesthetists

        And the doctors here claim that they are better as they get to more practical stuff while overseas, they’re not allowed to do this or that for fear of being sued should things go wrong… But in the general public’s eyes, overseas…anytime better than local! That’s the general mentality…and if we look at some public unis and colleges here…and the lecturers, the facilities, the admin that they have, I am not surprised, not at all!

  12. I don’t have a string of As and look at me now, I’m doing okay, right?

    I still think that the emphasis on how many As you got in school is only a storm in the teacup because at the end of the day, it is how you end up is what really matters because life actually started once you step out of school and into the harsh and ugly world out there.

    That so-called best Kuching girl so proud being called a photocopy machine. THAT’S what the new breed is all about. Photocopy machine in training since school. Once stepped into working world, they die an instant death, literally.

    Photocopy machine? I didn’t see that! But then I did not bother to pay much attention to those reports glorifying those so-called excellent results in the exams.

    1. I agree with you about the “photocopy machine”. We are actually not studying anything, but we are just memorizing all the things in a bunch of books. We actually don’t get anything from memorizing. When we are asked about the same question after a few months, we forget about everything. The correct way of studying is to understand the whole concept of the subject, and NOT being a dumb photocopy machine.

      That was exactly what I said in my reply to an earlier comment. It’s all about rote-learning…drill…and drill…and drill… Those in whose heads the stuff could stick longer would excel in exams…but after a couple of months, they could not remember a thing. I studied this when I was in school: Hcl + CaCo3 = ? and when I asked the Form 4 students, mostly straight As, they could not tell me that that was in connection with the production of carbon dioxide…and they had the nerve to tell me that they studied that long ago! Well, I studied that some 30-40 years ago…and I definitely was no star student when it came to Science and Maths – bottom of the class!

    2. The girl who topped this year’s SPM? If you meant her, I was told by someone who knows her that she is an all-rounder, very active in extra-curricular activities, not a bookworm. I think they meant “photographic” memory..LOL!

      Yup! THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!!! If I were a reporter interviewing her and she said she was a photocopy machine, I would faint! A slap in the face of the whole Education system, the teachers, the school, everybody...

    3. The ‘photocopy machine’ girl news:

      Wrong impression liao. Habis! Like you said, a slap in the face for the whole Education system. That’s what I initially thought also when I read the news and almost fainted. LOL!

      Oh! The friends call her the photocopy machine! Well, the correct term should be a photographic memory. That certainly says a lot about the way English is going these days. I would think a photocopy machine would refer to rote-learning which is really the pits where education is concerned!

  13. I am utterly disappointed with the new grading system and the mindset of some parents. I am 16, studying in Form 4 in the Science stream, and I have to say, the education system seems to make us boxed in our school, tuition centers and home. We do not have much time to enjoy as what we did in Form 3. The school forces us to study 10 subjects, and that is no easy subject. Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics are just some of the subjects that almost all students failed in the school examination. When we return home with the e-report slip, we get a bash from our parents for not performing up to their expectations. And when SPM arrives, everyone will start asking about how many A’s I’ve obtained.

    And when we start working, no one will ask how is our results in the public examination, but how good we are in doing the job.

    Screwed up education. I wonder what will happen if the next generation starts schooling.

    Many parents plan everything for their kids – non-negotiable. Ideally, parents should look at their child’s weaknesses – maybe they are not cut out for the science stream and would do better in arts. They should also discuss the child’s aspirations with him/her…and see what subjects he/she should focus on. Extra tuition may help if the child is weak at those subjects. If that fails, perhaps they should look at alternatives. When I was teaching, I used to do that for the students…and many were delighted with the outcome. But there were cases where the parents would not budge and the kids had to stick around…and suffer.

    The sad thing is that parents push the children to school…and round them up to tuitions centres…and they expect miracles to happen. Some are not even bothered which teacher or tuition centre they send their child to – as long as they know they’re there (and sometimes they’re not!)…and out of mischief…or not sleep in or watching tv at home.

    1. Well Aaron, you unfortunately with you a few thousand other fourth formers are stuck in the system, and harsh as it may sound, suck it up? I know Form 4 is a big leap from Form 3 (also blame education system), but I think it does get better as the year advances. Regarding tuitions, I suppose it’s part and parcel of being a student these days. However, if you can do some subjects on your own, then maybe you can give those a miss.

      My daughter went for BM and Maths tuition towards the end of Form 3 just for a bit of polishing before the actual exam. Other than that, I coached her myself all through her years in primary and secondary school – even though I’m quite hopeless at Maths and Science myself. I could tell that Science and Maths were not among her strengths but she insisted on going to the science stream in Form 4…and so she did.

      When she came home the first day, she said that she wanted to go for tuition for some subjects…so I got her registered and she went the following afternoon. The 3rd day, she woke up crying saying that she wanted to stop school…and when I asked her whether it was because she could not cope, she said yes…and she agreed to go to the arts stream. She managed to get A1 in all her subjects in the SPM the following year except for Literature in English – but that’s another story altogether. And she only told me recently that when she went to the tuition class, the teacher was teaching the lesson in Chinese (Mandarin) which was Greek to her!

  14. I found out that most of the tuition centers here in Sibu teaches most of the lesson in Chinese (Foochow and Mandarin), even the teachers teach English in Chinese. That’s why my parents are quite reluctant to send me for tuition classes. And, our school session starts at 7a.m and it ends at 2p.m. So, for us to attend tuition classes is quite tiring and our homeworks are as high as Mount Everest!

    You haven’t had teachers teaching their subjects in Mandarin in your class? You’re very lucky then! What more to say at the tuition centres! My nephew (not in Sibu) loves his English tuition teacher – because she can speak Chinese! I guess that means Mandarin! And maybe I should post about homework one of these days… That should be an interesting topic for discussion – quantity vs quality!

  15. getting straight As is the pride of the parents and the will be in the newspaper – even the TV…
    I know a friend – she bought Sin Chiew/See Hua/United.even Borneo Post the next day after the results are out-her child got all the As and and she was there when the reporters are clicking away-she might be in the photo–haha–see-ai-been.

    There – the bottom line! It all boils down to – the parents!!! And their expectations!

  16. Oh..those grading looks familiar…hahha..during my SPM year but that time no A+ wor, got A1 and A2.

    I also dun understand why they want to divide it to so many categories..

    Yup…before it was Grade1 to 9, and 9 was a fail. Never mind what they call it – what’s more important is the quality behind the grade, be it A1 or A+.

    1. I tink, Mommy ling is almost my age. My time the grading was A1 and A2 as well. And I get an 8 for my maths, and a 9 for add maths and physics. I was very bad at subjects that’s related to calculations. I didn’t do well in SPM. 😦 I just scored my fav subjects-cuz learn them from the bottom of my heart. I’m ISA wan. Ikut Suka Aku. Subjects that I like, I’ll learn them well and score, those I dun like… flunk! Teachers either love me, or hate me. I was very famous in school for being bad in maths, and good in English and Bio.

      Got As for English, Bio, Chemistry, BM and History. The rest, so so. 😦 Well, serve me right. i deserve those, cuz each time the maths teacher came into the class, I’ll dropped off to sleep. Very jahat back then. Dun like maths, dun do homework as well(dunno how to do ma…all get wrong answer, so gv up!), teachers oso sick of nagging me. 😦 I dunno what’s wrong wif me, but I found that the lessons were uninteresting, and I can automatically fall asleep during math class. 😦 (Maybe horr, now I should try doing some maths each time I cannot sleep. good sleeping pills!)

      LMAO…my dad wanted to strangle me back then for flunking my maths. Poor man was so disappointed. 😦 He wanted me to follow his footsteps, good in maths and be an engineer or something, but seeing now I’m helping my husband with his little business, he dun dare say my maths bad d. LMAO…cuz pricing, quotations, account, everything, all I help him do wan, and though my husband and I dun have qualification in business studies and whatnot, we do quite well, enough to feed the family. Not rich, but cukup makan. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

      I am not quite sure what’s wrong with me…I must be the kind who learn as I go. I know nothing about accounting stuff. Didn’t even take that subject in school, but dealing with accounts is what I do for my hubby’s business at the moment.

      You know, Cikgu… I have a friend who was a straight A student in school. UPSR, PMR, SPM, all get straight A. Good student. Teachers adore her. But, she couldn’t handle failure very well, and didn’t do very well in office. Gives up easily when it comes to dealing office politics and whatnot. So I guess…one would have to be street smart too. Life is just like playing a piano. First you play by the rules, then after that, forget all the rules, and play by heart. 😀

      See! You slept all the time in school…and now you cannot sleep anymore! Muahahahahaha!!!! I’m hopeless at Maths. If I had been in the science stream, I would have failed…BIG time! Looks like you’re more into study subjects – arts stream material. Usually not good at Maths, Add Maths and Physics…and love Literature and language.

      1. =.= Guilty as charged. Slept throughout most of my maths class in school. Hahahaha…really was hopeless. What can I do? They sumbat-ed me into science stream, and I was sort of happy over there, cuz I love Biology and Chemistry. Did well in those subjects as well, never get anything beyond B for Bio and Chemistry, always A or B only, and this somehow gave teachers mixed feelings about me in Science Stream. Not quite sure whether to kick me out of let me stay. In the end, they let me stay… lol… cuz my Chemistry and Biology teachers fiercely wanted me in science stream. *faint*. But yes… I guess I am an Art stream material. Good at those subjects that needed to be studied and understand, not use logic to solve probs. =.=

        One thing they should do is to counsel and advise students – looking at their strengths, what subjects they should take based on what they provide in the school – either in the arts or science stream. Then they can advise them to take subjects on their own – either through self home-study or going for tuition or by persuading a teacher to spend some time to guide them. When I was teaching, I taught Literature in English to interested students outside school hours and I did not charge them a single sen – all out of love, plus passion for the subject!

  17. My daddy used to tell me that it’s not the end of the world if one doesn’t get straight As. I knew he was quite disappointed with me and my sister…He never did expected loads of As from us, but he had somehow expected us to follow his footsteps and get good grades in maths.

    Kesian him, both anak oso hopeless in maths… but in the end, when me and sis barely passed our maths in the end, he told both of us that it duzzin matter. As long as we are good at counting money, we’ll survive the world. LOL. He never told us we’re useless for not living up to his expectation… which is good, else, i would end up like the student you mentioned as well, heartbroken as the mum told her she’s useless.

    Well, I am afraid she’s not the only one – there are many like that, insensitive to their children’s feelings, pushing them to the limit and driving them to the verge of insanity. When they end up with a nervous breakdown and crack up and become a vegetable, how I would love to tell the parent in the face “There! Now where has all that got you now?”

  18. lookin back i don’t think A1 or A2, or even B4 matters. like u said, at the end of the day, it’s how u turn out to be as a prim and proper being. if u let the boat sail away and do nothing, then just too bad. but if you’re willing to swim after it, i’d say that person won’t turn out to be that bad after all.

    eh i remember last time, got one teacher in my school (really cant remember his/her name), told me that im not fit to be in science class. suggested that i transfer to arts. lol. was quite upset back then, but now i can only laugh.

    And you ended up doing accounting which is actually for arts stream students but I think science stream students have an edge. Whatever it is, as long as one gets to live his dream, make it real…and is happy – that is the most important.

  19. It is difficult to maintain a high grade especially when the standards are too high.

    To be honest I am only an average student but I guess I’m kinda lucky because I could have had a mental break down and not finish school after trying to maintain high rankings like that one student in your particular story… tsk3.

    Sigh… sour-graping is relieving. hahaha!

    No worries! I was not ace student myself – just an average one or even worse! But I managed to scrape through my exams…and graduate from college to become a teacher and I would not say that I fared too badly in my profession, not at all. If I may blow my horn, I think I was much better than many others with their string of degrees, Masters and PhDs included!

  20. Sigh~! Wonder why our goverment didn’t put much effort in developing “soft skills” rather than putting pressure on the academic achievement, yet failed to maintain a good standard among the students(not to mention international standard… haha)!

    Btw, I reckon you are such a good counselor… else the girl’s life would be “colder than water” (Cantonese say)! 😉

    I always advised my students – what would best for them and if the parents were willing to come (Most don’t!!!), I would explain to them too, but the parents would have the last say. After all, they’re their children! Soft skills? Don’t we have the vocational and technical schools and colleges? Who would tell their kids not to go to those as they’re for stupid students? And they would rather stay in the “normal” school…and rot and drop out in the end…

  21. sometimes, parents tend to put their hopes on their children to become what they can’t. Thus carved out the pathway for their children without giving them the right to choose what they really interested in. is saddening. for them science stream is the only stream that matter. for me, i think one should have the right to choose what they are happy to deal with then only they can excel. if one is not happy then how are they going to do well? just for the sake of ‘powdering up’ their own face thus jeopardizing their children future?

    i used to be science stream student in form 4 but my maths is hopeless. figures and i have no chemistry. when i changed art stream in form 5, i’m so much happier and did pretty quite well but still flunked my math. once, the math teacher asked one classmate who is the top 3 in the class and when he found out i’m one of the top 3 he gave me this disbelief look. i guess he thinks that i’m must be stupider than how i look like. sigh. the point is i don’t think he should be stereotyping how well a student would be just by one subject.

    sometimes, parents neglected their responsibility to guide their children. they often just think that schooling and tuition will be just enough for them. all they have to learn is from the text. the other? not-so-important. thus resulting those book smart that ain’t street smart. just take the recent sex education issue for example. most of the time, when some thing happens like ‘a-shot-gun’ marriage. parents would scold their children how come they are so stupid to involve in this kind of thing? or they blame the school for not doing enough in sculpting their morality. or blame the mass media for having so many bad influences entertainment for the children. but how often were they brush off the topic when their own children brings up the topic in their puberty stage?

    parents had been too blinded by the straight As mirage that one will achieve greatness when one pull out a perfect certificate. all they know is academic. there is more in life than academic only. failure is a process towards greatness. when parents ‘shot’ down their children when their children failed, they should be ashamed of themselves. and we as a society should stop propagandize that failure is a bad thing, your-world-is-ending sort of thing.

    just my 2-cents.

    Very good points you have raised there. You were one of those that I encouraged to go to the arts stream, weren’t you? I was teaching you English in Form 4 – your language was bad but I was impressed by your story based on the helicopter crash incident. Such creativity! And wow!!! How you have improved in the language! Thumbs up, Jun! Ya…some parents are blinded by their ambition, their self-gratification and there is none so blind as he/she who will not see…and I don’t think it is out of ignorance – they just refuse to accept that their own flesh and blood cannot be better than others. I always tell my daughter that it is ok to fail – there are always other roads to choose, and there is no need to get all stressed out for excellent results – at the end of the day, it is just a piece of paper and what you will become in your profession depends on who you are, your attitude and all.

  22. I also dont understand why the need of chasing all A’s.Maybe the parents wants “face”. As long as the child grow up okay and can cari makan enough la…

    Ya…it’s more often than not…all about face, and not what’s good for the children! And not all kids are super intelligent. Sometimes just a Kancil…and they expect them to race in the F1 Grand Prix!

  23. At the end of the day,most parents would want the same goals for their kids,but pushing them beyond is just extremely sad and can do more harm than good to them…..:(

    And when they rebel…either subtly or even openly, the parents just cannot see where they’ve gone wrong and will ask why – Why have you done this to me/us? Also have lots of stories along this line…

    1. I suppose it’s also important to guide them, and point them to examples, although Bill Gates is not quite a good example to point at…LOL! (I read about how he spent thousands of hours in a computer lab, but that’s because he loved it!). Pressure aside, kids must also learn to strive and maximise their potential. I know there are many students (have been reading many many forums) who regretted that they should have studied harder, put in more effort to get better grades.

      I tend to nag (with very good reasons!!), but I think we have a good balance:- mum says “put more effort, spend a bit more time doing form 4 revision”; dad says “if you’re tired go to sleep!” (!!??).With that offer, he will definitely be exhausted!

      Of course there are many who fool around, while their time away and can definitely do better with a little bit more effort but those are not in the least concerned with what they get – and should be nagged to death! Hahahahaha!!! Mine’s the opposite. Kept telling her – tired already, late already, go to sleep…relax, no need to study so hard!

  24. I still like the old system. And I agree with you. Just raise the bar for A1 and save all the hassle of grading A+ or A-!!!

    Dunno how their minds function! Make it seem like something so innovative, so grand! I really don’t think much of it at all.

  25. Should just use A, B, C……not + or – and they better increase the standard of our education. Putting + or – just to increase the count of students with straight As? , I think it is not right.
    Agree, it is better to be an all rounder than someone who is just good in studies!

    No need to look too far – just look at the graduate teachers in one school. A sprinkling of good ones and the erst, all good-for-nothing and lazy like hell! Many old, experienced non-grad teachers are a lot better!

  26. An A without a + form super massive difference for the parents though

    The over-ambitious kiasu ones who know the difference – but to the majority, an A is an A. They do not even know the grading system, I’m sure.

    1. Not only the over-ambitious kiasu parents know the difference – the scholarship givers, and good universities know too. So unfortunately, all things being equal, the A+ student will get the scholarship/accepted. This is the reality.

      Not necessarily… Mel did apply but didn’t get it and she wasn’t really interested in the courses offered anyway, but at least she got something else. A student of mine too…and he got something else as well, now in Australia. And if you’re applying for medic and they ask you, “What do you think of alternative herbal medicine?” and you reply, “No, it’s not good. Only western medicine is good,” and the interviewer retort, “No? The whole world is turning to alternative medicine, even the western countries,’ and you are stumped – blank look on face….no matter how many A pluses you have, I don’t think you would get it – but of course, there are those “other considerations”.

      1. That’s why I said, “all things being equal”…and one never really knows the exact reason for not securing a scholarship, although “kulit-fication” speaks volumes. hehe.

        Of course if two kids (let’s say both are chinese) with the same exact results and CCAs gets selected for the medic interviews you offered as an example, and one said “no, its not good, only western medicine is good”, while the other gives a more open-minded answer, and shows better communication skills, one doesn’t need to be a genius to know the outcome of that interview!.

        By the way, which scholarships did Mel apply for?

        Just JPA, matriculation – both she was not really keen on and the teacher training (overseas)…and she got the latter. These days, they still offer the TESOL degree course but no more overseas stint – no money liao!!! One thing about being an arts students, very limited opportunities when it comes to applying for these things… Btw, these days, if you’re applying for medic, they ask you to go for a 1-week attachment at a government hospital first – help tend to patients, watch doctors and nurses at work, spend time in mortuary etc… If you can survive that, then MAYBE they will call you for an interview…

  27. Have to agree with you about limited opportunities for arts courses, which is a shame, really. I read of one girl who got accepted for accounting course under JPA, went to the UK, and then decided that was not her thing, and is now trying to apply for Liberal Arts in the US.

    Re the medic..ya I came across a few postings from students…some gagged at the “rumah mayat”…LOL!

    Some only lasted a day… Hahahahahaha!!!! I think for JPA, Mel applied for accounting (no other choice)…but she hated accounts and econs – even though she got A1 for the subjects!!! Probably would be miserable if she had got it!

  28. I’m quite sure Gerrie’s son will also gag at the rumah mayat….hehehe!

    Going into medic, is he? Can get him to slaughter chicken and clean fish in the meantime. LOL!!!

    1. There’s fantasy, and then there’s reality. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

      Btw, when the results come out and you want to apply for all the scholarships available (just apply – who knows?)…you have to do it online, some you may need to go and buy the PIN number from the post office…and not much time is given, so have to act fast…the lines may all be jammed, hard to go in, etc etc etc…. You may need to be around when the time comes.

      1. Haha…the running around will only depend on the quality of the letter on the result slip, right? Thanks for the heads up though.
        Yes I noticed applications all online now. He did one up for ASEAN earlier this week, even had to put photo on the online application, very efficient one, and when you send SG MOE an email, they reply within 24 hours, and it was a weekend! But pressure cooker no less, in that island republic.

        Yes, must be prepared to work very hard there.

  29. i agree with you – just increase the bar for 1A & forget about A+ or A-. however, i suspect a more sinister (for want of a better word) agenda on the part of the MOE. just can’t put a finger to it, yet.

    Pulling wool over people’s eyes – all the hoo ha, making it seem like a big deal…when actually, it’s not much of anything!

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