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The 3 digit score - PSLE

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

If you are a parent getting your son’s or daughter’s PSLE results yesterday, you would now be feeling between extremely happy and overjoyed to perhaps, extremely sad or worried and the many parts in between.

I didn’t do well at my PSLE either, some 37 years ago. I sat at McDonald’s at United Square with my late father, wondering what would happen to me. I had a score of 271 and I was going to be in the normal stream. The top PSLE score in 1983 was 420.

My father said nothing as we looked at the results and the posting on the back page, to a school I didn’t even knew existed. I was from St. Michael’s Primary School (now SJIJ) and like every other boy in my school, we all wanted to go to Saint Joseph’s Institution (SJI).

One of my best friends, Leonard Yip sat across the table with his Dad, and as both fathers spoke, I was extremely sad, confused and scared. My father said nothing till we were alone and simply said, just do your best.

Tuan Mong High School (TMHS) would be the best thing for me in Secondary 1. Till this day, I have kept in contact with friends that I had made there in Sec 1. In fact I was inspired to create a Facebook Group for THMS in 2007. THMS, opened the diverse world to me in my sheltered primary school. I was exposed to a co-ed school, many classmates and schoolmates from diverse backgrounds, something I would not see till NIC and later in the Army.

I began to realise that I needed to change, to be clearer of what I really wanted, what my goals were and what I wanted to do with my life. Even then, I knew, I had the power to effect change.

Initially, I was more worried what my friends would think about me; and at 12 years old, when everyone around you is moving in one common direction, you desperately feel that you too want to share and be a part of the same direction too. #FOMO comes to mind here.

I grew up fast in 1984 and made conscious personal choices to change my character, my attitude and my outlook on life. My parents only encouraged me to do my best, to study hard and make the most of the situation I was in.

I did.

My academic journey was far from over, and it wasn’t as smooth after either, but I always knew I was capable of more. Don’t let a score determine your kid’s future.

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
Jim Rohn

Our kids need to know that only, they can make the change. But change requires one fundamental important ingredient, that is help. Help is important, and they may not be able to know how to ask for help, but as parents we should be there to help.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do it every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.”
Barack Obama

As parents we ourselves need help, and if we get over the hurdle of asking for help, we ourselves are on our journey of change. Help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage, bravery and strength.

Our kids are watching us, watching how we behave and are learning from us. Let's lead them so they can help themselves in the future.


Special thanks to my Editor: Sylvia Cheo

Copyright@ The Brilliant Foundation


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