Netizens provide personal anecdotes on how PSLE scores don’t necessarily determine your future

The pressures of getting high scores in any national examinations are especially intense in a paper-chasing environment like Singapore’s. Getting amazing digits in Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), ‘O’ Levels, ‘N’ Levels, ‘A’ Levels and the like has been drilled into students’ heads since young, where rote academic excellence is valued more than being well-rounded. 

Such was the fate of local primary school students who recently received their PSLE results. Kiasu parents bombed the Kiasu Parents website (to the point of the site crashing) to check aggregate scores and compare academic grades of their children. TODAY reports that co-founder Soon Lee Yong herself had her own son collecting his PSLE results yesterday.

It was sad though. Instead of being an encouraging parent, she chided her son by telling him he wasn’t getting a Nintendo DS for scoring 229 — she had promised to buy him the handheld console if he received 250. The mother expressed disappointment instead of the support he needed (as far as we know from TODAY‘s article), and that will no doubt be a painful memory internalised in the child’s psyche. 

The assumption that low scores = shitty future is inherently wrong, of course, and it shouldn’t be what we teach our children. Khairudin Aljunied believes strongly against these simplistic notions, and as such, he got the ball rolling in getting adults to share their PSLE scores and what they’re doing for a living. Proving that mere numbers aren’t a defining characteristic, Khairudin himself got 221 for his PSLE. He’s now an Associate Professor in a university.  

Many others chimed in with anecdotes that should help quell the fears of kiasu parents and fearful students who might have not scored high PSLE scores. 

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