Sunday, November 20, 2011

The insanity of expectations and validation.

2 years ago, I had my first taste of the insanity of our education system. When Luqman was sitting for his UPSR, it was so stressful for me. Before, during and after. So I learned my lesson. This year, when Hajar sat for her UPSR, I was more sober. And I brainwashed her from the very beginning. On what matters most.

There were so much brouhaha over it that it's so easy to get lost in the madness and forget the whole purpose of education in the first place. It begins right after Year 5 ended. Before they even enter Year 6. Teachers will start talking differently to the kids.

"You can't fool around anymore now'
"Stop fooling around"
"It's UPSR year!!"

Parents will start talking differently too. And grandparents and aunties and uncles too. It's like the only thing that interest the world now is the exam. The UPSR. It's not about you anymore. And it doesn't matter if you are good at something else. It's the number of A's that u get that matter most.

They will start with "How are you?"
Then..."Are you ready for the exam?"
"Sure can get 5As?"
"Do you think you can get 5As??"
"Sure can right???"

So this will go on and on until the result is out in November. Those who get 5A's will be ecstatic. I think to some kids, relief is a more appropriate word. There is so much at stake. The teachers' KPI. The headmaster's KPI. The school's KPI. The parent's reputation. The family's reputation. The minister's KPI. etc etc etc. In the end, it's no longer about the kid.

For those who didn't get 5A's, that will be a different story. During Luqman's time, it was so crazy. Maybe because there were more students in government school. So the drama was more intense. The boys were crying, the girls were sobbing. Like it was doomsday and their whole world just crushed. When I was in school last week to take Hajar's result, it was not so bad. There were still crying and sobbing, but not as bad as what I saw in Luqman's school. Maybe because there were fewer students. Hence less drama.

Then we tried hard to console the vanquished. While our body language says the opposite.

"It's OK. Try harder for your PMR"...(oh puhleezz....another exam???? u kidding??? )
"It's OK. You already tried your best"...(a-ha?? u sure?? after all those brouhahaha??)
"I love u and I am proud of u regardless of your result"...(hmmm....u sure??)

Don't get me wrong. I did some of these crazy things too. When I found out Hajar's result, I started blabbering my pearl of wisdom. It's the mother's knee jerk reaction. I just need to protect my girl. Making sure she's not hurt. Luckily Mr O was there. And every time I opened my mouth, he would nudge me to shut me up. Sometime, silence is better. Just let it be. We should just let the kids digest the whole thing by themselves. And I am just glad Hajar is taking it really well. To everybody's surprise. She even see the comical side of the whole thing.

How Tok Ayah started calling to console her. And then the grandma started calling. And then the uncles started calling too. Coz Tok Ayah made them called. To console her. And promise her they will give her something. Despite the 4A's. And Mr O's outrageous conspiration theory..."Oh u know, maybe they purposely raise the grade for get their message across that Science should be taught in BM? Not English?"

Do you see the insanity of the whole thing?

And sadly the insanity will continue for the rest of their life....first with the exams.....UPSR, PMR, SPM....then it's about the college...what course are they taking?? medicine? law? engineering?? which university are they going? oversea? Ivy league?....then it moves on to where do they work? MNC?? what is their position??.....then it moves on to...."when are u getting married?"..."when r u having kids?"...and it goes on and on...sometimes to something more what brand is your car? or your handbag? or where do u go for holiday? etc etc etc.

Today, Mr Paulo Coelho posted his FB status: "What makes people weak? Their need for validation and recognition."

So true.


  1. Dear God this is so true. I remember the whole intensity of things when I was taking exams. It was like, if you didn't do well, that's the end for you. You're going to end up a hooker. *groan* I can't imagine people doing that to kids. I hope I take a more sober approach when it's my daughter's turn!

    nice blog you have here btw :)

  2. 4As is not that bad tbh