Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Have you ever walked in the rain?

Hello people in the internet,

Is the sun shining where you live? Because in Singapore it's been raining for a freaking month already. I'm not a morning person. And it does get a little sunny in the morning. Before the big rain comes. So being "not a morning person", it's been pretty gloomy for me.

So let's see what's been happening. Nothing much. KIDDING.

Last Thursday, a day of reckoning for all 12 year olds in Singapore. Yes sir, the day, MOE (Ministry of Education) released the PSLE (Primary school leaving examination) results. As you may know, my younger child is 12 this year and like all her peers, she's had a very stressful year. We cannot escape the school system here. PSLE is really just an exam to tabulate a score and you use this score to gain entry into a secondary school. Simple? Well, it would be if there are no cut-off points to secondary schools. It would be simple if every secondary school is given the same amount of funds. It would be simple if the top schools don't hog the good teachers. PSLE is given far more importance than it should especially when MOE helps to create a class system where you either get into an elite secondary school or you don't.

Ah, the ranting again. Never mind. You have no power to change the system. Neither do I. So we just make the best of what we have.

You could say we started waiting for the PSLE result from the moment my girl was born. Because every thing you do from the moment she was born was to ensure she is equipped with the skills to pass this darn PSLE well enough so she does not get labelled "Normal" (ironic, I know) and end up doing 5 years of secondary school instead of the "Express" course of 4 years. This year 62.9% are eligible for the Express course. So last Thursday was a day of sorrow for about 37% which in raw figures is about 15,500 students.

When my girl was in K1, she often asked me why her classmates were way ahead of her in academics. At first I told her it was because she was born in the last quarter of the year and her classmates were older than her by a few months. Once we went to a classmate's home and I saw the little girl take out a thick book and start writing feverishly. It took her an hour. After she was done, she telephoned her mother at work to tell her she had finished her Math and she could play. I took a look at the Math and was shocked she could do mathematics meant for a child 2 years older. Man! If every parent prepared their kid like this one, I knew I was finished. Still, I did not want to hot-house my kid. Okay, who am I kidding? I couldn't hot-house my kid even if I wanted to. Firstly, I have no patience. Secondly, I don't believe in it. Thirdly, it's way too much work. Being a parent of 2 kids is no picnic already without adding on these unrealistic goals. So I helped my girl learn Math thru' play and hoped that one day she'll catch up with her super classmates.

One day when my girl was in K2, she suddenly saw that she got smarter all on her own. She could count, add, spell and do everything everyone else could. I was relieved but I knew in my heart that the kids of tiger parents are the ones who will come out top.

Academics has always come easier to my son. He was good in Math and that's half the battle won. MOE is notorious for setting god awful Math questions that even ministers could not answer. Yes, make the Minister for Education take the PSLE every year. Math did not come easy to my girl. For years, she survived without going for tuition. But for her final year, I'm afraid I made her go for Math, Science and Chinese tuition classes.

In Singapore, many students attend two schools. One regular school and one after school usually 1 to 1.5 hours per subject.

The last few months before the PSLE, the school teachers went crazy and loaded the kids with too much homework. That plus the extra lessons I had signed her up for really took its toll on my girl. She did not perform well in her preliminary exams set by her school. The purpose of this exam? To help you gauge where you are. I think my girl's bad results helped shake her up a little. The emotional stress? I don't know if the damage is lasting.

On Thursday, we made our way to her primary school. This was a moment my girl had been dreading. She was very sure she had done badly. Her confidence was at zero. She told me I had to read the grades for her.

At the school, we had to endure 45minutes of announcements, top students photo-taking and other inconsiderate photo-taking sessions. When the teachers finally started handing out the results to the students, the principal interrupted once more for a final photo-taking session with so-and-so. Geez. Did everyone have to bear witness to the darn photo session? I wanted to throw a shoe at her. Seriously.

Finally we could continue with the results. Me hubs saw my girl getting her results. Then she went and sit down with her class. She did not look at us. We waited and waited and waited. C'mon. We've been waiting for 12 freaking years for the result. We finally called her on the phone but it was too noisy so she probably did not hear. We decided to squeeze our way thru' the crowd to her. Me hubs gave up squeezing half-way. I was determined and finally caught her attention.

The moment I saw her body language I knew it was good news. She was a different person. She sat straight and was smiling and relaxed. She handed her result slip to me and said excitedly, "I got A star for English!"

The good news? She did well enough in her PSLE to enter 4 years of secondary school. Her grades well exceeded our expectation. The distinction for English was a bonus. Me hubs is claiming genetic credit for it.

Now the next phase of the waiting game begins. Waiting to see which secondary school she gets posted to. We have to pick 6 schools and I believe we have made very smart choices. I hope she gets her first choice because it's easy to get to and the students the school produces is not too bad.


In the midst of all the excitement from getting the results, I suddenly got all nostalgic and I remembered this day which was when my girl was maybe 9 or 10. Now, I come from a family where getting caught in the rain is like a sin. When I became a parent, I became paranoid that a single drop of rain would make my children ill. So we never went anywhere without an umbrella. Once there was a huge gusty rain and we were on our way home. The umbrella really wasn't any help as the rain just lashed on us. As we struggled to hang on to our umbrellas, my girl asked me if she could walk in the rain.

Walk in the rain?

I don't know why but I said yes. So all three of us closed our umbrellas and we walked home in the rain. The rain was really huge giant kind and kept pelting at us. It was really funny. We walked in the puddles and played with the water as we walked home. All these while giggling like crazy because it felt so free.

I never knew walking in the rain could feel so liberating. But it was the one and only time we did it. Much much later we were walking home and it was raining and I suggested to the kids that we walk home in the rain.

Are you kidding? My kids thumbed down the idea.

The moment was over. It was a sweet moment and I will treasure it. Have you ever walked in the rain with your kids?


So the past week I was nervous and out a lot. Not much stuff has been produced for my craft market. I should feel nervous!

This is a small piece of fabric I won in a giveaway. It is so gorgeous. I love it so much. The print looks like antique drawing. I especially dig the morning glory. Unfortunately I don't know the name of the manufacturer and neither does the person I won it from. I've been saving it and saving it and finally I decided to use a tiny bit of it.

Remember this piece of embroidery I found in my stash in September? I must have done the embroidery ages ago and forgotten about it. The style looks very similar to my aunt-in-law's so I'm guessing I was trying to imitate it.

I decided to marry these two - something old with something antique.

What do you think? I'm so in love with the pouch.

I know you're not supposed to praise yourself but I feel I'm so freaking good with drawstring pouches. And I never get tired of making them.

Still on a high from the drawstring rush, I made two more.

I think these are great as gift pouches. Have a great week my friends.

Linked to: Skip to my lou Sumo's Sweet Stuff  Ninth Street Notions  Dittle Dattle  Tea Rose Home


Bethany said...

I love the pouches!!
And that's quite a rigorous bit of academics for such a young person! It made me tired reading it, lol.

tamdoll said...

That's a lot of stress for 12 year olds! And to take after-school classes, too - to prepare! I don't know if I'd want to put my kids through that, I'll bet you're glad she is done with it all.

We have a lot of standardized testing here, and I think teachers spend too much time training towards it, but I'm not even sure what it is for in the younger grades. Just one more year and my oldest will be taking the SATs which are supposed to be for college entry - I'm trying not to think about that one too much.

Your drawstring pouches are great, using the embroidery for one was a great idea.

Yadira said...

I wish your girl all the success she deserves, I know she is going do great. Oh! BTW that drawstring pouch with the embroidery is simply adorable. Have an awesome week!

Chris H said...

I am thrilled to bit that your daughter did so well in her exams.
You sure do come under a lot of pressure in Singapore with the schooling!

Now, that gorgeous wee drawstring pouch with the embroidery and floral fabric.. I WANT IT!
Please tell me how much and what it would cost to send it to me and I will send you the money. OK?
I have always wanted something you have made...as a keepsake, and that wee pouch is perfect.

SIL said...

The PSLE story and bubble gun pic just made me cry! C has really grown up alot this past year.*teary again* so happy for all of you.^^

antmee said...

Well done and congratulations to your daughter. Our high schools place a lot of stress on the children here to decide on a career early and study hard for university as if thats the only important thing in life. They ignore trades and just getting jobs. A lot of teenagers are so stressed out they quit or wag school. They shouldn't pressure kids so much as the score they achieve in high school only lasts three years and then no matter how good they did in high school it means zilch. They all have to sit an adult exam if they later on decide what career they want to do in life and want to enter university.

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