I’ll give a C+ to our School’s Grading system

My eldest daughter have always had difficulties with her studies. She tries very hard and it gets frustrating at times, but somehow “her grades don’t commensurate with her efforts” according to a recent report we got from her school after her Primary 6 form teacher intervened. She is dyslexic.

I started reading up on what being dyslexic really means…

Dyslexia is a type of specific learning difficulty… that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling…
~ das.org.sg

Now it all make sense. Her difficulty in comprehension of questions in her exam papers, her speed in reading, her accuracy in spelling, her grades.

Grades. The universal marker of education. The way to see if the child is good academically at their age. The way to cull applicants into a popular school if there are limited places. A necessary measurement in life in our time and age, in our society, in our capitalistic meritocratic society.

In the same report her verbal cognitive capabilities ranked in the 79% percentile and this meant a lot to me. It clearly showed that there is still a measurement in there that truly showed me the daughter that I know.

I do interview a lot of potential hires at work and there are definitely things I’m looking for. Passion, Integrity, Communication Skills, Thinking on the feet, etc. When meeting new friends, I also automatically look out for things like Sincerity, Empathy, Humour, Coolness and especially Chivalry in guys, etc. There is a huge disparity in what I’m looking out for in a person professionally and socially when compared with what schools are looking for in a student.

These are two different things I agree. I’m not saying that the education system is totally broken, as Singapore teens ranked No. 1 in problem solving in a recently international benchmarking organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), kudos to MOE. But at the same time, I’m also not saying that it’s perfect as well as many kids like mine are still not flourishing in the current institutionalised education system which is really giving their self-esteem and self-worth a daily beating.

The Ministry of Education of Singapore have spelt out the Desired Outcomes of Education across primary, secondary and post secondary education and I quote…

He has a good sense of self-awareness, a sound moral compass, and the necessary skills and knowledge to take on challenges of the future. He is responsible to his family, community and nation. He appreciates the beauty of the world around him, possesses a healthy mind and body, and has a zest for life.

The Key Stage Outcomes of Education according to MOE…

At the end of Primary school, pupils should:

  • be able to distinguish right from wrong
  • know their strengths and areas for growth
  • be able to cooperate, share and care for others
  • have a lively curiosity about things
  • be able to think for and express themselves confidently
  • take pride in their work
  • have healthy habits and an awareness of the arts
  • know and love Singapore

At the end of Secondary school, students should:

  • have moral integrity
  • believe in their abilities and be able to adapt to change
  • be able to work in teams and show empathy for others
  • be creative and have an inquiring mind
  • be able to appreciate diverse views and communicate effectively
  • take responsibility for their own learning
  • enjoy physical activities and appreciate the arts
  • believe in Singapore and understand what matters to Singapore

At the end of Post-Secondary education, students should:

  • have moral courage to stand up for what is right
  • be resilient in the face of adversity
  • be able to collaborate across cultures and be socially responsible
  • be innovative and enterprising
  • be able to think critically and communicate persuasively
  • be purposeful in pursuit of excellence
  • pursue a healthy lifestyle and have an appreciation for aesthetics
  • be proud to be Singaporeans and understand Singapore in relation to the world

These look like great outcomes to desire for our kids, but looking at what they go thru at school daily and how they are graded have made me disillusioned.

How is it possible for Schools to seriously look at and start to emphasise on the desired outcomes listed by MOE? Cooperation, Sharing, Caring, Curiosity, Expression, Confidence, Pride, Awareness of the Arts, loving Singapore like mentioned above? Schools are seriously looking at syllabus as those are the main matrices being look at when deciding if a child is doing well in School.

There are also other factors, things like Discernment, Empathy, Kindness, Digital Communication, Resilience all much needed in our current time and age to be Happy and Successful.

I don’t know the answer, but let me make some suggestions.

1. Grade and include desired outcomes in overall assessment

Make those desired outcomes gradable and make them attribute to the final score. 20% English, 20% Math, 20% Science, 20% Mother Tongue, 20% Cooperation + Sharing + Caring + Curiosity + Expression + Confidence + Pride + Awareness of the Arts + loving Singapore.

I mean that is what MOE is setting out to do right? So let’s do it.

2. Emphasis on Happiness

Success used to be defined as having more money, having a bigger house, having a nice car, having a great lifestyle and that all came down to having more money which is an outcome of having a good education. This is what most parents say and some are still saying.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
~ Albert Schweitzer

The new generation don’t necessary want to buy stuff, they do want to be cool, have new experiences and generally just want to be happy. Don’t we all. So why not let’s do it.

Check out this documentary Children Full of Life and you will know what I mean.

Master an Apprentice

Rather then just going to school, how about some real work life experience as well? Attached a kid to a job from young. Look at Logan LaPlante who shared at Ted about how he is sometimes working at a ski shop and how much good that is doing to him.

I’ll teach my kids photography, filming, how to edit videos, but would be great if I can send them to work somewhere.


I don’t study pedagogy, I’m not a school teacher, I don’t totally know the challenges the schools face. I do however have 3 daughters and I love them loads and want them to be happy.


I would love parents to stop bashing the education system as its made out of many passionate teachers. The institutionalises education system is so massive that it will take years to change and not to mention getting parents to change their mindsets as well and stop “investing” in expensive tuition, but fun stuff for their kids to be better and happy people.

Our education system deserves a C+ in my books, but hey there is definitely room for improvement and I think we just need to work hard at it.

If you have more ideas, lets all list them out. Let’s give our kids the best we can give them.

Singapore Nation Day Songs 2014


Happy 49th Birthday Singapore. This year there will be no official National Day song, but what that means is that there is an opportunity to do a great one next year (SG50) and for anyone to do one this year. So net net, we might get more songs this year. Here are a few Songs that have surfaced and I’ll add more to this post when I find them. Do comment at the bottom if you find any new ones. Thanks.

HOME (National Day Cover) – The Sam Willows x Josh Wei.

Really nice rendition, very nice feel to it and I think it will be another classic by the Sam Willows. Home by Kit Chan is already an all time favourite by Singaporeans and a new arrangement was done back in 2011 accompanied by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

Although I loved Sam Willow’s rendition, it somehow lacked that cliché mass audience touch. Not a bad thing at all as I think they stay true to their style and their fans will love it and they will get new fans from this version of Home I’m sure.

Singapore, We Are Ok! by OWL International

They are back at it again. Their CNY Song earlier this year already crossed a million views and for Nation Day, they seem like doing a series of videos too.

NDP 2014: the mrbrown show: jiak simi

Mr Brown did one last year (which to me was pretty darn good) and this year he did a tasty one too. I think him and his team of musicians were kinda hungry when they did the lyrics. I lol when Bak Chor Mee came out. lol. See all his NDP songs here.

National Day Parade 2014 MV – What Do You See

I loved the original version by Electrico and Mr Brown’s LeKuaSimi was hilarious, but I think this 2014 version added racial diversity, trendy hipster-ness, drone videography, hawker food, education, old people, young people, happy faces and the amazing logo which I think you will agree with me that is somewhat what we all expect. So in a way, it met my expectations.

National Day Parade 2014 MV – We Will Get There & One People, One Nation, One Singapore

This is the official one for 2014. I think its a nice rearrangement. Not too complicated. Not trying too hard.

Spot anymore? Pls share share.

Update: 9 Aug 2014

LORONG BOYS | A Gift to Singapore 2014

Beautiful instrumental by The Lorong Boys who are 5 award-winning Singaporean musicians who are equally comfortable playing on the hallowed stage of the concert hall as they are on the streets of the heartland.

My Singapore 2014 Moments of Love by Lorraine Tan

This is high production quality and backed by lots of sponsors.

Update: 10 Aug 2014

National Day Medley – HubbaBubbas

Really nice upbeat medley with some beatboxing and great vocals.

Unofficial NDP theme song 2014 – There’s no place like home

Audris Ho does a nice original number for Singapore 2014.

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2014

Getting ready for 40km with my brother
Getting ready for 40km with my brother

I’ve been wanting to go for OCBC Cycle for the longest time, but almost every year it clashed with work travels. This year WHOO HOO I managed to go for it. My brother have done it twice and it’s great that we can do this 40km together. He is on a mountain bike and i’m on a foldie.

Slowly inching to the starting point
Slowly inching to the starting point

I’ve been to many mass runs before, but I have to say mass cycling is another thing all together. The logistics of crowd control, safety and tech support is just mind boggling.

People mountain people sea
People mountain people sea

At the starting line, there were endless amount of people when I looked back. I know I have a few friends cycling too, but there is just no way to find them in this crowd.

Starting Point
Starting Point

And here we go. The start of the 40km ride before sunrise.

Nobody like upslopes
Nobody like upslopes

The first huge upslope was of cause the Shears Bridge which followed by a mega downslope.

As everyone knows, this downslope was where the casualty happened. When we were going down, we had our breaks on and if i don’t recall wrongly, there was a few marshallers waving flags and telling everyone to slow down. I have to say this downslope is quite scary, imagine a primary school kid going down the biggest slide on big splash. But am glad everyone around us was going down the slope at a manageable speed.

Pit Stop
Pit Stop

At about the 20km mark, we did a pit stop and am quite impressed by the setup. There was a girl literally kept telling people to dismount from their bikes as they came into the carpark along East Coast Parkway which is now a pit stop. There were people giving out ice cold 100 plus, water, a tech support area for people to fix their bikes, a medical area for people who are injured.


We rested there for about 10mins and moved on.

My Hero
My Hero

When we are heading back, I lost my brother. Apparently he met some of our friends at the top of the Shears bridge while I gave chase to this dad who was riding a fat bike and had his daughter sitting behind. I had to get this photo. Cheap snapbacks At bombsoverdarwin.com.

I also talked to a guy who dressed up in a Captain America outfit. He was helping someone up the Shears Bridge, so I got down on foot too to talk to him. I asked him if the shield was real and asked if I could touch it. After giving it a few good knocks, I was super impressed that it was REAL. It was a solid tough piece of heavy metal. I was then advised by him to go to the doctors go get my hands check as it could be injured after the knock on the shield. LOL. I told him, i’ll go look for a masseuse instead as the only area that is injured is my aching butt.


At the end, I managed to get a photo with the STIG. He actually rode the entire way in his full suit and full face helmet. Must be super hot. RESPECT.

Finally called and met up with our friends, went to have breakfast and headed home.

Clara wants to go too next time
Clara wants to go too next time

Clara was very interested in where I went and wanted to have a good look at the finisher medal. She got her tricycle and told me when she grow up, she will go cycle and get her own medal too. lol. She says the best things.

My Results
My Results

Just checked online today and apparently I did 2:21hrs. I thought I would do something like 3hrs. Anyway…

You can also check out other bloggers who have blogged about this event:

If you come across other blogs or if you’ve blogged about the OCBC Cycle SG 2014, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add to this list.

Till next year and much condolences to the family that lost a loved one at this event.