Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Here and There, with some thoughts on exam results and what they don't mean

Be careful what you write, it may come true? Kinda funny... one of Stephen King's "angles" in the Dark Tower series was that what he wrote about existed in a different dimension. So... check out something that so closely resembles his "lobstrosities" of DT2, it's freaky! (Thanx to NeedCoffee for the link!)

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Overheard on the radio recently:

1. "... Saddam Hussein's trial moved into a new face today ..."

2. "... featuring music from Shania Twine ..."

#1 reminds me once, a loooooong time ago, on the English news, where someone with totally Malay-pronunciation was covering an event called "The Faces of Islam" ... unfortunately, the guy's pronunciation / enunciation was SO BAD it came out sounding like "The Feces of Islam"!

Things have improved a lot... but I do wish the current standards would get just a few notches higher. There's so much mis-pronunciation, emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble, that just makes me cringe.

Anyone producing advertisements for radio / voice-overs / looking for on-air personalities? Please consider me!

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The SPM results were released yesterday. This set of exams is taken at the end of Form 5, and is equivalent (haahahaha) to the British "O" Levels.

A lot depends on these results: entry into university; scholarship opportunities, etc etc. To some people, perhaps TOO MUCH depends on "good" results? Some people like Ms M. Valsala Menon, who suffered injuries to her arms and had her tongue severed as a result of "a fall from the third floor of the school building".

Upset girl falls from building

KANGAR: Amid the excitement of getting the SPM results, teachers and students of the SMK Perlis here were stunned when they heard that an 18-year-old girl had fallen three floors from the school building.

M. Valsala Menon suffered injuries to her arms and her tongue was severed.

The school authorities called an ambulance, which rushed her to the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital after the 10.30am incident yesterday. Her condition was reported to be stable.

A close friend, S. Kalaiselvi, said she had gone to Valsala’s home in Taman Kemajuan to give her a lift to school on her motorcycle about an hour earlier.

She said Valsala looked upset when she saw her results.

“I knew she did not do well in two or three subjects. I told her to stay awhile at the canteen while I went to collect my school-leaving certificate,” Kalaiselvi said.

“When I returned, she was missing. I quickly called other friends to look for her and I went round to search on my motorcycle.

“When I was at the back gate, I saw Valsala at the edge of a corridor on the third floor. Moments later she fell.”

Valsala’s father Moorgan Menon, 45, a bus conductor, said that before the incident his daughter had been worried about how she would fare in the SPM.

“We had been telling her not to worry about the results,” he said, adding that he has yet to see her results.

Contacted in Kuala Lumpur and told about the incident, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein appeared upset.

“Why? Why?” he asked.

“All parents, teachers and students must learn from this,” he told The Star.

It's shocking, isn't it? So young, and yet already thinking her life is not worth living, all because of some exam results....
Ms Valsala, my heart goes out to you... I just hope you can realise that there is so much more to life than getting good results in an exam.

Good results don't guarantee success, neither do poor results guarantee a life of misery and failure.

So much depends on other stuff like your attitude, your ability to adapt to new things, your perspective, your vision... your resilience in the face of adversity...

Not just on that one friggin piece of paper!
(tears pricked my eyes as I wrote that last line)

... don't even know how "poor" her poor results were ...

after all, human beings are such complex, irrational creatures... you have anorexics who see themselves as fat even tho they are nothing but skin and bones... ... one man's meat is another man's poison ... ... one person's "poor SPM results" could be another person's beyond expectations excellent results!

... and even if they WERE "poor" ... I'm sure there are plenty of options open, whether the results were still good enough to get a place in a local university or not, or consider re-sitting the subjects she didn't do well in...

... and WHY were they poor, anyway? I know of many people who didn't do that well, not because they were "stupid" or "failures", but because of the way the subjects are taught in school - too much telling, no understanding or learning.... personality clashes with the teachers ... learning styles that are not recognised ... students with a "science" aptitude stuck in the Arts stream, or vice versa ...

... but you know what??? I just have to reiterate.... there is so much more to life than doing well in one exam ... sure, life may be slightly easier if you did well, but, ultimately, you get out of life what you put in it.

Ms Valsala, I hope will be able to understand that your outlook on life will have more influence on your future than these exam results. Please believe in yourself.

(Added @ 2am: maverick has an excellent overview of the whole SPM scene, do check it out here)


  1. It's shocking how much emphasis is put on exam grades and how much stress it places on kids.

    I recently worked with a lot of young people and tried to find a nice way, instead of grabbing them and yelling, to say that THEY REALLY AREN'T WORTH THE PAPER THEY ARE WRITTEN ON! Trust me... I've been there and got the grey hairs to prove it :o)


    PS Glad you liked the snow pics


  2. LOL! So true, a lot of radio announcers and tv newscasters are guilty of mispronunciation at times.

    As for that young girl...tsk tsk. Still young and already giving up. I wonder how'd she react in the 'real' world with an attitude like that.... :-(


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