Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UPSR—The First Hurdle

Elsewhere in this blog, I've posted a number of articles about the Malaysian education system. It's been about 37 years ago since the time when I sat for my Primary 6 national exams. I have long forgotten what it was like in my day. I was for the most part a lazy kid who hardly ever did my homeworks; and I was famous for being the black sheep of the class. I have no idea how I passed my exams, but somehow I just did.

Almost 4 decades later, there have been several changes in the system, and I have lost track of what the exams are all about. These days the Primary 6 exams is known as the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR). This morning, JJ went to her school to collect her results for the UPSR, and those of you who're not keen to read all the way to the end of this post, let me just tell you that, contrary to popular prediction, JJ did not get straight "A"s. 

But I'm sure many of you can guess that I'm not in the least worried or disappointed about it! If JJ can pass her exams with decent results and progress to the next level, I'm OK with that; and if she can achieve anything better, well then that's a bonus! I've seen that in many, many cases, paper qualifications don't really mean much in the job market. Out there in the real world, one needs a different kind of survival skill to do well, and no amount of paper qualifications can help. I just need the paper qualifications to help JJ to open doors; and once she steps through those doors, all those paper qualifications mean very little!

But this post is not really about JJ and the UPSR; rather it's about Mia. You see, Mia has been somewhat obsessed with JJ's performance in her studies since the first day she set foot in school. If JJ did badly in a school test, Mia would suffer the torment akin to a bullet wound. Seeing Mia has in fact been my frequent source of entertainment. If only the school would allow Mia to sit beside JJ during the exams, I'm sure Mia would be there! But alas, our education system hasn't reached that level of ridiculousness yet.

Over the last few days leading up to the UPSR results, Mia tried so very hard to act cool. But oh how she failed miserably! After over 20 years of marriage, I can read her like reading the dictionary, although admittedly I still can't fully understand the thought process sometimes. Then again, women are not meant to be understood, if you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, today Mia had an urgent legal matter she had to deal with at the office, and there was absolutely no way she could escape. She was therefore unable to go personally with JJ to her school to collect the UPSR results. So she sent her sister to do it for her instead. Only god knows how Mia was able to focus on her work in the office while all the time dealing with the suspense of wanting to know JJ's results. I caught myself smiling to myself just thinking of what Mia must be going through. I felt like calling my sister-in-law to tell her to take her time, please.

Nevertheless, like all fun stuff, the suspense had to end—Jackie duly brought JJ to her school. To be honest, I don't quite understand the present format of the UPSR. All I know is that everybody is obsessed with counting how many "A"s the students can get. I'm a little confused with the number of subjects and which are the ones that really matter. 

Well, as I said earlier, JJ did not achieve straight "A"s for her UPSR; she scored a "C" for "BAHASA CINA - PEMAHAMAN", and a "B" for "BAHASA CINA - PENULISAN"; and "A" each for all the other subjects. Oh yes, there is also something under the heading of "PENTAKSIRAN KERJA AMALI" for which JJ scored a "1". I have no clue what that "1" is all about. Although not a straight "A"s, I want to say that I'm a happy daddy anyway. All I want from JJ is for her to try her best.

So now that JJ has passed her first hurdle, she progresses to Form 1 in Lok Yuk next year. The plan is to drop Chinese so that she has a bit more time for the other subjects, and perhaps start to indulge in some sports. Still a long way to go and many hurdles ahead—Mia still has many, many years of sleepless nights to come, worrying about JJ's school exams. I guess some things will never change...

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