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'A's Obsession


We Malaysians have a 'A' fetish. All these years the student who scores the most straight A1s (sometimes a stray A2 makes no difference like what happened in 2003) in SPM automatically becomes the top student.

Such decisions by the government may seem prudent superficially but after cogitating we see the stupidity. What is the reason of scoring for the sake of scoring? It's trite, it's cheesy, but education is not a rat race. It's about the process of training to win the race; we just have the race to estimate who trained the best. Who wins doesn't really matter, what matters is the preparation. By scoring 17 A1s in the 2004 SPM, Nur Amalina Che Bakri only showed that she was a brilliant bookworm but a bookworm nonetheless. The fact is SPM takes mostly "brain-dead" memorisation to master.



From left, Sugasini (13 A1s), Esther Jack (15 A1s), Albert (11 A1s, disabled category), Ahnaf (14 A1s), Raja Ezman (11 A1s) & Jaziel Tan (disabled category).

This year we have Yeo Jie Ming scoring 16 A1s as the one with the most straight A1s. Last year we had Esther Elizabeth Jack with 15 A1s. I even clinched the insignificant title of Best Disabled SPM Student of 2005 which I would now like to disown. The difference
is this year unlike last year, nobody will be named Malaysia's top SPM student. With all due respect to Jie Ming and Esther, kudos to the government for not naming anybody as the top SPM student of 2006. Cynics however would point out that the farce caused by rumours about Nadiah Amirah Jamil supposed 19 A1s caused the change in government policy about SPM top scorers.


Nadiah Amirah Jamil with her parents.


All straight A1 students should be rewarded. Give awards to the best students based on merit alone but the obsession with more and more must stop. We seriously don't want to hear of someone getting 21 A1s next year for this year's SPM.

This piece is not meant to offend. If anyone mentioned here stumbles upon this post I would really love comments.

Anyway, where are the boys??

~multum in parvo~


(Images courtesy of Paper Napkin)

8 mad rant(s):



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  1. Maverick said...

    I actually did a whole post about this problem on my own blog: 'A' Endless Dilemma.

    What's the trouble about all this actually? This time round the hype surrounding Nadiah Amirah Jamil was just too much for me to take. You'd think she's saved the nation from the next economic crisis or something, the way they talk about her so much. *with all due respect to her, of course*

    ~verus rara avis~  

  2. Comrade Cripple said...

    In the US higher education hands-on learning is emphasised. For example students who study poverty in Harvard are required to volunteer in homeless shelters. It's a much better approach than chasing an "infinite" number of 'A's.

    If Malaysia wants to survive without long lasting effects from the next depression we need a legion of 'book smarts' and 'street smarts'. Book muggers have no place.

    ~multum in parvo~  

  3. wenLi said...

    they're merely just "A"s...
    Anyway, I'm glad it's over!!  

  4. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    Right on Comrade!  

  5. Jasmine said...

    i love the post...great post comrade!  

  6. thwen said...

    I'm so glad SPM and the results are OVER. Life goes on.  

  7. Comrade Cripple said...

    Somebody is laughing at our lamentable policy.  

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