And on Saturday: Humblebrag your PSLE score – for what?

Dec 03, 2016 12.02PM |

By Felix Cheong

A fictitious writer, Peter Seet Lai Ee, relates how he met his primary school classmates recently for a reunion. And they all had a great time comparing PSLE scores.   

A FUNNY thing happened on my way to my primary school class reunion a few days ago.

I suddenly remembered my PSLE score, which I had long repressed, suppressed and compressed.

So did all my classmates, in various stages of baldness and various shapes of concealment. Strangely, we also remembered each other’s scores, although we had sworn, on our dead great-grandmother’s graves, to forget these numbers as soon as we turned 21.

Even Lim Bo Liao, who was never the same, cognitively and figuratively speaking, after receiving a knock on the head from our Math teacher, could recall his exact score, as clearly as though it happened some 20 years ago.

“One-six-zero,” he said proudly, though we realised later that it was also his IQ score.

We were all inspired by Syed Khairudin Aljunied, you see. The associate professor at the National University of Singapore had gamely posted his PSLE score of 221 on Facebook last week.

His aim: To “give hope and motivation to the young ones that PSLE scores don’t necessarily determine your future”.

Of course, self-shaming to boast how well you’re doing now makes as much sense as announcing your bra size to lend support to women suffering from breast cancer.

But that hasn’t stopped about 1,000 people (and counting) who have also un-self-consciously posted their PSLE scores and how far (sometimes, even far-fetched) their life has gone.

And so, in the spirit of our reunion, after the usual reminisces, the few beers we had had started talking (or rather, slurring).

“My PSLE score is 206. I only had one A* but I’m now working as a researcher at A*Star.”

“My PSLE score is 211. I only had a B, C and A but I’m working as a structural engineer with BCA.”

“My PSLE score is 199 and I’m now living in a terrace house in District 10.”

“My PSLE score is 99. I’m now married to a former Miss Tiong Bahru Plaza. And I drive a second-hand BMW.”

“My PSLE score is 280 and I’m now working as a janitor at Raffles City.”

Everyone turned to me, shocked. They had expected me to sail through the system, made for life. All I needed to do was pass all the right exams, tick all the right boxes without ticking anyone off.

I was even voted “The Boy Most Likely to Become Perm Sec”.

I shrugged. “But at least I’m making a difference,” I said, “by giving tuition, pro bono, to weak pupils at CDAC.

“Better than just posting your PSLE score on cyberspace, right?”

My old school friends, already beyond reach at the far-end of sobriety, could only nod.

Peter Seet Lai Ee



Featured image by Sean Chong.

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You can read our stories on PSLE here:

Children should not be judged for PSLE results, says filmmaker

Viral Views: PSLE does not decide your future

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