Monday, November 29, 2010


My PSLE results were considered devastating (NO) thanks to my elder brother who set such a high standard that I knew even before sitting for my PSLE, I couldn't beat his aggregate score of 269.

That's my Bah with his wife, Net (also damn smart!) and my one and only Rooqs.

I was right about not being able to beat his aggregate score.
Although I made it to the Express Stream, it just wasn't good enough.
My friends whose aggregate scores were more or less similar as mine cried tears of joy and their parents were very happy.
A total opposite reaction from my family's. Again, no thanks to my Bah.

The ONLY person jubilant about my 'poor' results was my younger brother, Jambi who thanked me for 'lowering the standard' and remarked that he just had to beat my aggregate and all would be fine.

He sat for his PSLE 3 years later and yes, he beat my PSLE score. DAMMIT!
My parents were of course satisfied with his results. (beat my score mah, so he's in 'safe' zone.)

POST PSLE RESULTS 'era' was just shitty.

Being compared just SUCKED because if you don't 'reach the bar', you sort of get 'slammed' by relatives.
Mean words like 'Eh Kin tak macam abangnya eh?' were overheard, especially during Hari Raya visiting/kenduris.

Looking back, I realised that THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG AT ALL WITH MY PSLE RESULTS lor! My parents had absolutely no reason to feel sad because:

one, I cleared my PSLE and moved on to secondary school (heng ah, no need to repeat)
two, I made it to the Express stream

Aren't these reasons enough to call for a celebration?

Now, that wasn't the end of my 'nightmare' hokay.
During my time (I feel old), we chose our secondary schools before we got our results.

My brother went to Raffles Institution so it was only right (plus a sweet dream come true for my parents) that his sister here would go Raffles Girls' School. Matching mah.
My (as well as parents') list of chosen schools were all girls' schools.
During the release of the school posting results, the family suffered from yet another heartbreak.
Damn I felt like a loser. :(

I was "thrown"/dicampak into a school NOT of my choice: Jin Tai Secondary School. (now defunct)
Now, this school did not have that great of a reputation and my dad was convinced I would end up pregnant at 16. (By the way, that shool's got reallllyyyyy good looking boys and hotttttt girls though. Slurps...Heee!)

Papa J (a fellow YISS alumni) transferred me to Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) just because he knew the principal and teachers there.
Furthermore, YISS 'emerged' as the top value added school (Express) in the 1994 GCE O level exam.

I was sad to leave my fun bunch of Jin Tai-ans but am eternally grateful to my parents for switching my school because 'parents do know what's best for their child.'

I tell you, when I first stepped into the school, I wasn't impressed!
The school which was located along AYE was freaking old I felt so sad for myself. :((((
The classrooms had no doors... open concept gituk...
Broken window panes in the toilets that I bet passengers on the upper deck of SBS buses could see the students pee.

My dad, on the other hand, felt an immense sense of pride, showing off to me...
"Ah you see this classroom, this was mine!"
"Wah the canteen still looks the same after all these years..."

Anyway, despite the 'poor conditions', I would have to say that years spent at YISS was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! The teachers were superb! Soooooooooo dedicated.
I made close friends who knew how to play AND work hard and together, we aced the O level exams.

Hence, morale of the story here is: Neighbourhood schools do not suck. They ROCK. Big time.
1998 was the year I sat for my 'O' levels.

Studied real hard for it and the hard work paid off.
I even beat my elder bro's O level score yo. I beat a Rafflesian! WOOTS! What a morale booster!
Well because he was an outstanding hockey player and all, he proceeded to RJC.
His sister wanted a JC close to home and since I was staying at Jurong, yeah you guessed it JJC for me! Heeee!

It has been a very long but definitely fulfilling journey for me.
I came from a neighbourhood secondary school and a neighbourhood JC, yet, I still get to be what I dreamt to be when I was a child: a teacher.

I became so passionate about lower ability pupils who struggle in their studies that I decided to leave the civil service in 2009 to set up The Bottoms Up Club which is specially catered to children who take subjects at Foundation level. (Eg: Foundation English...Foundation Maths...)

Not trying to be racist (Hey I am a Malay as well) but majority of children in the tail end classes (based on my experience) are Malays.
Sorry to also say this but other races are very 'kiasu' about their kids sending their children for enrichment classes.
Pada dorang, investment untuk masa depan anak.
Orang Melayu kita pulak lokek sikit.
They feel that spending on education is 'a waste of money'
Bang, beli rokok tiap hari tak mahal?

It's time we 'invest' in our children's education, mommies and daddies and put aside our wants for now.
Here I would like to take my hats off to 2 parents of my tutees.
One is a single mother. Another is a single father who works as a cleaner.
Masyallah. How touching is this?
I'll do what I can, Maam and Sir and take your children out from the vicious cycle of poverty.
Alhamdullilah, both their kids made it to secondary schools.
Last Thursday , I was a proud educator because ALL of my Primary Six tutees cleared their PSLEs.
No "U" grade for their core English and Maths subjects.

Special mention to my most challenging tutee, Ezz.
When he first came to me, he didn't know how to read but overtime with a lot of practise, he became more fluent in reading.
With him, I focused alot on reading because reading is very important.
How is he going to tackle comprehension questions if he doesn't know how to read?
How is he going to solve problem sums if he doesn't know how to read?

And to be able to sucessfully enter secondary school, he will need to score more than 30 marks for his English and Maths.
Teachers reading my blog, you would understand how excruciating it would be for a kid to increase their marks from, say, 25 to 30.

What more from say, single digit 9 to 30?
To improve by 21 points is a not an easy task for these kids.

Ezz's mommy had a heart to heart talk with me when she expressed interest in enrolling Ezz under my care.
"Mdm Nura, help him get to secondary school. I just don't want him to get a "U" grade. I'm worried for his Maths."
This boy attended my classes religiously and I worked on his strengths.
He is an imaginative boy so naturally, his composition stories are interesting. :)

Dearest Ezzqandar, I am *blardy* proud of you, my boy! You totally deserve to be featured. An inspiration to other struggling kids that with effort, everything is possible.
IMPOSSIBLE just means I'M POSSIBLE, right Ezz?

My sincerest thanks to Norman for the feature and Abang Tukiman for the photos. :)
Ezz, I must thank you.
You made MY parents beam with pride too when they saw this article.
So I thank you for that, my dear.

Lustmonday, thank you for sponsoring my outfit!
Lustmonday will be launching their 42nd collection at 4.20pm later ladies!

Congratulations also to another Bottoms Upper, Zayma.
She was the top Foundation pupil in her school in posted to the normal academic stream.
I am proud to share great news that she has made the switch to the Express Stream at YISS (yeah my alma matar!)
Well done Zayma!
Mdm Nura will continue to help you and the other Bottoms Uppers soar to greater heights, insyallah!
And how can I not thank my family for always spurring me to reach greater heights?
My parents, husband, brothers, in laws and Nyla, thanks for your empowering love.
Allah, Thank You for answering my prayers.