The Primary 6 pupils collected their first major national examination results in the form of PSLE on the morning of the 25th November – one which is likely to be extra special this year due to the circumstance of the COVID-19 situation.
As these students go deeper into the future from their present moment, uncertainty increases with the logarithmic value of every misfit score divergence that they received on their PSLE subjects.
Every distinction score that they see printed on the paper deserves a heartened relief and a spontaneous burst of applause because it’s the output of a long harvested effort.
I can tell you that myself personally because I couldn’t and didn’t score any single distinction myself when in hindsight I could have worked harder (and perhaps scored a little better).
I just wasn’t matured enough back then to switch on my gear to go into excellence mode.
But what are we exactly applauding these students for?
For obtaining a good score and getting into a good secondary school?
Or are we applauding them for the societies’ approval of them?
After all, surely it must feel good having your name being screened in front of the entire school hall. That’s like some Million Dollar Round Table recognition or WWE Hall of Fame in the other world’s dimension.
Applause is such a curious yet neglected phenomenon.
We tend to imagine that when we are watching a performance live on stage we tend to applause the performers and thank them for their relentless and passionate performance as an intent of our approval to them. The louder it gets the higher the elevation of that moment. When it gets to an extreme, we give them a standing ovation as a commensuration.
But this kind of applause is itself an expression of performance and to some extent an enactment of judgment, not a communication.
This year, we have a total cohort of 39,995 pupils who received their results and 98.4% of those pupils did well enough to progress to a secondary school.
Among that cohorts, 66.3% qualified for an Express course in secondary schools, while the rest of the cohorts are staged into the Normal Academic stream.
I was one of those who was back in my days staged into the Normal Academic stream.
While I wasn’t matured enough back then to distinguish the two fates between the Express and Normal Academic paths, I vividly remembered the disappointment I had in myself – the hopes to manifest the failure of expectations from my parents and teachers.
Since then, I clicked and switched on my gear to do better and account for myself, which embeds a powerful mark of maturity from thereon.
It is the beginning of a direction of where to sail, how I wanted to sail, and whom I was sailing with.
The map is not the actual territory.
Even the best and most realistic of maps are imperfect by their own fidelity, not to mention there are some unraveling places today in the world that are not even on the map.
We define our own findings and abstract and make our own mark tomorrow.
For all the P6 students graduating from the cohorts, you deserve a round of applause today – All of you.
The real hard work starts again today and will likely be the case for your traits foundation for the rest of your lives.
The fate of your future is in your own hands and the world awaits.