Wednesday, June 13, 2007

MOE said : It's an oversight.

Kimberly was finally asked to leave Bedok North Secondary School. Her parents started launching personal attacks on me. They asked their kids to send emails to all my wards, "Tell your parents to call my parents because they have something to tell about Mrs Tan." They also invited my wards to their house to swim, and that was during the SARS period when Singapore schools were closed. They did so many things and the harrassment got so bad that I finally had to fight back.

Kimberly was accepted by Telok Kurau Primary School to Primary 5. Her younger sister, Cindy was there. Cindy didn't complete Primary 2 but was accepted into Primary 3 class. Andy and Christine didn't inform MOE or the school Cindy also didn't pass the required level. They lied to two schools.

Komathi wrote in another reply to my query on 17th February 2003:

When we conducted the initial investigations, the school had confirmed the child did complete Primary 6. However the school after verifying the pupil's actual document confirmed that the child indeed completed Grade 5 and half of Grade 6, as correctly pointed out by you.

Just to reiterate the
Foreign Students must complete the previous level before they can be considered for admission to the next level.

The school didn't verify foreign students' documents. We informed BNSS immediately of Kimberly's Grade 5 qualification but the school didn't heed our warning. It went ahead because the decision-makers thought they were the authority.

I informed MOE about Cindy Uy Tan on 4th April. Mrs Lilian Cheong, then Head, Corporate Communications, Public Affairs Division replied on 17th April 2003 :

MOE is looking into the admission of Cindy U Tan to Telok Kurau Primary School and will take appropriate action where necessary.

Mrs Lilian Cheong took up a new posting and the matter was promptly forgotten. I emailed again, to a Yu Mei Balasingam-Chow who took over as Head of Corporate Communications, Public Affairs Division. She replied on 30th July 2003.

With regard to your complaint against the Principal and Vice-Principal of Bedok North Secondary School, we would like to say that MOE takes a serious view of any allegations regarding improper school management. We have thoroughly investigated the incidents referred to in your email of 4th April 2003.

Acting on the information you provided in February 2003, MOE found that Bedok North Secondary School had
mistakenly admitted Kimberly Uy Tan. The school had offered Kimberly a place based on her having met the age criterion and her performance in the school assessment tests, but overlooked the criterion of a minimum Grade 6 for admission to secondary one. When alerted to the oversight, the school promptly informed Kimberly's parents and requested Kimberly to leave the school. Kimberly was subsequently admitted to Primary 5 at Telok Kurau Primary School.

We wish to add that schools are aware that they need to ensure that the foreign students admitted are placed at an appropriate level and are able to benefit from the education they can offer. MOE has reminded schools of the need for care in checking the relevant information and documents when receiving applicants for admission.

We would like to reiterate that our officers have acted on your feedback with professionalism and care, and have not acted against you in any way.
Yet 'oversight' cases still happened and are happening.ROTFL

In December 2003, Cedar Primary School offered a foreign student Primary 5 level when he didn't even complete grade 3. Reason for the offer : No more vacancies for Primary 4.

Pei Tong Primary School offered Primary 4 level to the same foreign student. It's a no-brainer which school the parents would take.

An oversight. No. Definitely not. How can there be so many oversights in our schools? How do the Principals, VPs, staff, AMs and OMs work? Carelessly?

The constant harassment from Kimberly's parents caused me to see a psychiatrist at Changi General Hospital. Then I received the death threat in my mail box. I fell into depression and was advised to be warded for observation. I was going through Hell. One day, I decided rather than get defeated, I should snap out of it and take things into my hands.

I went to see a Minister.


  1. this is like a serial drama unfolding itself.

    but whatever it is, i really do admire your courage to point out things that are not right and follow through to make sure that they are corrected.

  2. Hi missy.
    Yes, I'm one Hell of a determined person. When I don't get answers, I will keep searching. MOE didn't know I'm so sticky huh. They are regretting now.

    I stake my life on this one.

  3. I just want you to know that i was here to listen.. and be here for moral support.

  4. Hahha...when "hidden" secrets are "discovered" and "revealed", they say it's an oversight. But when things happened "naturally" and to their advantage, they say it's a need. Liddat wan lah..neber admit their mistake wan lah!

  5. Thank you mamabok.
    That's all I need. People to listen.

  6. tigerfish,
    They afraid they will kena sue mah! But don't give them a teruk-teruk one, they think they can get away with anything.

  7. wah how I wish during my time when I came down to Singapore in 1990, I could have been put into a year higher, or same year, instead of being pushed down a year!

    I guess the school I went to went by the books.

  8. mark,
    Some kids get pushed down 3 years. You can see 15 year olds in Primary 6 and 20 year olds in Secondary 4. :)

    They will say : You got pushed down one year only, very lucky.


  9. I am suddenly so happy with my normal school life back then!! Waaa..

  10. lb,
    :) I have a normal school life of a poor student. Although I believe my wealthier classmates have better school lives. hehe....

  11. wtf.. i'm super pissed off. i'm going to write a post on it soon. pls link me

  12. I admire your courage and perseverance. Keep it up!

    P/S: Green-colored font on green background is hard for the eyes. Try another color next time?

  13. the unchartered waters,
    Thanks for your encouragement and support.

    Hope the new colour is right for the eyes. I do find it a little uncomfortable too. :P

  14. Wow ECL! U can go publish a book on it! Btw, I take it ur not afraid Kimberly's parent anymore since u publish their stories on the net! LOL... who knows? this might blow into another Newspaper headline! Then Kimerbly & family will be notorious! *evil laughter*

  15. Kev,
    There will come a time when a person can only take so much of sh*t. He/She will fight back and the consequence is of no consideration then. I'm such a person now.

    I'm waiting for somebody to sue and then I'll explode like a volcano.

  16. Let me understand this: you're blogging about something that happened in 2003?

  17. I really admire your courage..Too bad kenot meet u in July..sigh..nvm lor..hug here oni..*HUGS*

  18. Hey ECL
    You remind me of these Adidas "Impossible is Nothing" commericlals about sport stars who went through rough patches but are now back on the ball again..

    They should call you and make one of those can tell you own 'story'..hehe

    (David Beckham's story)

  19. lucian,
    Yes, I'm blogging about something that happened in year 2003 which is not resolved. And there are many more such cases that followed.

  20. I'm shocked man, to think people think S'pore is squeaky-clean!!

  21. eve,
    Yes, not meeting you in July. I'll be in Penang while you're in KL. Virtual hugs first lah. :)

  22. The replies you been getting seem so FAQ.. probably just cut and paste replacing names, dates and locations.atg

  23. Jon,
    Commercials are not interested in such stories lah. They'd rather not get involved. The companies' bottom line is to make profits not trouble. heh.....

  24. shilpa,
    Singapore is much cleaner than many countries lah, but of course there is the black sheep.

  25. Paddy,
    Most of the civil service replies in this way, I'm not surprised. There is a standard letter that they have to follow, I think. :)

  26. There's a very appropriate Chinese saying which I am sure I can use for this post... Paper can never wrap fire.

    When one chooses to cheat the system, one must be prepared that he/she will somehow be exposed. It's only a matter of time, through who and what.

  27. oh my getting complicated now

    well at least its out in the open & ur conscience is always being honest & upfront

    regards uncle sha

  28. Ed,
    Yes, paper cannot wrap fire. The fire has not only burnt them, it's burning the whole forest!

  29. sha,
    Finally could get it out into the open and oh my, does it feel good!

  30. It's getting more complicated. This incident reminds me about politics - no one is pure white.

    Did you contact the police about the harassment you had from Andy? I can't believe that it was so serious that you would need to go to a hospital!

  31. Wind,
    Yes, I was really exhausted and sick - physically and mentally. I have records at the hospital, I might not have to go to jail if I had killed anyone then. :)

  32. i think u are crazy and gettng yourself in trouble. making a big deal out of a matter that is very common even among singaporeans. if the foreign student is a genius and can skip to a higher grade even though his/her home school grade was lower and the sg school decided to let him/her in, what's the deal to you. many singaporean parents give 'donations' in other forms and ways to get their child into their fav/ prefered school. the very fact that schools take in students who excel in a certain sport so can be in the school team to rep the school but yet results not good is also a form of such alternative entries into schools.

  33. I am all ears, eastcoastlife!

    I can't begin to imagine the kind of stress you were under with death threats and all.

  34. am still here! and I thought SG is a real FINE country... fine here, fine there..
    do take care~

  35. For the way you write your post, I can see that you have been very organised in gathering evidence.

    Send you a hug. It was probably quite a stressful time getting those harrassments and threats. The thought of that would make one chill.

    I shall be here to lend my quiet company if you should need it.

  36. Wah liao... why they do this to you :( baaad people!!!

  37. This is quite a drama. I'm supporting you, ECL.

  38. Oversight?! I think not!
    The parents so horrible. They dont think they did anything wrong. Goodness! This is how they teach their children ah? Tsk-Tsk

  39. rinnah,
    Yes, it was very stressful and depressing at that time. There were many against one. You know the feeling? And I wasn't the one who was in the wrong.

  40. oceanskies,

    I spent 3 years gathering evidence and getting my cases on paper. The amount of time and money spent is worth it, I want to see these people in jail.

  41. wokking mum,
    MOE makes mistakes, we public tell lies. That's the way they put things. :)

    There are many parents like these, everywhere in the world. Selfish, self-centred, arrogant, ignorant, un-educated... whatever.

    Well, Mrs Kong and Mrs Yap are not only parents but principal and vice-principal of a school. How do they face their students everyday for years and don't feel a thing?

  42. lambchop,
    I am crazy and I'll get into trouble, but I have no fear any more. This is not a small matter.

    I can't imagine you getting all heated up over choapping seats in a hawker centre. The seats are public and don't belong to you.

    What's the problem with letting people finish their meal, while your friend or family are queuing? Nobody in their right mind would sit at the hawker centre for hours to finish a plate of caipeng, right?

    And your friend wanted to beat him up? Gosh. THIS IS A REALLY SMALL MATTER. You are barking up the wrong tree.

    There are of course many Singaporeans who donate money or time to get their kids into good schools. No secrets about that.

    What I'm taking issue with here is the rules and regulations that MOE puts out and their own staff are breaking it.

    They cannot tell us one thing and do the other thing behind our backs. Where's the transparency?
    And is it right for them to bend over for foreigners?

    I have no problems if the kids are really geniuses and they can jump levels. But if they can buy their way into the school even if they didn't pass their entrance tests and even get to jump levels, then that's a different matter.

    I hope you are not a foreigner. You have kids. Hope your kids don't get pass over to give priority to foreigners. :)

  43. You know, same thing happened to me when my family came back from Australia. I was offered grades higher than my capabilities but at the end of the day, I fought for myself and got into the lower level education.

    Parents don't understand that the basics of education is more important than being able to go to a higher grade.

  44. dieselfire,
    For the parents, it is to save money. Less a year of studies, less one year of expenses.

  45. Nah, that's no drama or oversight.
    According to the exams board Doctorine, 'A school may exempt a student from taking any class or examination based on it's own certain merits'

    Have you heard some kids taking GCE'O'Levels at Sec3? I did..and still have proof.

    It does not matter much, as some parents who went abroad and home school the kids,etc, have to consider all the merits.

    All this issue started way back after independence, when we have Madrasah Schools and their students converting over..and it was a headache of a problem only to be a bit solvent now after 2005 rulings.

    So, if the student can meet the target and 'tests' be it.

    I now ..shut my gob up.

  46. Hi ECL, with regard to ur reply to lampchop, I truely agree (with you) that this matter is different from those gift students etc who can skip a level. This is outright cheating!

    However with the seats thingy, I think lampchop might have a reason to be heated up. 'Cos in that instant she wouldn't know when her friend is going to come back to the table with food isn't it? What if her friend comes back to the table and still find the black guy there eating away? Wouldn't that leave the fren no where to go to?

    I'm not defending anyone, but that would be what will be running through my mind if I were her.. =)

  47. Oh my...I knew something was up with the education system.

    One of my friend remarked "How come there are China students who can't speak basic English can get a place in Poly?"