In real life a lot of people will say I am intelligent. I can argue with little anecdotes on why I disagree. Starting from when I was 15 years old, and a student. I must give you some back story about why I am sharing this tidbit, and it’s because I am building a website on how to tackle the PSLE questions. The national (approved, and non-alternative) media outlets’ published articles on home-based learning and how different pockets of society are coping (some good, some bad) further cemented my desire to get my website up and running.
Okay so 15-year-old me sitting for an English examination. In Singapore it is fairly normal for English exams to have components in situational (like a report) and continuous (something more creative and thematic) writing. I was OK in English but I sometimes rested on my laurels because my classmates struggled with the language so while I was not that good I was better than most. I think a key note was that most of my classmates were ordinary folks (like me) and sometimes grew up in households that didn’t use English. Fear mongering (If you fail English you cannot go anywhere ar! Also this is not the only factor) also contributed to their aversion to learning and mastering English.
I remember the question being about a competition held in a somewhat ‘wild’ (think exotic flora and fauna, so far removed from modern amenities and civilisation) and my task was to write a formal report about that competition (kind of like a newspaper article). No other details were given, so it left a lotttt to the imagination.
So I wrote about how an unconventional Miss Singapore Universe pageant was held in a secluded island and a bevy of beauties roughed it out in a series of competitions to emerge victor to eventually represent Singapore in the Miss Universe pageant. The premise is that we’re taking these hotties out of their comfort zones while expecting them to display grace, intelligence (because they needed to win some physical and some trivia type challenge) and empathy.
So I wrote all about it and when I was done with the paper I had some time to read through what I’d be submitting, and I sighed happily.
We all handed up our paper and started talking about it.
And everyone.. wrote about SURVIVOR. AND I WENT NOOOOOOOOOO. It didn’t cross my mind at all!!! First of all at that age I didn’t watch much TV except MTV’s Most Wanted to listen to and watch music videos, and I watched Monk (the OCD detective who was so brilliant at solving all crimes except the one that killed his wife) and while I was “acquainted” with the concept of reality TV I just didn’t watch most! (I still don’t, but I did enjoy The Simple Life)
So I ran to my English teacher and explained the pickle I was in and he told me to relax and he would read my paper before saying I was out of point.
He returned the paper to me and told me I had a great sense of humour and imagination, he left my paper to the bottom of the pile so he could read all the Survivor stories first and come to mine, and he told me he would just deduct a bit but I think I still scored the highest.
So that’s it. Point of the story is I sometimes just don’t see the obvious, and the results can be comical.