Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and experiences!

Singaporean parents making a molehill of a trival matter?

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For those of us of whom have been following the news recently, you would have noticed the $60 haircut saga case which was published in the press last week.

A working mother has lodged a police report after her 12year-old boy’s teacher cut his hair one hour before his Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) oral exam last Thursday. It happened at Unity Primary School.

Her son Ryan Ang’s hair was cut by his teacher just one hour before a crucial exam at 11am and it was done so without her knowledge. At 10am, Ryan called his mother, crying over the phone and told his mother about it.

Mdm Serene Ong was fuming mad because………………the teacher has ruined her son’s $60 haircut done by a hair-stylist at Reds Hairdressing Salon 5 days prior to the incident. As a result, she had to spend another $60 to “re-style the ugly haircut”. =P

Furthermore, Mdm Ong, 39, a sales manager, was also angry because she claimed that Ryan’s teacher Ms Belinda Cheng had threatened that marks would be deducted from the oral exams if he did not go cut his hair.

“The teacher has no right to cut his hair! She showed me NO respect by not telling me that she was going to cut Ryan’s hair beforehand. Worse, she threatened to deduct his oral exam paper marks if Ryan didn’t agree to let her cut his hair. It was just 1 hour before his PSLE oral exam. What if it had affected his performance?” she said.

Ms Cheng has rounded up Ryan and another two boys to cut their hair. She did not comment but had apologised to Mdm Ong and the three pupils.

Turning to the school principal Mrs Jasmail Singh Gill, she felt that Ms Cheng had actually meant good intentions of wanting students to look neat and tidy before an examination, but acknowledged that the teacher have no business to go cut a student’s hair. In fact, warning letters have been issued to Primary 6 students, telling them to go cut their hair before sitting for PSLE if they are seen sporting long hair.

Mdm Ong was so upset that she lodged a complaint to Ministry of Education (MOE) and filed a police report on the night of the incident. She added that Ryan did not dare to step out of the house for 2 days because he thought he looked funny.

MOE told her to “forgive Ms Cheng” and re-assured her that marks will not be deducted for pupil’s physical appearance during the oral exam.

I agree that the teacher could have done it in a more tactful manner but I also think it is drastic that the mother went the extent of reporting the case to the police.

If Mdm Ong wants to merely complain, she can do it directly at MOE. She has done that. And I think that should suffice.

But to make one more movement — report to police, wow, so perhaps she wants to sue the teacher for damaging her darling son’s $60 haircut, causing BIG exam trauma to her son as well as to let everyone know how ‘unreasonable’ the teacher is? Why???

I’m sorry to say this, but I strongly believe that by doing so, Mdm Ong is WASTING police resources.

I went for $10 – $15 haircut at a reliable neighbourhood salon only when I reached upper secondary. Till today, I never spend beyond $25 for haircut services. Oh my gawd = $60 haircut for a primary school kid at Reds Salon? I guess the mother Mdm Ong is a rich working mum that’s why. Yeah, the kind of values she is imparting to this darling son of hers. =P

By going to report case to police, this would give Ryan a warped sense of what is wrong and right. What is he going to do the next time any teacher punishes him? Oh, cry louder and tell Mother to report case to police to punish the teacher, even if the teacher is right?

Mdm Ong will regret one day if ever Ryan did an irreversible wrongdoing when he grows up in future…

I wonder how does Mdm Ong feel, when she sees more negative online and press comments from Singaporeans on this article, than the kind of ‘supporting’ comments which she wants to see. Perhaps then, she will realise and understand that she is actually creating negative impact..doing more harm on her son, rather than helping him.

On the other hand, for Ryan, I pity him. Perhaps thanks to his mum, he has been made to believe that his hair makes him as a person. He is made to believe that authority should be challenged. His behaviour of crying as an escapee was enforced. Wonder what will happen to him by the time when he goes serving National Service at 18 year old…

“Mum….the army barber shaved my hair!!!!!!” *Wails loudly to mum over public phone. @@

Are our Singaporean parents today too over-protective of their offspring? 

The truth was: Ryan Ang is dyslexic. The school has had issued him a warning letter early about his haircut. But he forgot to let his mother see the letter. The teacher Ms Belinda Cheng thought he didn’t do anything about his haircut despite warning letter. Okay. Out of good intentions perhaps, so she took things into her hands and went cut the Ryan’s hair without informing the mother Mdm Serene Ong, prior to the PSLE oral exam. 

But still, quite a number of people including myself thought that it isn’t really necessary for Mdm Ong to go the extent of reporting the incident to police. MOE can just solely deal with this case. Now knowing the whole truth, I wonder did Mdm Ong regret her rush action of making a police report? :\




Author: alansoh79

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