Burning Books after Exams

There has been a recent furore in the news about Parents and Children burning their books after their PSLE. As reported in the Straits times, Kiss92 DJ Arnold Gay, organized the activity together with his neighbours in Katong. According to the article, he reiterated that, "We were not burning textbooks, but only assessment papers and schoolwork, as they were the sources of stress. It wasn’t because we’re against learning, or that we are against knowledge or books,".

burning textbooks

Poor Guy! I think he deserves a break!

Personally, I do not know the DJ in question, and  I am not in anyway saying that, I endorse the burning of books or textbooks! 

But, he might have done it, as a sort of way for him and his family to de-stress themselves. However, noble the intention, it might have been good for him, to actually research the background the ritual of book burning.  

There is great defiance shown when burning is involved. Historically, protesters burn national flags when they are against a certain nation’s actions. They burn effigies of key political figures for that same reason. During the feminist movement in the 1960s, women burnt bras to signify their stand for female liberation. As recent as last year, we have religious extremists who burn the Quran or Bible. When it comes to book burning, the Nazis and Mao Zedong burned books and so did the first Emperor of China. All these acts were their way to change history. 

I’m not sure if Mr. Guy was aware of the significance of burning books when he propagated his event. It didn’t matter if it was textbooks or assessment books. The fact remains: there was a fire and books were burned.

In retrospect, I believe that he regrets the incident, and the furore it has created among Parents.

Whichever side of the camp we may take, all Parents do have the same conclusion about the PSLE! It is one stressful exam, and it is on that premise, that we should look at the issue.

As a parent, I too am aware about the stress involved in the PSLE exam. In fact, I could sense their sense of relief when the PSLE exam was over. As all Parents know, we all need to sit for the PSLE exam once for ourselves, and another X times, according to the number of children that we have. It’s stressful just thinking about it.

Why are we putting our kids and our fellow Parents through the stress of the PSLE? With International Educators asking why we have such a critical exam at the age of 12,  and with the recent reports about the Finnish education system (they don’t take exams until the age of 18), we should be revising our education system, sooner rather than later.

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