Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Secondary School Report Card

When I was back in Penang last weekend I had the chance to catch up with family and also with some old memories. While going through the stuff in my room I came across this.

My secondary school report card! 

Now let me first tell you a bit about my secondary school life. I did Form 1 in Sekolah Sri Inai in Penang, one of the few coed schools in Penang. Yes believe it or not, most of Penang's secondary schools weren't coed. 

Just like in Primary school, I did terribly in Form 1 failing some 5 out of 13 or so subjects that I took. To make matters worse, I was 13 and my hormones had started to kick in. I had began to start learning that I like girls so I got myself a girlfriend at age 13 and did a lot less studying.

I was so PDA with this girlfriend in school I remember once being called up to the Principle's office where he and another female teacher talked to my girlfriend at the time and I about sex and how it's a bad thing!

Back then my girlfriend at the time and I were too young to think about sex so we were like "Are they crazy?"

Yes.. it was still the time where whenever someone in class mentioned the S word, everyone else would go "EWWWwwwwwww!!!". Such a big contrast right? Just 5 years later in college if someone were to mention "sex" in class, everyone instead would go "WOOOOoooo!!!"

Anyway my worried parents decided to drag me out of Sri Inai and throw me into a boy school called St. Xaviers Institution where I spent my Form 2 till Form 5.

I remember being sad in the first day of school. No more girls dressed in light blue pinafores... just all guys dressed in white shirts and dark green pants. It felt as if someone had taken away my mojo.

They streamed classes in St. Xaviers. To put it bluntly, they put the smart people in 1 and the dumb people in 8.

I expected to be put in 2/1 or 2/2 which were the top two classes for form 2 but I ended up in 2/5.... a not so smart class. 

At first I still didn't really care.

This is how seriously I actually took my studies: On the first page of my report card we were all supposed to put a picture of how we look like when we first entered the school. This is how my picture looks like (with some help from a friend's artistic talents).

Yes.... we added on the red glasses to make me look like Cyclops from X-Men. By some miracle I never got rotanned for this.

Anyway, after a while I realized that I was actually quite stupid and for the first time in my life I started actually studying. You can actually see the gradual improvements in my grades right in my report card from Form 2 onwards.

You're all about to see Timothy Tiah's actual secondary school report card!


This is the results of the first test I ever took when I first entered Form 2.

Notice that I failed Geography. Seriously.... I mean that was such a terrible subject in school. Also notice that I got 44 for Pendidikan Seni. When Princess saw that she said "HAH!!! Figures!" remembering the drawings in my old scout log book.

What she didn't know was that while you think 44 might be a bad mark for Art, I actually was supposed to get a lot lower. 30% of the grade for Pendidikan Seni was theory and 70% on practical (that means actual drawing).

For theory I would get something good like 25 out of 30.... but my Practical was a pityful ase. I would end up getting something like 19/70 which explains why my marks were so low.

A few pages down the report card is where it gets interesting.

There's one full page that records down the marks for each years' mid-term and final exams (the most two important exams in the year).

This sheet also shows what rank you are in class and in the entire form.

Pay attention to the ranks first.

In Form 2 I got between 96-130 out of 286 students in the form.

In Form 3 I climbed up from there to 62-81 out of 283.

By the end of Form 3 I was an okay student. Not particularly bright but not stupid either. I got 5As for my PMR which was considered above average but not smart because I think something like 60 out of the 283 students from my school who sat in PMR my year got straight As.

Then Form 4 came and it was time to split us into streams. Against the will of my school counsellor I went into Arts Stream. For some reason even up till today I think, if you're smart you're supposed to go to Science Stream. I refused to go simply because I knew then that I didn't want to be an engineer, a doctor or anything along those lines so why go Science?

Besides I wanted to learn Commerce and Literature as opposed to Biology and I felt kinda assured because a few of the top guys in the form back then who were also my role models were also going into the Arts Stream so I knew that I had some smarter people to teach me if I didn't know anything.

The first exam I had in Arts Stream was a disaster... not just for me but for everyone! We just had some really bad teachers for some of the classes we had.

For example, it was the first year learning Prinsip Akaun and all the Arts classes were taught by one very very very very very very bad teacher. I mean he was a nice teacher... but just really really bad at teaching.

After the mid-term exams we all ended up with totally shit results. I remember the highest in the form for Prinsip Akaun that time to be something like 70. I got 17. Look at the bright red mark in the picture.

So my mum panicked when she saw my Prinsip Akaun mark and forced me into going for this tuition. By the end of the year, I went from 17 to 96 in Prinsip Akaun.

The joke was that even with an average of 65.9% I ended up getting 2nd place out of 154 in my Arts Stream (partly because everyone else did shit too).

When Princess saw that she was like
"WTF?!?!? How come your school standard so low wan!!!!"

I told her off
"WOI!!! Don't talk bad about my school! St. Xaviers if I may add is one of the Top 3 boy schools in Penang!!!" *defensive

Then Form 5 came and for the first time in my life I became the 1st in my Form (Arts Stream) with an average mark of 79%. I think the huge jump in the average mark was explained by making the exams a lot easier after they killed us with the ones in Form 4.

Again Princess went
"What?!?!? First in the form so low average wan?!?!"

And I defended my Alma Mater again!

Then she looked deeper into my grades and she saw something amiss
"How come your marks all so high but your average mark in the end still so low?"

Then she spotted the mark that dragged me down

But that it was true.

While I studied very hard and did well in Form 4 and Form 5 there were two subjects that I struggled with because I had a very weak foundation in (thanks to my not studying at all in my earlier school years): Mathematics and BM. I eventually got an A1 in SPM for Modern maths and even an A for A-level maths in college but my BM till today still isn't as good as it should be =(

Anyway the last exam I took in school which was the SPM trial exam, I lost my position as the 1st in the Form down to getting 3rd. Either ways I eventually did pretty well in SPM which helped me get into a good college and eventually uni.

Here's what I think about education though. I don't believe in academic results being able to help us tell who's smart and who's not. I believe that it does help us generalize people but that generalization comes with a loss of accuracy. I mean every study or course is one methodology of its own to try to figure out if you're smart or not. The problem with that is that all human beings are made to be different so while some may do well in exam A, they may not do well in exam B while others may.

That explains why you have so many people like Richard Branson or Philip Green who didn't do very well in school but are self-made billionaires today. 

Closer to home you have examples like Ron Sim of Osim or many other successful entrepreneurs or professionals that never were really good in studies at school but have done well for themselves in life. So I guess if you hate studying or if you're not very good at it, it's not the end... 
That's at least what I was thinking while I sat down pondering about life that day.

I think making it in life depends on a lot more than just what kind of grades you got in school. For me I think luck plays a big part... which is why I think I'm one of the luckiest people around.


fourfeetnine said...

ohhhhhhhhhh so im not the only girl you pda with laaaa

wait so how many As did you get for SPM again?

Boss Stewie said...


~~haha~~ said...

WOOT! arts stream student, eh? me too! and i also suck at maths and prinsip akaun (and even more at add maths - i hated that subject, and the teacher was not good at teaching either!)

fourfeetnine said...


Boss Stewie said...

haha: heheheh yeah but i grew to be quite good in maths later on during a levels.. and i liked accounts too... now i use accounts almost every day :)

fourfeetnine: HAH! don't lie you don't know! all you know is that i didn't get straight! HAH!!!

Elaine said...

very inspiring posts!! :)

Anonymous said...

Okay i taught u're wearing a orange glasses that time. hahha.

And why u look so lost in the picha! haha

Ray said...

Your form 2 face looks really FUNNY...HAHAHAHA

blurblurpiggy said...

lol i think the photo is cute haha
i agree that not getting good results isn't the end of the world but do not be encouraged to quit or stop studying.

Anonymous said...

who cares about straight As or not!!! My classmate with 16A1s from sibu looked like a freaking transgender and retard when i first step into the class!!! and owh trust me, getting good results aint route to success~~~

Chik Yoong said...

I totally agree with you. I always think that people that scored really well in IQ tests only proved one thing, that they are good in IQ tests. It just doesn't make sense when u linking intelligence with some form of question-answer mechanism..haha

Jeffro said...

@Fourfeetnine: HOW MANY A's? hehehehehe..xD

@BossTim: WTH??!! So high wan your marks for moral and the rest.. dangnamit! I got all lower grades than of yours.. T_T

but lol @ Xmen-Young-Tim XD

Melanie said...

Yes!!! Geography sucks! I still remembered crying studying for that subject a month before PMR! Haha! Still got an A tho', miraculously.
(but i read on a magazine, it says girls are not born to read maps. HEHE!)

Was in Science Stream for form 4 and form 5 and hated it. Never understood what i studied and those years were hell for me. I scored for the non-science subject but for my science subjects, lets just say it was a nice Air Batu Campur. :P
The only subject I love in Science was Add maths! and i scored A for it :P

KY said...

ok what are the other 2 top boy schools!

electronicfly said...

I would want to show this post to my mom to make a point, but then she will take it and make another point.


Exams ahhhh stress ahhhh oh and I might be going to Penang! :D

fourfeetnine said...

ky: penang free school! it's supposed to be best school in penang and my dad and grandpa went to it /smug

Boss Stewie said...

elaine: haha thank you :)

shaowei: hahah yeah damn blur wan me last time

terence: hahaha yeah... that was how i looked like :)

blue: yeah i agree on that.. i guess i believe that you're forced to study while you're young so might as well try to do well in whatever you're doing

binn: :) do you have another success story to share about people who didn't do well in school but did well in life

chik: yeah totally agree on that1

jeffro: haha but i'm sure you beat me in all my form 2 grades

melanie: hahaha yeah i think geography during my year of PMR was easier also.. the exam itself.. i was doing really badly all before that in the earlier exams

kay: hahah yeah i loved sejarah!

ky: pfs *cough* and uhhh... don't know what else... i guess sxi is number 2

electronic: what point would she make? ohhh... have fun in penang.. i love penang :)

R said...

boss!!! u hid the truth when you asked me yesterday about form position!!

you were only comparing 4/5 classes in Art Stream for your Form position!!

Back at St Michael's Institution (another La Sallian school), arts & science compete fairly through the average marks!! I had to compete against 350++ students!!

In a way, we're not supposed to be compared at all since it's a different ranking altogether.

Fuck this shit, toilet calls. kthxbabai

ahlost said...

Wahraooo.. Your prinsip akaun so high score O_O

Maxine said...


You and Maths. Total No-No back in high school. haha! =D

Don't go visit Cikgu Hamisah and say your BM sucks. She'll be sad to know that you didn't learn much from her tuition! HAHA!!

Jia Hui said...

*totally out of topic* Your house so nice!!!!! XD

anne_jo520 said...

I like your post. But I still think that working hard for your studies actually proves that you're responsible for the tasks you are given in life. To be frank, no one likes to study. But a lot still work very hard bcos they know that it's their passport to a brighter future. If one cant do well in their studies, at least TRY TO WORK HARDER instaed of putting the blame to every sort of excuses they can find in life e.g they dont like science, dont like art n etc etc... I am not sure if what I say make sense?!?! =)

Unknown said...

If you don do well in studies, it means that you're going to be a millionaire.. or billionaire or trillionaire.. and so on so forth.. See all those rich successful ppl...

Boss Stewie said...

robb: hahaha! same lar.. stream = form.

ahlost: hehehehe yeah i got good in accounts towards the end

maxine: hahahaha yes.... she didn't help me much.. then again i made it so hard for her to help me :)

anne: hahah yeah you make sense. Well all I'm saying is that if you don't do well in studies, it's not the end of the world for you :)

em: hahaha no lar.. there are some rich successful people who are smart too.. Google guys are from Stanford, Facebook guy is from Harvard.

Zzzyun said...

ehh...u also penang 'lang' :P

ch3ryl said...

hmm, nice one! now i m inspired to go dig my report card n blog about it too! :)

Anonymous said...

easily lar... lim goh tong lor~~~

Zephyr said...

Yes, u're right. I made the wrong decision by choosing science stream in form 4 and form 6 but I didn't like arts stream as well. I only managed to do well in Uni that my CGPA keep on increasing every sem.

p/s: what does pda means?

Funky Dory said...

yea, i agree with you on which stream to go too..
everybody wants to join science stream and people always look down on arts stream students. give them lousy teachers bla bla but when i was 15 i knew that i wouldn't be a doctor/engineer etc so why go into science stream?
thus i took the road not taken & now i'm studying a course that i enjoy & about to do my internship in my dream advertising agency:))

Raymond Choo said...

yea.. agree on u..

but.....everytime we say drop out from school/doing not so well in studies' students can also success..we need to oso consider how many hardwork they put on it.. and luck as well..

there are a lot more school drop out who failed in life compare who doing well in studies..that is a truth.. jz thr are times where we are so influenced by Bill Gates,Mark Zuckerberg...etc life stories


Kay said...

i hate sejarah -_-

Suet Li said...


joshuaongys said...

no wonder la nuffnang so successful!!! you are cyclops thus you have X-Mens supporting u!!!!!

Boss Stewie said...

zzz: yeah i also penang lang :)

cheryl: hahaha ok show me the link when you do it

bian; hahah yeah that's one i guess

zephyr: hey dude.. pda = public display of affection :)

melissa: wow... which agency is that?

raymond: yeah you're right

kay: hahaha i love sejarah!

suet li: eh! farkiu! nehmind.. i got good in maths later on at college and uni... hah

joshua: hahaha yes.. i'm cyclops in disguise

JenKin Yat said...

i sucked my modern math in PMR..then i excel in SPM..then i flopped again in STPM..LOL wtf =____=

Unknown said...

dear Timothy,
I got a sentimental feeling reading this particular post.I faced the same problem when i was in secondary school. What you wrote in this post is raw honesty, and to be frank, I really appreciate that. Honest and down to earth people are hard to fine. Somehow, you don't seemed like a person who is aggressive in business, who lets the mind wonders and doesn't talk much.But instead, you are very in touch with your inner self, and that give me the impression that you are a down to earth, soft spoken, obliging, and a great friend.
It would be an honor if i were to meet you one day.
I did ok in Primary school. Can't recall a day where i actually sat down and studying. The only time i actually studies was for my SRP, I did quite well and was sent to the science stream. Since at the tender age of 9, i've been following my parents to the regular friday hospital visits, to talk to patient simply just to cheer them up. It got into me. And soon i begin to do that too. I felt compassion seeing these people who were suffering, and that's when i decided to be a doctor. So, here i am, owning my own clinic, often give free treatment to those hardcore poor.
hmm... why am i telling you this. Someone it felt like i could talk to you.
Well, it;s just me.
Anyway, this is a very good post.

Funky Dory said...

It's Saatchi & Saatchi=))

Jwxwei said...

Yes.. it was still the time where whenever someone in class mentioned the S word, everyone else would go "EWWWwwwwwww!!!". Such a big contrast right? Just 5 years later in college if someone were to mention "sex" in class, everyone instead would go "WOOOOoooo!!!"Hey! When I was in form 1 everyone snickered (or laughed like crazy hyenas XD) when they heard the word! There were only 1 or 2 people who went "EWWWWWWWW"

Anyway, it was nice reading this since I'm going to form 4 next year, it's really inspiring :))

SHARYQ said...

haha..this post got me thinking where did i chuck my report cards to d. I did form 6 in SXI too and it's indeed a great school :)

me too decided to switched into arts stream thus taking accounts as I don't have much options and I did really really bad. Just imagine who will ever get 1/100 for the first monthly test? hahaha..my best friend got 6/100 and I got called to explain myself why I did so bad. The truth is not that I didn't study. I did, just that I didn't know what was the teacher crapping about. glad that I managed to pass stpm with average grades all thanks to a good tutor and great help from friends.

anyhow, I'm happy that I'm doing what I love now though still an undergraduate; at least I know where I'm heading to. I got to know that not all who passed with flying colors in their stpm back then are doing great now. I even came across some friends who took a job as a promoter or waitress simply becos they're lost and didn't really know what they want to achieve.

renaye said...

well, i have burned everything i have from high school. i don't even remember if i collected my spm results.


HaniRose said...

this reminds me so much of my high school days. Went to a supposed to be top allgirls residential school since f1 - for the 1st time ever in 2000, they opened Arts stream and that year was also the last. There were only 14 of us who opted for that and ppl for some reason had this presumption that because we were the rejects the school kept after getting bad results for PMR (which wasnt the case). Anyway, more than half of us in Arts Stream are doing well now, and most importantly are doing what we love despite ppl's expectation and stereotypes of what's good :)

and ppl like you are one of those who inspire :)

apap said...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH WHAT U THINK ABOUT EDUCATION,BRO!!! about luck,i got some 2 elaborate. Luck only comes to ppl who work hard and prepare for that to happen! :)