S’pore P6 student “frustrated” as test model answer insinuates kopitiam workers not well-to-do

She didn't ask her teacher about it as she didn't want to get scolded.

Fasiha Nazren | March 13, 11:09 am

On Mar. 10, Facebook user Lim shared her primary six tutee’s corrections for an English test paper.

Part of the test included a comprehension section, where students are supposed to tell if a statement is true or false based on the passage and give the reasoning behind their answer.

Here it is:

Photo from Lim’s Facebook page

Work in kopitiam = not well-to-do?

The primary six girl was apparently frustrated that the accepted reason on why the author didn’t come from a well-to-do is because the author’s mother works in a kopitiam.

Photo from Lim’s Facebook page

This confused the student as her own father apparently works in a hawker centre:

“My dad works in a hawker centre and we’re not poor… So I didn’t think that would be the answer.”

Author’s mother is not a cleaner

Lim, who then assumed that the author’s mother was a cleaner at the kopitiam, began to scan through the comprehension passage.

However, she found out that she was, in fact, a popiah seller and the passage apparently shows the business to be prospering instead.

“The whole paragraph depicting her mother at her stall was about the huge number of customers that kept coming and coming and how she was so busy that her son needed to step in and help.”

In reply to a comment, Lim had encouraged her student to ask the teacher about the model answer, but her student didn’t want to for fear of the teacher’s scolding:

Screenshot from Lim’s Facebook page

Netizens concur

And it seems that the student isn’t the only frustrated one.

Several Singaporean netizens also found fault with the model answer, with one calling it a “prejudiced answer”.

Screenshot from Lim’s Facebook page
Screenshot from Lim’s Facebook page
Screenshot from Lim’s Facebook page


According to a follow-up image posted by Lim, the excerpt was taken from award-winning Singapore writer O Thiam Chin’s story, Grasshoppers.

You can read it here.

A possible problem as highlighted by Asia One is that the entire text might lend itself to the model answer.

But the excerpt itself might not necessarily lead one to that particular answer.

Mothership has reached out to the Ministry of Education (MOE) for comment.

Here’s the now-deleted Facebook post:

Screenshot from Lim’s Facebook page

Top image from @kokujira_insta and Lim’s Facebook post.

About Fasiha Nazren

Fasiha is only afraid of three things - cockroaches, her parents and the deafening screamos of post hardcore bands.

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later