S’pore Teacher Allegedly Implied That Hawkers Are Poor & Triggered Netizens

Image: mentatdgt / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)

Picture this.

It’s the year 2030 and some Higher-SES Singaporeans are starving and dropping like flies by the streets.

Not for the lack of food, but rather, from a deficiency in common sense.

For since 2019, in place of much-needed food classes like carbohydrates and protein, which are found in Lower-SES hawker food; buffoonery, self-entitlement and seriously ingrained (not grains) prejudices form much of the putative Higher-SES folks’ diet.

One such example of High-SES fine-dining experience is this.

A Hawker Is Not Well-To-Do

According to The New Paper (TNP), “A teacher’s answer to a Primary 6 English comprehension question that assumed someone who is a hawker is ‘not well off'” has sparked accusations of social stereotyping.”

In this passage about a young boy who wanted to surprise his mother with a birthday cake, the pupil was asked to answer a “True or False” set of questions with justification.

One such question was if “The author came from a well-to-do family”.

The student answered false, with justification: “Author wanted to buy a cake but only could afford a slice of cake.”

Image: Facebook/Rainbow Lim

Lo and behold, the teacher proceeded to mark the pupil’s answer wrong while correcting it to:  “False; The author’s mother worked in a kopitiam.”

Image: Giphy

Now, first of all, darn, that’s a good answer from the young padawan.

That’s close reading, reading in between the lines, inferring or whatever term that constitutes a dammed full-marks for this question.

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For the teacher’s answer though, well, you can just imagine all kind of wrongs this ‘solution’ checks.

Rainbow Lim and Pupil’s Hawker-Family

This unfortunate interaction between text, student and teacher appears to have come from the student’s school’s continual assessment (CA) test.

The passage was an extract of local writer O Thiam Chin’s short story, Grasshoppers, and Chin himself told TNP that “he was surprised to see the way his work had been used and interpreted.”

This image came to light when, Rainbow Lim, the student’s tutor posted this image onto her Facebook.

As Asiaone writes:

The answer caused further confusion for the student as her father works at a hawker centre and she did not consider her family poor. “She was frustrated that people would assume that about hawkers, and she found it very unfair,” Lim wrote.

That’s right, in the ultimate irony, this question and the teacher’s problematic answer gave the student much headache as the student’s father was himself a hawker.

In any case, Rainbow’s post appears to have been taken down, but not before garnering 2,400 reactions, 540 comments and 4,000 shares.

If you can’t remember when, how, why this feels familiar, let’s just say a similar thing occurred last year when a social study textbook presented to the unsuspecting population at large, this gem:

Image: Facebook/Ahmad Matin

Now, to be fair, the Ministry of Education (MOE) had then clarified that that book was not MOE-approved.

That said, methinks that this teacher in Rainbow’s case might have been inspired by this book, no?

“Eating at hawker centres or home” = “Lower SES”?

But doesn’t the teacher know PM Lee loves his hawker food too?

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