The mother who was in the news last week for her harsh reaction to her son’s Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results has given her side of the story, saying that the original article was an invasion of privacy.
Madam Soon Lee Yong, the co-founder of website KiasuParents.com, was featured in an article by Today on Thursday (Nov 24). In response to his lower-than-expected T-score, she allegedly told her son: “You can forget about getting your Nintendo DS.”
The article was widely shared on social media, with many netizens sympathising with Madam Soon’s son and criticising her for her harsh-sounding words and parenting style. Some even said that they would buy the gaming device for the boy.
In an open letter published on KiasuParents, Madam Soon admitted that she had uttered the line: “You can forget about your Nintendo DS.”
However, she denied that she had said it in response to a text message that her son had sent to her to ask if she was angry, clarifying that it was in fact part of a longer face-to-face conversation with him.
“I didn’t expect our private conversation to be fodder for a newspaper article,” Madam Soon wrote.
She explained that she had agreed to the reporter’s request to be present for the release of her son’s results, “but it led to an article that invaded my son’s privacy and affected him – more than his results or my reaction did”.
She added that she felt betrayed by the failure to honour her request not to reveal her son’s score in the article.
Madam Soon also addressed those who had offered to buy a Nintendo DS for her son, saying that she had merely confiscated the set that he owned because he was spending too much time on it. She had hoped to use its return as an incentive for him to work harder.
She also rebuffed comments about her son’s “joyless existence”, revealing that the family had gone for a post-PSLE treat after the exams, and that they will be going for a family trip soon.
“It’s not a reward for my son because I don’t believe in tying such experiences to grades – we travel for enjoyment and exposure,” she wrote.
Concluding her letter, Madam Soon expressed hope that her son knew that she loved him regardless of his academic performance.
“Results are never the end goal; they only provide a form of feedback as to whether your efforts are working, and they are not always accurate. What you must strive for is a good attitude and a willingness to reflect and consider your next course of action. Never wallow,” she wrote.
She added that the entire experience would help her son understand “why you should never jump to conclusions based on a snapshot of information, and why you can’t believe everything you see or read online”.