This is the printable version of an article from Infernal Ramblings (infernalramblings.com). The original web-optimised article is also available.

The Student With 17As: So What?

Not too long ago there was huge hubbub nationwide about Nur Amalina Che Bakri, who scored 17As in her SPM. She's been recognised all around as an impressive student, no doubt about that. But all this proves is that she has a tremendous capability to study. Nothing more.

Written by johnleemk on 10:57:06 am May 12, 2005.

Not too long ago there was huge hubbub nationwide about Nur Amalina Che Bakri, who scored 17As in her SPM. She's been recognised all around as an impressive student, no doubt about that. But all this proves is that she has a tremendous capability to study. Nothing more.

Half the electives she took aren't even relevant to her dream of becoming a gynaecologist. Do you need skills in visual art to be a doctor? Last time I checked, the answer was still "no". What is this country coming to?

There is absolutely no point in scoring 17As. None at all. Sure, if you can do it, why not go for it? The problem is, all the lauding and praising she has received is unnecessary. This undue focus on examinations merely reflects the shallowness of Malaysians. Considering the way our papers are graded (the real cutoff point for an 'A' is extremely low), an 'A' is meaningless.

In developed countries, do you see national newspapers celebrating a student's exploits? Local newspapers, probably; I can see why those in Nur Amalina's hometown would be glad for her; but on a national scale? I don't understand it. Scoring a certain number of As is meaningless, beyond showing you're really good at memorisation.

Of course, there will be those who say I am jealous. Me, jealous? I don't think so. I know for sure I won't score 17As in the SPM, but I don't care. What I do care about is the shallowness of the Malaysian public. We have better things to laud than a record-breaking number of As.