Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (February 9, 2013)
I remember the time when I studied in London in primary school very fondly – my caring teachers, my interesting friends, and my active school life all made it a wonderful experience. In those 2 years, I think nearly all my experiences were positive except one painful incident that made me learn a lifelong lesson.
In my second year at the school when I was just 9 years old, I remember having done very well during the school year. So when it came to exam time, my conclusion was that I could get away with not studying. I had worked hard throughout the year so I was sure it meant that I could get by doing my exams with no work involved. I remember my mum asking me during the pre-exam period whether I had studied for my exams because she saw me playing more than working, and I brushed her off with an ‘of course’. My mum was not one to micromanage my studies so she trusted what I said and left it at that.
And you can probably guess what happened next. I did my exams and when the results came back, I was shocked. I did terribly! All my teachers were shocked and disappointed and I felt so embarrassed. I would hide my exam papers so my classmates wouldn’t see. But what I was most afraid of was telling my mum. It’s not that my mum was a tiger mum at all, but I was fearful of her response. After all, she had seen my studying behaviours and most certainly couldn’t tell her that I had tried my best!
That day, after school, I sheepishly crept up to my mother in trepidation. I then finally mustered up the courage to tell my mother how badly I had done the exams. And I will never forget what she said and how she looked as she responded to me whilst sitting on the kitchen chair. She looked at me with disappointment in her eyes and in a calm voice said ‘I hope you will do better next time’.