Do you remember getting your test sheet back, looking at all the answers you got wrong, reading the corrections and going “ohhh
Yeah, well. This isn’t one of those stories. A teacher in Singapore has recently gotten flak online for her answer to a Primary 6 English comprehension question that implied people who work as hawkers are “not well off”.
In the passage given, a young boy wanted to buy a birthday cake to surprise his mother. The exam then asked pupils true or false questions and asked them to justify the answers. One of the questions was: “The author came from a well-to-do family” A pupil answered “false” and stated that the boy could only afford a slice of cake instead of an entire cake. Sounds reasonable, which is exactly why the student was puzzled when her paper came back with the reason marked as wrong. So, what was the correct reason the main character did not come from a well-to-do family?
This case went viral on Facebook but the post has since been taken down, according to The Straits Times. Allegedly, the student, whose parents happened to be hawkers, were both confused and upset. She was quoted as saying, “My dad works at a hawker centre and we are not poor… so I didn’t think that would be the answer.”
Netizens were understandably outraged that a school would assume such stereotypes about social class. Many of them revealed that they too, had come from families of hawkers and they weren’t “poor” either. In fact, the original author of Grasshoppers, the story the passage was excerpted by, O Thiam Chin, has come out in protest as well.
We don’t know about you guys, but the hawkers we know are all humble, hardworking, and usually quite well off.