Tuesday, September 18, 2012

$60 Haircut: TNP makes Minister Heng looks bad

Again I am reminded to avoid TNP. Esther Ng the journalist who wrote this article had handled a topic that was beyond her ken. As a result it had made the Education Minister looked bad. The issue here is the relationship between dyslexia and memory.

I am familiar with dyslexia, the DAS and their intervention programs, which failed to work for my daughter.

In our society special needs kids are often inadvertently made to feel unwanted. If you have kid that is severely dyslexic, you carry a heavy burden because the academic pressure is much heavier. I sympathize with Madam Ong trials.

I quote from the TNP article:

The minister had said: "Dyslexic people are not forgetful."
But Madam Ong maintains: "I never used my son's condition as an excuse, I was merely pointing out that he's forgetful."
Ms Cara Tan, 25, a teacher from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore who has taught Madam Ong's son for three years, told TNPS that "weak memory is one of the characteristics" of a dyslexic person.
She adds: "It depends on the severity of the condition - there's a whole spectrum from mild to severe.
"In the case of Madam Ong's son, he leans towards the severe, especially in literacy and memory. "He's 12, but his reading and spelling age is that of a nine or 10-year-old.
"One of his biggest problems is memory.
"He can't remember a number of words even though he's read them before. I realise I have to teach him how to spell it a few times."

The article makes it look like the boy was unfairly judged because he really had problems with memory. However the writer needed to be more precise. The boy poor memory is over words and not objects. In this instance the object is a letter from the school to be shown to his mom.

Min Heng is right that dyslexics aren't forgetful but they can exhibit specific forms of poor memory. This article had painted the minister as intolerant and unfair, which I don't think is true. This is sloppy thinking and reporting from TNP.

The opportunistic TNP was just indulging in low grade journalism and insulting the intelligence of its readers. Clara Tan from the DAS must be pretty unhappy to have her professional input misused this way.

SPH should train reporters from the TNP better especially if they are read by less thoughtful readers who are at risk of being misinformed.


  1. When there is no competition, this is what you get. After all this govt worships the god of market place competition. And i dare say it is imperative in this industry.

  2. well, if someone is parent to a dyslexics child, i'm sure he/she would make an extra effort to follow up with his school work, and communicate regularly with the school, in which case, the basic rule of haircut would not be in question.
    It's a clear flouting of the rules, by the parent, not the kid.