‘N’ level top scorer reveals results ceremony how became “one of the worst days of my life ever”

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An ‘N’ level top scorer has revealed how the exciting ‘N’ level results ceremony day became one of the worst days of his life in a Facebook post last week.

The student, Joseph Wong, had been especially ecstatic about his results since he has autism. He revealed online:

I was very happy, as an autistic who went from someone who needed help to get dressed till I was 15 to a top scholar 2 years later. I worked really hard for it and I was proud.
“But that happiness soon faded and that day became one of the worst days of my life ever.”

Wong revealed that he was excited when he found out that media outlets wished to interview him on the day of the results ceremony, but was disappointed when his school appeared disappointed that he said he wanted to be a vfx artist and a game designer instead of aiming for a more “aspirational” profession:

“When I was in school I was consistently told by the vice principal to NEVER ever talk about video games again. I was a scholar and I should have bigger dreams.”

Pressured to give politically correct answers to the press so that he could appear to be a more perfect student, Wong was also left confused by reporters from mainstream media reporters who asked him questions he found difficult to follow.

Besides feeling dissatisfied that he couldn’t say what he wanted to say, Wong later found out that what he got to say was censured and heavily edited, as well:

“I even saw later that night an article written from the first journalist. She censored my autism, she completely rewrote everything I said. Writing that I wanted to become a doctor and that my inspirations were local heroes such as Tan Tock Seng.”

Wong says that he later understood that “the reporters were told to edit my initial script by request of the teachers.”

The student added that he felt “really disappointed in myself and angry” that he had to say things he “never wanted to say,” and appear to “aspire to be someone I never aspired to be.”

We re-publish his story here:

It’s been 7 years and I still remembered it like yesterday. It was late 2010 on an early morning. I was called to school 3 hours before the N level results ceremony.

My teachers congratulated me and told me I was the top student across the whole of Singapore. I was very happy, as an autistic who went from someone who needed help to get dressed till I was 15 to a top scholar 2 years later. I worked really hard for it and I was proud.

But that happiness soon faded and that day became one of the worst days of my life ever. The teachers quickly cut away from my success and a reporter came in to interview me as my teachers set back.

What would you love to do?
She asked,
Me: I want to be a vfx artist and a game designer.
She smiled back : Whats your secret to being so good at studying?
Me: I wanted to prove to everyone someone with autism could be a top scholar.
Her: Is there someone you would like to thank for all that has happened?
Me: I would like to thank the master chief. He has been my childhood hero and he did the impossible I want to be like him.

From there it became clear to the teachers that I wasn’t giving a satisfied response. My english teacher came to me and handed me a script. She told me this is a big moment for our school and we need you to be more ambitious! Just remember these lines when channel 8 and 5 interview you later.

I was against this, I spent 2 years of my life working for this and now I had to conform to a script. To say things I never wanted to say, to aspire to be someone I never aspired to be.

I was confused and naturally later that day when the news came I wasn’t even given a chance to follow my script. Channel 5 catered to english speaking audiences came to me asking me questions that were very unusual and confused me and Channel 8 which catered to the chinese speaking audience did the same. (Edit3 : Please note Channel 5 and 8 didn’t censor me they just didn’t give me the chance to say what I or the school had intended)

The left the school disappointed. And the disappointment didn’t stop there. My relatives were watching the news and as soon as I got home I was bombarded with calls from my relatives asking me why did I say different things to channel 5 and 8.

I didn’t know how to tell them but I had absolutely no control of what I had to say. I felt really disappointed in myself and angry. It didn’t take long for articles written by Singaporeans commenting about my mannerisms and accusing me for lying through my interviews giving polarizing answers.

I even saw later that night an article written from the first journalist. She censored my autism, she completely rewrote everything I said. Writing that I wanted to become a doctor and that my inspirations were local heroes such as Tan Tock Seng.

I couldn’t sleep that night but everyone around me didn’t understand what I was going through. My classmates celebrating, my parents cheering for me. And then a call arrived from hong kong. A hong kong journalist came to me asking me for my story.

I was fking miserable at that time on video conference but I was made to put a smile and answer their questions. And thank god they were the only ones who published my desire to going into game dev and showcased my artwork too including my featured artwork on an alien garden which I made with UDK.

I could not get over it, and when I was in school I was consistently told by the vice principal to NEVER ever talk about video games again. I was a scholar and I should have bigger dreams.

“I just want to be like Monty Oum”
I said
Her” I’ve never heard of him, but you would be better off respecting our founding fathers and being a doctor. Don’t you want to find a cure for autism?”
Me”No, I love playing Halo, I want to work for Bungie or be a freelance vfx designer”

She ignored me on that. I endured Stomp articles, various articles by the media for those 3 months lies, people poking fun on my inability to eat properly due to autism. I hated the media and it taught me a damn fine lesson

Left wing, right wing, chinese, english, tamil or malay, all media is manipulative. They have a goal and they go to where traffic is the highest and find any words or quotes from that hotspot to report to satisfy the beliefs of their audience.

I never had a fking god damn say in any of it. And thats why I stopped studying. I hated the school and I knew anything in school that happened onwards for my grades was irrelevant. I started studying e-commerce and video games to build a large enough e-commerce or online service to generate capital to finally do what I do.

Don’t let others take away your voice, be in control of your own judgement. Theres so many people with the mob mentality and their pack leaders will do anything to feed them a fresh piece of news for them to chew on daily. My biggest regret that day was not just walking out entirely and getting my cert via mail.

Don’t say anything if you don’t mean it…..

Edit2: I posted a photo of one of the tailored articles earlier as you can no longer find the archived articles from 2010. But I’ll have to shelf it back for safety. Singapore isn’t exactly a free place, I fear the names and logos on the article may implicate parties.

Edit3: Guys the government has NOTHING to do with this, while I do not like the way things are run entirely this is a conflict between me and the teacher of which while I’m upset I do not blame them and I understand their wish to make a really big entry for their first N level Scholar. The reporters were told to edit my initial script by request of the teachers.

28 COMMENTS

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    This is bloody Singapore mentality; being a doctor, lawyer, or whatsoever which is perhaps “politically-social” correct is the only thing one should aspire to be… why these so-called educators wish to somehow stymied a young man’s own ambitions or thoughts? Those talks and lamenting of the lack in entrepreneurship among Singaporeans and “thinking small” mindsets are be set upon by such restrictive attitudes.

    Young people should be allowed to live their dreams; one could be successful in life without abiding to what society perceive who they should be. Sad and narrow-minded educators.

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    This is an inspiring story. There’s nothing to feel bad about what you want to do. I personally also don’t like video games but everyone is entitled to their own choices. So screw everyone else (pardon my language but it take a bit of courage to do it) and believe in your dreams – and keep making history.

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    When nothing wrong to be a gamer. As long as the youths could put in efforts and passion to be in the right path of pursuing his dreams.. who knows he could be the founder of some educational softwares who can make it big into international markets.. 🙂 most importantly, we can see him leading a positive life.

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    I love that he wants to be a game producer! Just goes to show how stiff necked and traditional the teachers’ and our society’s idea of success is. So, our schools are strait laced, 12th century, and dumb… makes me shiver in horror with that thought. I wonder how Singapore can truly progress with educators still bearing 12th century mind set.