Cassandra Decoded

Today has been an exciting day. I finally decoded why my baby girl has morphed into a vomit-blood inducing kid since late last year. The more I spend time with her, the closer I was to decoding this enigmatic child.  And this evening, the enigma was decoded!

After her shower in the afternoon, Cass was all excited over having me revise English with her as tomorrow is her English test ~ her favorite subject.  I was surprised. I thought Cass has lost her mojo to study and her raging pre-teen hormones are wrecking havoc. But it wasn’t the case.  After just half an hour with Cass, I told her that I was done revising with her.   But Cass was pleading with me to do more with her. The level of English competency at SJKC and SRK is pretty easy for any kid coming from an English speaking family, especially if the kid also loves reading English novels.  Cass’ English competency is advanced for her age as she reads a LOT of English novels and like Sherilyn, she loves everything English.

Cass – that’s it with revision?  Can you ask me more advanced questions? Can I try doing Standard 6 test papers?  (Cass is only in Standard 4) I need to do more revision.  You haven’t even gone through all the books with me yet!

Me – I don’t know what else to go through with you. We have covered everything already. We have been going through the same Grammar for 4 years.  You already know all the idioms in the list. I think you can score 100% if you are NOT careless. And mind your horrendous handwriting. Make sure it is legible. OK?

This afternoon, I gave Cass a past year Science exam paper to practise.  In under an hour, done hurriedly so that her tutor can mark it, she completed 40 questions and  made 3 careless mistakes. Unlike Chinese and BM exam papers, Cass had the focus to sit at the table to finish answering all the Science questions without begging for breaks every 10 minutes.

Cass working on an online past year English exam paper:

And then the light bulb moment came. Why didn’t Cass have  any complaint completing the Science exam paper? Why does she choose English, Math and Science test papers over BM and Chinese all the time when given an option to choose? And why are her Math and Science grades so much better than BM and Chinese?  Why does she find practising scales and piano classical pieces a big bore but can play Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and Despacito by hard and keeps playing her favorite pop songs and Christmas carols over and over again?


I finally decoded my enigmatic child!

And the answer lies in Chinese and BM, her two weakest subjects.  These two subjects are boring her to the core. Sometimes she does not know how to read a Chinese character or does not understand a Malay word. When there are a few words in a questions that she can’t read or does not understand, she won’t be able to answer the question.  And this is killing her academic interest.

Cass’ BM vocab is very limited, so is her Chinese.  No matter how many times I have gone through the same BM words with her, she seems to have dementia each time she comes across the same words.  She hardly ever reads BM story books or speak in BM and does not have interest in Chinese novels except for the occasional comics. She communicates with her friends in English most of the time.  She finds Chinese grammar and BM Tatabahasa a big drag. She has always been questioning me why she has to be sent to a Chinese school.

By nature, if we find something boring and have little interest in it, we tend not to listen or read anything related to it. I would always fall asleep at a boring seminar or training course.

Forcing Cass to have a liking for BM and Chinese would only be counterproductive.  She is already in Primary 4 and I want her to have a proper closure to what she has started. She still loves being in her school though. She loves her friends and her teachers.  Sadly her two besties will be leaving the Chinese school next year for international schools.  Cass will most likely stay in the same school and complete her UPSR exam in 2 years’ time. At the same time,  I may be planning ‘something’ for Cass, which I can’t reveal yet. All I can say for now is that Cass will most likely be in a different path as her two sisters when she goes to high school.

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