One by one, Singaporean celebrities are revealing their PSLE scores in support of the #LifeBeyondGrades movement

Screenshot of the Instagram account for the Life Beyond Grades movement.
Instagram / lifebeyondgrades

Just last week, five Singaporean parents launched a Life Beyond Grades movement aimed at getting other parents to move beyond the relentless pursuit of their children’s grades.

A report by The Straits Times revealed that the five founders of the initiative —Ms Tjin Lee, Ms Charmaine Seah, Mr Derek Ong, Ms Aarika Lee and Ms Dolores Au — think that the immense pressure to perform well academically is leading to a growing number of depressed and stressed-out youths in Singapore.

A social media campaign has been launched this week and it will feature a total of 65 people, a mix of those who had not done well for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), and also, those who scored good grades.

These participants will share personal stories on how, despite their PSLE grades, they still managed to succeed in their future professions.

Here are a few local personalities who have stepped forward to show their support for the #LifeBeyondGrades movement on Instagram:

Chen Bangjun, local actor, sharing his PSLE score on Instagram.
Instagram / lifebeyondgrades

As local actor Mr Chen Bangjun wrote in his Instagram post above: “Looking back, those numbers mean nothing, so why the hell are we so focused on it?!”

The father of two wrote that he wants his children to understand that no one should determine what “success” means to them, but themselves.

(From left) Joakim Gomez and Sonia Chew, 987FM DJs, sharing their PSLE scores on Instagram.
Instagram / joakimgomez

DJ Joakim Gomez wrote: “We have different paths in life…if we judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, then it’s the thinking of the world that needs to change. Not you.”

DJ Sonia Chew also posted this picture on her Instagram account, where she wrote that her parents “gave me lots of support and encouragement, and believed that I would excel at something on my own”.

She added: “If there’s anything I hope for, is for kids nowadays to grow up in a positive environment that isn’t shrouded by academic stress.”

Jason Tan, co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Corner House, sharing his PSLE score on Instagram.
Instagram / lifebeyondgrades

Award-winning chef Jason Tan confessed that with a PSLE score of 190, he had to live up to an elder brother who topped his cohort in his PSLE exams.

He added: “Starting off as a dishwasher and kitchen helper at the age of 15… I worked my way up, equipping myself with life’s experience that could not be replicated academically.”

Those featured in the campaign include Ms Ginette Chittick, a lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts who scored 197 points for her PSLE. Later in life, she hit her stride in fashion and design, earning a Master’s in Design from Lasalle, where she now heads the diploma programme in fashion.

Ms Jaelle Ang, entrepreneur and board member of Playeum, is featured in the campaign but she scored well (270) in her PSLE.

She wrote: “This is my PSLE score. It did not prepare me for life.”

Some people think that the campaign is sending a contradictory message by featuring someone who did so well for PSLE, but others have responded to justify the reason behind featuring her.

The conversation between two people who have commented on Jaelle Ang’s post.
Instagram / lifebeyondgrades



The campaign’s team also shared their PSLE scores.

Ms Tjin Lee scored 235 points, Ms Au (237), Ms Aarika Lee (198), Ms Charmaine Seah (218) and Mr Ong (226).

This year’s PSLE will officially start on Sept 27.

The Life Beyond Grades campaign hopes to “address the over focus on getting an ‘A’ – and instead, value and champion the development of traits such as perseverance, passion, innovation and resilience”.