Friday, July 04, 2008


So it was on Wed 2 July 2008 that I was on a bus at 1.20pm when I got a call from home. Over the loud TVMobile din of the bus, I could barely hear what Isaac had to say. Or maybe I just could not believe my ears. I had to ask him to repeat a few times before it sank in.

Isaac is officially exempted from Chinese. The MOE application came through!

Wow. I sat there, feeling stunned, stomach knotted, heart beating so fast I thought it was about to stop. Such a big weight off. It worked. We should have done this earlier, what was I so afraid of? All these thoughts just ran through me at lightning speed.

I was tearing away in the bus as I messaged friends and family the good news. Mom messaged back: Good for him so the $1000 is worth it got little bit of sambal prawns for you. Prosaic mom and her kooky SMS skills. Always makes me smile. And sambal prawns - oh icing on the cake!

Yes, mom is right. Well worth the psychological evaluation fees we had to cough up. $1000 seemed like so much to us to part with on a gamble. But it really was worth it after all. I called KH, who was also overjoyed at the news and stunned that it was so quick. We had expected MOE to respond in at least a month's time. We never expected them to come back so quickly - I think it was only about 3 weeks since I submitted the application to the school and for them to send to MOE.

Maybe it was cut and dried - after all, he is on the autism spectrum disorder and his low phonemic awareness scores is good reason enough. There would be no way he could ever pass Chinese no matter how hard he struggled. His brain is just not programmed to do this.

I came home and asked Isaac to tell me how Mr Lim had told him the news. He said he was called out of class (a very interesting class too since the teacher was talking about sexuality and was showing the class a condom!!) and Mr Lim handed him the letters from MOE with a brief "Congratulations Isaac. You are exempted." After which Isaac told his best pal Patrick, eliciting sighs of envy and "Argh, you're so lucky..."

I read the letter over and over again, hardly daring to believe that it was right there - but it was. It was just one line. The word 'approved' is underlined. As if it sensed that parents like me would be whooping with joy and struggling with disbelief and shock at the same time, and needed the underline to emphasise the point.

We celebrated with French food that night. Took the kids out for a nice dinner at La Petite Cuisine at Serene Centre where the kids tried French food for the first time. KH and I love the traditional confit du canard, and I of course love the foie gras. The kids had a taste of this and their own simple pasta with ham in creme sauce - also yummy. We ended the night with our usual ice-cream treat at Island Creamery.

Its been two days since we learned the good news and I'm still feeling wonder everytime I think about it.

The exchange between Cait and Isaac in the car on the way to Serene Centre that night summed it up.

Cait: "Eh kor, I prayed for you to get exemption and God heard me! That's why you got exemption!"

Isaac: "What? Hey you're not the only one who prayed you know? That doesn't mean that He heard only YOUR prayer! I also prayed very hard you know!" (Oh, an eye-opener. I never guessed it meant that much to him to be exempted - always thought he was pretty blase about it!)

Me: "So did I! So we should all give thanks to God! And Isaac, please thank your sister for praying for you!"

And me? I thank God for all His tender mercies and gifts. He is good to us indeed.


Anonymous said...

Congrats. I'm glad this load is finally off your mind!

My mum SMSes like yours :P

Frond said...

Grats... so happy for you and him... I remember my relief at not having to do PSLE Chinese too...

Anonymous said...

good news! barbs