A depressing day in Tanjong Katong Primary School

A 12 year old girl, Peony Wee, lost her life on a mountain trekking trip to Mount Kinabalu when an earthquake hit the mountain. 2 teachers and 7 more students are still missing. The students were there for leadership training as part of their wholesome education and investment for the future. Our education process is top notched, our students did not just go to school to learn the 3Rs but a lot of other ECA and character development programmes to make them leaders of tomorrow. Only a rich country like ours could afford such a comprehensive and enriching programme unlike the developing countries. Hopefully the product of our expensive education system will produce useful graduates for the economy in the future. If only this comprehensive system was introduced earlier, our PMETs would not be in dire straits today.

While we pray for the safe return of the missing students and teachers, maybe we should take the opportunity to reflect, with hindsight, how much we want to do with our children to make them better adults in the future. Mountain climbing for 12 year olds to me is a bit far fetched though many would thing it is normal and good. The overall picture is that all outings, even within Singapore, would incur some form of risk and could turn into tragedy if fate is unkind.

The Korean ferry tragedy is still vivid to many and still being mourned by the parents of those children that were gone. I thought that would have been food for thought to rein back some of the activities of the schools. Apparently our overseas trips and programmes for students are in full swing and students are encouraged to travel around the world, to many distant countries for all round character development. This is very good if everything turns out fine.

The question is that should schools be involved in such overseas trips that often benefits a few that could afford the cost and many that could not and could only envied? Should such trips be left to the parents and families to their own fancy and not involved the schools? It is good to have such programmes, a great outing, a great holiday to remember of. But as to the real value, it is subjective especially for very young children.

Maybe the MOE may want to rethink and look at the bad side if things did not turn out right like this case. Tragedy that can be avoided shall be avoided. The process of growing up and learning is a life time experience and there is no urgency to do it at the primary or even secondary school level. The biggest training programme and character development will come when the boys get enlisted into NS. That is solid training to turn boys to men at the appropriate time, and if danger is part of the process of growing up, NS training is full of it.

The Mount Kinabalu tragedy is still unfolding and could be worse. 9 are still missing. We do not need a bigger tragedy of the South Korean dimension to regret and think it is unwise to expose our children to it. Let the parents bring their children to Disneyland or the African jungle if they so choose to. The principals and teachers do not need to live with such memories and to regret the rest of their lives.

The Americans are great adventurers and love to go to war to return as victors and heroes. But when the brave young men and women return in body bags, the pain and hurt will last a life time. Having fun is one thing and everyone loves to have fun. Think of the consequences and ask if it is necessary. Is it something that must have or good to have or nice to have but not really necessary?


Anonymous said...

After this incident, I think this will greatly affect the overseas trips organised for students.

And I think this may not be a bad thing, if it can help lessen the financial burden and dilemma of less well off parents having to decide on sponsoring such trips for their children, which is getting so common nowadays.

As for me, and many others of my cohort, I took my first flight only in my 20s, not even during NS.

Goh said...

Years back I have mentioned in blog to consider abolishing such trips to avoid such mishaps but sad that it still happened.
Doesn't mean that one can grow another pair of leg or hand after returning.
These trips are not healthy and a burden to many parents and student will start to compare whose parent are rich to sponsor them for such oversea trips.These may cause people like me to have inferiority complex if I am the student if my parent can't afford. It caused me to be inferior till today.

Talking about losing of life, reminded me of my ah kong who ever told me that having a proper name for our future children are oso important else its as good as losing them one day, whether they missing or not.He was a fortune and disaster teller.

My deepest sympathy to the parents who lost their love one.

Goh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

While I am in favor of promoting resilience, I am still shocked to learn that primary school kids are going to the extent of climbing 4200m KK mountain in Sabah ! While this is a relatively easy climb for the first 3200m, as. Out of it are steps all the way up, but it has to be done in a single day and can be very demanding for a novice climber who may have to deal with altitude sickness and breathing difficulty if any. And once you get to base camp, climbers have to get up in wee morning at 3am to begin the final ascent to the summit. The latter part is the. Ozy gruesome and many adults had had to turn back due to the steep climb and bad weather. I can't imagine our primary school would allow such a difficult outings at this age. Besides, if any danger were to happen, as in this unexpected earthquake, how does the school or MOE think students can reasonably respond to life and death emergencies like this.? If this were meant for secondary school, it would not have been worse, but we are tLking about primary school children! Why couldn't they begin with mc Richie , at Palau ubin or other islands activities to begin with?? Is there really such a need to push for such extreme climbing event at this early stage of their school life?

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ Sunday "sermon" talking nonsense, RB:

>> While we pray for the safe return of the missing students and teachers, <<

Pray? To whom exactly....oh... to the god whose will it is to KILL kids. It is god's will that they should die. God kills an estimated 19,000 kids a day lah, it's his JOB...so a few more here and there, quite acceptable lah... So shut the fuck up lah. ;-)

The 9 still missing are probably dead. Might as well expect the worst, and prepare psychologically (if that's even possible!). This was a BIG quake. One of the "ears" at Donkey's Peak snapped off. Now, how many thousand tonnes do you think that piece of rock is? Don't fuck around with seismic activity. When nature kicks ass, it leaves no quarter.

>> maybe we should take the opportunity to reflect, with hindsight, how much we want to do with our children to make them better adults in the future. <<

Maybe you should just leave the kids alone. You've done enough damage already by organising and micro-managing them. You don't allow them to "discover", to "play", to "tinker", to make errors and learn...all you want to do is tell them what's what kachau and kay poh until the poor kid loses all his identity, and his narrative of "reality" is constricted by the text-book view FORCED on him by adults: parents, teachers, MoE, The State.

>> Tragedy that can be avoided shall be avoided. <<

Whahahahhahaha....what a fucking ridiculous statement! Hey Uncle Kotek...every decision to act (or even not to act) has risks lah. There is NO WAY to predict "Black Swan" events.

We live on a semi-solid cooling planet, which has a "crust" made up of buttressed and overlapping (tectonic) plates which "float" on a viscous molten slurry of rock and minerals. The shit is constantly moving, and in weak spots, the molten shit will burst out---we call this vulcanism. The fucking dumb unscientific ancients used to think an angry god did this shit to take "revenge" on the wicked humans. Apparently, this theory is still alive today! WTF!!??

Actually, I like this theory of an angry god taking revenge. It's just like the demigod Lee "Knuckledusters" Fuck Yew Up smashing his political rivals, LIKE A BOSS!. However, all this god-shit just ain't true, so I go with science...which can be wrong, which unlike religion that claims it is NEVER wrong.

Finally, RB asks a valid question (saving grace):

>> Should such trips be left to the parents and families to their own fancy and not involved the schools? <<

Yes, there has been little or no dialogue on this. As usual, when it comes to kids, no one really gives a fuck. They just go with theory, deeper theory and more over-analyzed hypotheses. They leave the kids out of any discussion. Parents, MoE and teachers jibber jabber...but who ever bothers to ask the kids...the people who are MOST AFFECTED by the adult's decisions.

BTW, this is not the first shake-up. Obviously something has shifted in the tectonics surrounding Kinabalu. Will the new tectonic positions hold, or are they unstable and prone to more shifting in the future? In my non ex-spurt opinion, more shifting will occur. There will be more quakes. Count on it.

Anonymous said...

ST reported they are all dead. The nine children. Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Did I hear Leedership Training?
Or is it Leadership training?
But I certainly did not hear Hitler's Youth Training.

Anonymous said...

The climb up Mount Kinabalu may be difficult.
But the former North Korean Leader completed the climb shortly after he turned 3 years old.
Or at least that's what I thought the North Korean States Time say.

Anonymous said...

That Primary School Kids be led to climb Mt Kinabalu is a shade too hard to believe? That is not Bukit Timah hill. And for leadership training?

If those kids do not come back, who are we going to blame? Parents? Principals? MOE?

Anonymous said...

If those kids do not come back, who are we going to blame? Parents? Principals? MOE?
June 07, 2015 1:55 p.m.

Tiok. And if GIC and Temasek lose money, who are we going to blame?

Anonymous said...

Sad. and you got a monkey coming here to act like a sade sage.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The full list of casualties. Lost for words.

Rachel Ho Yann Shilin, 12, (F)
Sonia Jhala, 12, (F)
Emilie Giovanna Ramu, 12, (F)
Ameer Ryyan bin Mohd Aded, 12, (M)
Navdeep Singh Jayral s/o Raj Kumar, 13, (M)
Karyl Mitzi Higuit Matahom, 12, (F) – (Filipino student studied at TKPS)
Wee Ying Ping Peony, 12 (F) – (Body recovered Friday)
Mohammad Ghazi b Mohamed, 35, (M) – (Teacher)
Loo Jian Liang Terrence, 29, (M) – (Teacher)
Muhammad Daanish b Amran, 22, (M) – (Guide from SG)

Anonymous said...

Out of 10, only 3 have Chinese sounding names. Just an observation only, nothing more.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

I swear, as I live and breathe, motherfucking religiosity and its gullible fear-driven fools will consistently irritate me...case in point, the quake at Mt Kinabalu.

From The Star online:

[quote] The 7.17am earthquake in Ranau may have been caused by aki (mountain protectors) angered over tourists who stripped and urinated at Mount Kinabalu.

A Sabahan web developer, who declined to be named, half-jested that the recent incident of naked, urinating tourists at the sacred site made “mountain spirits mad”.

Can you believe this SHIT?!? And the "logic" supporting it: Mat Saleh tourists piss on mountain and pose yaya payaya for naked selfies, then upload to the net so all their mates can have a good laugh.

Mountain spirits get angry, decide to KILL 13 people, many of them CHILDREN. WTF kind of "logic" is this? WTF kind of temper tantrum spoilt angry child kind of "spirits" are these who kill indiscriminately because of their "anger issues"?!?

Scenario 1 Location: somewhere in the Spirit World, around dawn, Friday: "Eh, PUKI MAK, Minggu lepas pelancong Mat Saleh gila terkencing atas gunung dan bermain bogel...babi sial kongkek ibu mereka !! Marilah kita membunoh orang, kongkek pantat mereka betul-betul, sampai pecah dan busuk....Wa hai!!

Lihat, di sana! Ada orang mendaki gunung sekarang. Wa hai! Ada kanak-kanak sekolah! Dan guru-guru sekolah mereka! Wa hai! Nasib kami BAGUS sekali. Marilah kita pergi membunoh mereka!!"
Spirits invoke big-ass earthquake. Giant rocks roll downhill instantly turning humans into ground meat...Local tribe of indigenous fuckwits "rejoice" in the retribution from the Spirit World.

Scenario 2 Location: everywhere. People are PRAYING for "heaven" to spare the lives of their kin...but do they ever stop to even be grateful and THANK the Search and Rescue Teams, or any of the first responders? Yeah, a bit. Token gestures. But "god" gets the credit for "sparing" some lives. However, he also apparently KILLS others...Twisted "logic" lah.

All that shit drives me crazy. I'm already crazy. Fuck all this religious bullshit. Happy Sunday. Avoid church. Save your mind, by sacrificing...your soul πŸ˜‡πŸ˜ˆ


This is a tragedy. It is horrible to lose kin, especially kids. Religious belief makes it WORSE. Religiosity INSULTS the intelligence and disrespects the HUMANITY of people who have to suffer the emotional and physical pain of this random, unpredictable event.

Religion is CRUEL, especially cruel in times of death and loss. According to its “defenders”, religion offers “comfort” to the grieving. Yeah? Really? The poor parents who have lost their kids have to accept that some spirit or god took their children for some unspecified or convoluted bullshit reason? That their pain is supposed to serve some “higher purpose”?

Religion offers no comfort. It forces upon the grieving psychologically dangerous NONSENSE. It it CRUEL. It is HEARTLESS. It makes a bad, horrible situation even WORSE…and there is no “positive” benefit, other than bolstering the idea religion—toxic, twisted, sick religion—as “true”, and thus “legitimising” faith and belief as something “good” for humanity.

To the grieving: sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

According to the Vulcan Post (https://vulcanpost.com/268491/sabah-16-earthquakes-in-20-years/), this is the 16th earthquake recorded in Sabah over the last 20 years. Out of the 16 earthquakes, 12 happened over the last 10 years. The most recent one that happened at Mount Kinabalu was LAST YEAR in 2014. Surely, the relevant authorities should do some form of risk assessments before they allowed such trips to go ahead?

It is heartwrenching for those who have lost their loved ones in this manner and it is only appropriate for us to grieve with them.

Anonymous said...

"Surely, the relevant authorities should do some form of risk assessments before they allowed such trips to go ahead?"
June 07, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Do you think Temasek and GIC got do "some form of risk assessments before they allowed their investments to go ahead?"

Parents must do their own risk assessments and not depend on teachers, schools, principals or Minister of Education.
Voters must do their own risk assessments and not depend on LKY, LHL or PAP to tell us who are the best candidates to vote into parliament.

Anonymous said...

Gila Matilah, so you are smarter and cleverer?

You already gila, so what is new about you?

b said...

Schools should ban all school trips. They are all about corruption, bribes and profit making. Never about the welfare of the kids.

patriot said...

Blame no one except Nature in this sad tragedy. No one expected the Quake.

Without the Earth Quake, me am sure the Students and Teachers would have enjoyed their trip.

Now that Nature has taken its toll, the right thing to do is to give whatever help anyone can give to the Affected Families.

Condolences to the Families and wish that they remain strong.


Anonymous said...

In Japan, the leader would hara-kiri already.
Same with Korea and Taiwan.
In Singapore ... how ah?

Anonymous said...

"In Singapore ... how ah?"
You got sign consent form or not?
- so what do you think?

Virgo49 said...

In Singapore they give you Remembrance Day.

The PM can said at least they took up challenge. Challenge to their DEATH??? Not his kids die hoh!!

In Korea, PM resigned.

Sin MOE Minister resigned??????????????????????????????????

Fat Hope, not in our culture.

We will put up solemn and sad faces for a while.

After that, we shall move on.

Goh said...

Alamak patriot 5.08
You claim to be a nature lover in blog and I am surprise that you say blame no one except Nature here.
Nature oso got temper.If you dun kachiao them they are unlikely to lost temper.How can you blame Nature.
Human are partly to be blame for the inability to assess the risk especially after so many earthquakes .
Do not suka suka blame Nature.Nature never ask you to disturb their peace.
My Sabahan friend ever told me something about Mt KK..
My deepest sympathy.

Goh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virgo 49 said...

Hi Agongkia, you are absolutely right!

Mount KK is angry

The disrespectful whites who went everywhere thinking they can do whatever they want by stripping at Mt KK caused the earthquake and many innocent lives lost

These bastards loved by the PAPies. Come to sinkieland and walk round the island naked with those half baked yellow bananas SPG and see the earthquakes happening in sink ka pore

patriot said...


You are absolutely right that me loves nature. And me oso absolutely submit myself to nature despite me absolutely abhor pain, aging and death, natural or otherwise.

I must agree with You that mankinds MUST NOT destroy or disturb nature.


Videos: Via Ferrata Mountain Climbing said...


Short video: Mt Kk Via Ferrata trail

Looks far more difficult, tougher and more dangerous than even army training.

More videos on Via Ferrata mountain climbing:



Some online video reports on the aftermath of Mt KK and video footage/ accounts of some survivors: