Who is the Mensa membership really for?

Who is the Mensa membership really for?
PHOTO: The New Paper

Meet George Wee.

He is a maths whiz who can solve all his Primary 4 problem sums.

But George is only six and still in kindergarten.

He is so smart, he was accepted into the Mensa Singapore, a non-profit organisation for the high IQ society.

George is not the youngest, though.

The youngest ever accepted here is a two-year-and-two-month-old boy who was accepted last November.

"George loves maths problems and reads science books all the time," said his mother, Mrs Gwenda Wee, 34.

"The thing about George is he picks up skills very quickly."

While other children are learning their ABCs, George is solving sums like: What is "A" when 2A + 4 = 6. That's algebra.

"Algebra is interesting. It has both letters and numbers," said George. "I want to learn what it's about."

His sister, Genevieve, was also accepted into Mensa. She is only four.

When asked if they have high IQs, their parents, who are both engineering graduates from Nanyang Technological University, said they were just "normal people".

To confirm if their bright children are gifted, more parents are sending their children for psychological tests.

The Singapore chapter of Mensa stopped testing children under 14 about seven years ago, but will accept psychological reports.

Why are parents pushing their children to get tested?

Dr Lily Wong, executive director of Advent Links-SAUC and Education Centre for Children and Family Studies, said: "When parents register for their kids to be in Mensa, it really isn't for the child.

"I personally think it is for the parents. They want their children to be ahead of everyone else.

"So what if your child gets accepted into Mensa? They may be intelligent enough to answer complicated questions, but are they intelligent enough to live the rest of their lives? That, to me is the more important question."

'BORED'

Mrs Wee said she registered George and Genevieve with Mensa because she wants them to be with other people like them.

She said: "George tells me that when he goes to school, he gets bored in class because the work is too easy for him.

"Hopefully, being a part of Mensa will help them socialise with people of their calibre in the future."

Her husband, Mr Wee Keng Han, 36, a junior college chemistry teacher, added: "For now, all they receive are e-mails from Mensa about activities, but most of them are for kids slightly older than them.

"We'll just wait for George and Genevieve to get a bit older before they can start going for the activities."

Smart children

George and Genevieve Wee were recently accepted into Mensa Singapore, which organises six tests a year.

It accepts members who score at the 98th percentile or higher on approved IQ tests.

That means they represent the top 2 per cent of the population.

The Straits Times reported that since 2011, Mensa Singapore has taken in around 70 per cent more children under 10 each year.

In the last four years, seven children who are around the age of 2½ have joined the society.

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