IT'S a "family curse".
Her Chinese parents, who couldn't speak Mandarin, had to spend thousands of dollars to send her for Chinese tuition.
But she still did so badly for Chinese that she could not enrol in a polytechnic here. So she went to Australia to study and eventually got her degree there.
Now, it's deja vu for Madam Karen Boh.
The 39-year-old school administrator has been spending $1,000 on Chinese tuition for her two boys every month, but it has yielded little result.
Madam Boh is not alone.
In Parliament yesterday, MP Josephine Teo (Bishan- Toa Payoh GRC) raised a concern shared by parents like Madam Boh.
Sharing her story with The New Paper, Madam Boh described how this week, her elder boy Trystan Choong got his Primary 3 mid-year Chinese examination results. He scored a dismal 15 per cent.
The best result the eight-year-old ever got for Chinese was 29 per cent in Primary 2.
Not that he didn't try his best, Madam Boh told The New Paper recently when we visited the family at their three-storey home at Parry Terrace.
"Chinese has always been difficult for us. My friends used to laugh at me for speaking Mandarin in a weird accent.
"I am a "kiasu" mum. So I started sending Trystan for tuition when he was only four years old."
Now, for $600, Trystan goes for Chinese tuition twice a week.
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