Friday, October 27, 2006

MENSA, Elitism and the Ultimate Truth!!!

I have always wanted to tell this story in my blog but never had the chance until the topic of elitism got so hot in recent days thanks to Ms Wee. MENSA Singapore will never admit that this story is true but it paints a positive picture about them so they shouldn't complain.


Many years ago when I was still in secondary school, I received a call from my classmate John Lim (not his real name) during the school holidays. I was so bored I would have gone along with any plan John had to spice up the holidays. We were students from an average (many would say below average, other would say below average, and a few people called it gangster school) secondary school. That time they did not publish PSLE results but my feel is we were probably in the lower 40 percentile.

John told me he wanted to take the MENSA test and wanted me to accompany him....and to make it worth my while he would pay the fees for me. John's logic was this ...if we pass the test, we would be smarter than the education system make us out to be and if we failed, we would be where we were (mentally) before we took the we actually have nothing to lose. To prepare for the test, we bought a few IQ books from a second hand bookshop at Bras Basah Complex.

We took the test and surprisingly both of us passed. Yes, we both have IQs in top 2% of the population. If it means anything to you, the writer (who sometimes has a problem with spelling) of the blog you're reading right now has an IQ higher than Albert Einstein! We were both elated and signed up for MENSA membership immediately. ...we felt like geniuses. Yes, we will get together with all these highly intelligent people and celebrate our special gift of superior mental agility. We now belong to this elite club of superior people so we thought....... Things didn't turn out as expected.

You see MENSA is a social club that organises activities for people from all walks of life to get together. There are govt clerks, lawyers, teachers if anything the people you see that make up MENSA is no different from an snapshot of people you find at the Funan Center food court. Once you get into MENSA, people don't celebrate their superior intelligence but engage in various social activities which include cooking, badminton etc. Its a club for making friends not a club for the mental elite to get together and learn how to be arrogant towards others.

So what is all this talk about high IQs of MENSA members. In MY OPINION, it is all hogwash. You see when you start a club you need to recruit people and get them to be interested enough to sign up. So what about the IQ test to select the top 2%? That is just a lure. You see when they say top-2% it includes millions of malnourished people in 3rd world countries who can't read or write because they have not been to school. Average people who have gone to school in Singapore should be able to pass the test after some practice - they just have to work on it. If you still don't believe this, here is the ABSOLUTE IRREFUTABLE PROOF....



My friend John did get his morale boosted by passing the MENSA test he went from an under achiever in a below average school to work hard and eventually get an MBA.

The worst thing an education system can do is label people as gifted or slow ('normal', non-gifted). Once people believe the failure is inborn it is a self fulfiling prophesy. Self confidence, discipline, and passion are usually more important ingredients for success.

The truth is there is no superiority in views of the people who believe themselves elite and everyone is worthy of expressing a good solid point. The idea of a free press is to allow all these viewpoints to surface.

MENSA starts by doing the right thing - making EVERYONE feel special for a start no matter how ordinary they are.

Class divisions of people are false, artificial and incorrect. Our society will function more efficiently if everyone is motivated by real opportunity and there shouldn't effort to direct excess resources and wealth to the power elite. Just as much as aid should be given to the need hassle free to preserve their dignity and give them a chance.

I leave you with this youtube video on how discrimination arises and how people can be divided by labelling: link. The video has 5 parts and here is the first:


Whispers from the heart said...

Lucky Tan,

you have won my heart beyond any doubt.

Gangster school sounds very cool leh?!

In RGS, I loathed how they would check for my skirt's length every monday morning. They must be certain inches below the knees.

I did not fancy short skirts intentionally. I did not have the heart to tell my parents to buy new uniform every year. My dad would have to dig out those few dollars from a biscuit tin he kept under his bed.

RGS was my first choice secondary school because, well, my teacher told me it was good for me since I topped the school every year. Those days, we were quite goondu.

I am grateful to my school but even more for my parents' biscuit tin!

Anonymous said...

The moral of the story just hit right on bull's eye on labelling.

Really, this story is really inspiring.

oh yes. that xiaxue sentence really cracked me up. HAHAHA

vesance said...

I like this article. It is necessary to have determination and confidence (not to the extent of being cocky). Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Now Lee is sending his grandson (Lee Hsien Yang's unruly son) to the Singapore American School (SAS) -- something Singaporeans cannot do, as they must attend only Singapore schools.

Addressing the Singapore American School (SAS), MM Lee said:

"I also had a grandson who could not fit into our schools. He had an IQ of 140, so he is not a stupid boy. But he was having trouble. His brother was scoring and he was not because he was dyslexic and he had to learn two languages - English and Chinese.

So, the Education Ministry allowed him to opt out of the system. We did not have the specialist teachers to cater for people like him. He joined the SAS and at your school, your teachers helped him cope with his dyslexia and in the process restored his self esteem and confidence, and he's done well. Your staff support the American community and they have brought benefits to Singaporeans. Thank you."

black eye kid said...

how come don't have part 5 one???

Anonymous said...

Dear All

I had on the morning of 25th October 2006 responded with biting criticism to the Straits Times report on MP Wee Siew Kim’s comments in defiant defence of his dear daughter.

I was totally disgusted by MP Wee’s comments which I will not let go pass untouched.

The ST’s Forum Editor had passed over my response and published another letter which was far less critical.

I am a strong proponent of freedom of expression, I will not stop at being silenced by elements of the mainstream press. Attached below is the letter that was targeted at our PAP AMK GRC MP Wee Siew Kim.

My purpose for publishing this letter is to encourage greater freedom of expression stronger and unrestrained criticism of the Ruling Party by all and I am taking the lead here.

Coincidentally, MP Wee made a statement in the press today which was of course published. This statement claims to be apologizing to the readers who were offended.

I have read MP Wee’s statement and I am not of the view that the apology is full and unreserved. I trust Singaporeans can come to their own conclusions on the matter.


I had read in amazement of what Ms Wee Shu Min had written in her blog. I ruminated on her statements and her lineage and illustrious background and after much thought, decided not to criticize her in spite of the callousness she had exhibited at such a tender age.

For to me, there is simply no reason to overreact to the ignorant bigotry of an 18 year old girl and that the matter is best left to rest after the barrage of criticism she met with on the internet.

However, when I saw the Straits Times report of 24th October 2006, I read with disgust what Ms Wee Shu Min’s father PAP MP for AMK GRC, Mr. Wee Siew Kim had said in brazen defence of his dear daughter justifying her callousness and adding further insult and injury to Singaporeans.

MP Wee, in his dismal attempt to soften the effect of his daughter’s ramblings, had sought to downplay the incident as a lack of sensitivity on her part and to quote him “Some people cannot take the brutal truth and that sort of language, so she ought to learn from it.”

Whilst the less discerning may opine that MP Wee has apologized on behalf of his daughter, in truth both father and daughter have exhibited no more empathy or remorse than when the remarks were first made in Ms Wee’s blog. MP Wee’s remarks albeit more diplomatic had in fact exhibited an even higher level of arrogance and lack of empathy.

MP Wee must note that her daughter has since removed the offending posting from her blog. That is itself discordant with the stance he exhibited in his interview in the Straits Times. One wonders whether the removal of the posting was a father-sanctioned public perception management exercise for damage control or was it a true indication of remorse and regret?

If indeed MP Wee had similarly been just as careless with his callous remarks, he ought to acknowledge so and then extend nothing short of an unreserved apology to all Singaporeans especially those who are in situations similar to that of Mr. Derek Wee.

And upon doing so, MP Wee should also take steps to inculcate the appropriate level of humility in his daughter and do so in an early stage of her life, for MP Wee must remember that the government that he backs has taken bloggers to court, punished and shamed them for the undue comments they have made similarly for a limited audience.

Whilst I do not hope that the current establishment gets richer as a result of whatever discussion that takes place, I do hope that the former does get a lot humbler and wiser for Singapore will need leaders who can truly empathize with the people instead of having to live with parrots perched tree high above ground and their dissonant cacophony of callouness and insensitivity.”

The PAP and its supporters are invited to attack this posting with unrestrained fervour.


Chia Ti Lik

Anonymous said...

another ELITE. why Singapore got so many FUCKING ELITES! KNNBCCB!

Anonymous said...

USA Peasants Shall Rise: All Your Base Belong To US

Poll: Middle class voters abandoning GOP

Kitana said...

I love this post. It was rather thought-provoking. The current system in Singapore, especially with the past programs of streaming and the GEP program and the segregation of schools, necessarily led to a lot of people being stigmatised and alienated, simply because they didn't develop as quickly as others, or because they weren't as academically inclined. Our system is too narrow and rigid and judges people based on paper qualifications. As a result, it demeans everything else that the individual possesses.

The number of people currently in prison is staggering. And a number of them, especially the younger ones, went in because they dropped out of school because of under-performance, because no one cared enough about them, and they believed that with nothing left to lose, the only way they could get out of their poverty trap, was through illegal means. I've been to the prisons and I've spoken to people.

Anonymous said...

What's shocking is the number of Singaporeans committing suicides each day. Well Straits Times and MediaCorp can cover most of them up but not the recent MRT case.

Go ask your friends working in insurance and banks, those who handles death claims will know. Maybe Wee Shumin can apply for an internship for these positions.

Matrix said...

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.

You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Anonymous said...

Emperor II: If you cannot pacify the peasants, I shall deliver your head to them.

Minister Wee: Yes ... yes my lord.

Anonymous said...

The PAP has no respect for the ordinary people of Singapore. Mr Wee's remarks is a manifestation of this lack of respect. The PAP never see themselves as serving the people but as overlords telling the people what is good for them.

The main reason for this disrespect is the people of Singapore have been stripped of their rights and powers after 4 decades of PAP.

The PAP does not feel accountable to the people of Singapore only to themselves. They feed the people with spin and PR...they think they can fool us all the time ...but now there is something called the Internet.

They delude themselves with this superiority complex and talk down to the people. But sorry lah, the ordinary people not stupid anymore, we don't just read the dumb down 146 ranked news paper called the Straits Times...the Internet will expose the PAP and strip the deception....

Anonymous said...

Yes, strip the PAP to bare underwear and rottan their backside with Singapore whimp for being so elite.

Strip and freeze their asset so they behave like commoner, and send them for retraining every here and them, having them paying the retraining programme.

Their son will study in gangster school, so that they understand why ppl become gangster because the society so fuck-up by the rich elite running Singapore who doesn't really care a fuck.

From elite: If you hit my son, and say something bad, I sue you for defamation.

If my son hit you, u have the right to be silent, any thing u say will be taken as evidence against you.

Sound familar ???>

Anonymous said...

Be an elite is okay but don't act like an ediot.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Gong Jiao Way - Talk Cock the PAP Way
Wee Siew Kim apologizes for his apology ... Strange, I thought Mr Wee also implied in his earlier apology that people should be able to stand by what they say?

Anonymous said...


"Family stopped asking for help" -- these five words magically absolve the politicians, those who act as the custodians of social welfare, from blame. Once someone stops asking for help, the problem has disappeared. Its no longer the State's business. The logical flow of the statement is this : "They stopped asking for help ... so how can we help them? ... they should have asked for help, there are so many schemes to help the needy."


Anonymous said...

Sunday October 29, 11:46 AM

Minimum wage rise is reasonable: Andrews Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews has defended last week's increase in the minimum wage as fair and reasonable in the prosperous economy. ...
"We are in a prosperous economy at the present time ... as I go around the country, wherever I go, business owners and proprietors say to me we simply can't find the number of people we need to do jobs." ...

Anonymous said...

They are very quiet these days especially after a major slip up from Mr Wee. They generally know when to talk, and how to avoid offensive languages. In other words, they can't afford to tell the truth and risk angering the public?

Anonymous said...

watch out for more propaganda/reminders on the local media to remind singaporeans how lucky they are, how good life in singapore is/will be.

Anonymous said...

Um, the 2% doesn't include millions of undernourished children. It's just calculated from the people who have actually taken the test. The highest 2% of all the people who have taken the IQ test, over time, are accepted into Mensa.

Anonymous said...

Author, you have been misinformed.

Firstly, there is no way to actually compare your IQ to that of Einstein's because Einstein never did have his IQ tested.

Secondly, Einstein's IQ has been /estimated/ at about 180 (some sources say 160). Considering that professional IQ tests have a ceiling of around 155, there is little chance you could have tested at a level high enough to even begin to compete with his IQ estimate.

Thirdly, a single IQ test score demonstrates nothing. The proper reporting procedure in IQ testing involves the publication of an IQ /range/ with a confidence interval statement. In other words, there is a degree of error involved in each and every IQ test and a single test has a fairly large chance of being quite badly wrong. Want to be sure? Take multiple tests. Even then, there remains a small chance they will all turn out wrong.

In the fourth place, it is unclear at the moment what IQ tests measure. They seem to be fairly good instruments for determining intelligence, but they aren't perfect and are based on a number of assumptions that many psychologists have criticized. They are still the best intelligence estimators we have at the moment though.

Next, being in the top 2% doesn't make you a genius. Considering there are 4 million people running around Singapore now, give or take a few thousand, there should be approximately 80,000 Mensa level people here on this tiny island alone. Not so very special after all, hm? (Of course, this is assuming that all national IQ distributions around the world are identical.)

Anyway, people in the 2nd percentile are very lucky. They are bright enough to succeed in the vast majority of human endeavours but are not so brilliant that they find it hard to form relationships with the rest of the world. To put this into context, the 2nd percentile corresponds to an IQ score of about 130. The mean IQ of university undergrads around the world is about 105. Someone in the top 2% should therefore sail through school unless he/she is underprivileged in some way (has emotional problems, is dirt poor, is malnutritioned, etc.) or is lazy/unmotivated/undisciplined.

Lastly, it is theoretically impossible to study for an IQ test. I say "theoretically" because some parts of some IQ tests are knowledge based and thus can be prepared for. Also, if someone leaked the test questions and/or answers to you, you could easily do better than you have a right to.

Basically, you are likely (but not certainly) a lot brighter than the school system here has led you to believe. School tests don't really work very well after all. However, from the sorts of arguments you have put forth in your post here, it sounds like you have not yet developed that intelligence sufficiently - your logical flow is weak. Of course, if you were not trying to argue anything in your post but were merely stating your personal opinions, ignore what I have just said.

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Hao Jun Tan said...

As a mensa member, I find this 'anti-elitism' mindset to be somewhat preposterous. Education and wealth can`t buy intelligence.
What I found to be most distinguished amongst our many members is this intellectual curiosity, this willingness to explore new ideas. In Mensa you can have a lengthy debate about otherwise' sensitive' topics like race and religion without upsetting people, something I don't think will be possible if our members were more diversified. Mensans come from all walks of life. Your implication that a high IQ necessarily correlates with a high socio-economical status speaks volumes about your education. Is living really only about money? When one has the mental aptitude it seems, one is more concerned about ones interest.
It is particularly amusing when the critics of Mensa do so with a fervency and rationale that, in many cases, explains their ineligibility

Anonymous said...

Dear Writer,
If Mensa allows practice before an IQ test, i feel it should be scrapped as it has failed to identify any true intellect. An IQ test is supposed to access an individual's thinking ability when met with a new situation, not how much he/she remembers from a guide book. Of course,anyone with an average level of intelligence are able to score well or be "smarter than Einstein" if they practiced hard enough before an IQ test, it is so similar to studying for a common exam. When you buy practice books to study for an IQ test,you gain knowledge and understanding, you would know more or less on how to answer those questions. You are more likely to score compared to someone who just saw the questions for the first time. I would say the writer or his friend, or anyone who "prepares" for an IQ test while scoring, are sitting within the "booksmart" scale.

Anonymous said...

What do u mean when u say even xiaxue can pass? She's not dumb in the first place. She got 260 for psle and went to study in one of the top schools, RVHS. Can any average joe score 260 for psle?

Anonymous said...

Author, here is a misconception.

Singapore Mensa uses a variant of Cattell 3a + 3b, which uses a standard deviation of 24, and a mean of 100.

So if you get 165, you are around 2.5 standard deviations from the norm, or at the top 1.5%.

Einstein's IQ was never known, so you cannot make comparisons. However, if you are using a standard deviation of 15, Einstein's supposed deviation IQ rounds off to 4 standard deviations, or the top 1/30000.

If you are using a ratio IQ of 160, a 160 ratio IQ corresponds to around a 150 deviation IQ using 15 as a SD, or one in 2000. Cattell-based IQ tests have a ceiling of around 3 SDs, slightly below the 150 level.

To say that you are smarter than Einstein using both estimates, you have to score (using 24 as an SD) 192 for the first estimate, and about 180+ on the latter.

Don't confuse the 2 scores together. Ratio IQ is not deviation IQ, and deviation IQ has many different scales and S.D/mean values.

Also, if you sat for the Cattell test, it only measures a few attributes at best. Verbal (ceiling of only 2.5 SDs) and Matrices (ceiling of only 3.5 SDs). The WAIS-III and WAIS-IV measures up to 155 and 160 using 15 as an SD, on 11-12 different subtests, as opposed to only 2, to obtain a full-scale IQ.

To get an IQ above 160 (using 15 as 1 SD), you have to take the Stanford Binet LM when you are very young, so the scores can go up to 180+ ratio IQ. 180+ ratio IQ is around 162 deviation IQ using 15 as an SD.

Sorry to break it out to you. But you are not even close to Einstein's intellect. Snap out of the delusion.

If you want to know how a deviation IQ 160 (15 SD) person actually functions, I know one, who is the real deal. Read thousands of books. Photographic memory. Read all of Shakespeare at 8. College algebra finished at 10. Now working on some grand unified theory spanning hundreds of pages.

THAT is the real deal.

Anonymous said...

If you wish to compare your cognition to someone with 160+ deviation IQ, just perform a digit span test.

If you can hear a 12 digit number JUST ONCE, and recall it forward, backwards, and sequence it in numeric order, then you will max out the digit span test of the WAIS.

An average person will get only 7 forward, 4 backward, and 3 or 4 sequenced.

If you get this score on the digit span test, you have 9 scaled points deduced from your overall full-scale IQ, which means your IQ is at best 153. That is just 1 test out of 12 tests. I won't mention how many points will be deducted from the rest.

I cannot reveal the questions on the information section. 4 of the questions deal with Greek and English literature, of works so obscure, that if you have not read a single piece of work in these area = -4 points out of 29. 3 on Western history never taught in Singapore schools. -7 if you miss them. = -4 scaled points.

Your IQ is now down to 149. From 2 sections. Vocabulary? Many are GRE-level words. 10 out of 30 of them are. -20 raw score = -5 scaled points.

IQ down to 142. 9 more subtests more to go.

Anonymous said...

Highly gifted kids is not all rosy. They have their fair share of frustration with a fast pace brain fitted in a small body and juggling emotions. Support groups are there to challenge them, to let them know that they are not alone. If a fairly smart person preps for the test then sit for it. You are just cheating yourself. But if you are truly scoring well, then it is sad that you are then an underachieving gifted person and the gift you have did not get a chance to turn into a talent.
The higher the scores, the higher the sensitivity, ... with 2 highly gifted kids..