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Singapore Student Suicidal Rate Increases

Another celebrity retires residency in Singapore due to fear of increasing rate of student suicide in the country. The famous host of Asia’s Next Top Model (ASNTM), Nadya Hutagalung recently revealed on Twitter that the rise of student suicidal rate every year pushed her to leave Singapore along with her entire family. On her Twitter she posted, “Kids need to be kids. The youth suicide rates are high and unreported.”

The 39-year old TV host, model, eco-activist and jewellery designer is a mother to 3 kids, Tyrone,20; Fynn 12; and Nyla,6.

Nadya Hutagalung

Her tweet explaining her concern to the increase of student suicide in Singapore was supported by a link to an article that exposes the youth suicide rate in the country. Singapore Democratic Party which hosts the link found in Hutagalung’s tweet posted the article “Why do We Do This to our Children”. The article clearly revealed the cases of students who mercilessly end their lives due to pressure in school or getting poor grades on exams.

As opposed to American and Japanese students who are normally saddened by loss of friend or death of parents, Singaporean students experience more fear on failed grades. The article further describes the drawback of exerting too much pressure onto students to excel in school. As explained, “We must not subject our children to such crippling school pressures that are psychologically maimed and, in some cases, have their young lives taken.”

For the same reason, Moe Alkaff, local entertainer and a popular TV show host in Singapore, also left the country in 2000. Alkaff rather chose to reside in United States as he fears that the rigid education system might create negative effect on his kids. His decision to migrate was also encouraged by his wife’s wish to be close to her family.

Moe Alkaff

Source: vrforums.com

At the moment, Alkaff together with his children Shamzi,11 and Zara, 9 have comfortably settled in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Mr. Alkaff, during his interview by Moezik Events International clearly expressed his thoughts about the difference of Singapore and US educational training to kids.

“The education system is pretty stiff here (Singapore), it has created great people but is there enough creativity?” he asked. “I want my kids to be street smart. The schools there (Colorado) are different. They take some subjects from Singapore, like math, but the rest involves a lot about their social abilities in terms of being creative, so my kids always come back with projects to do for school. I like that because they get parents involved too.”

Suicide cases last 2012 climbed to 30% to hit a 20-year high – that was a total of 467 cases as compared to 361 cases during the previous years. This alarming fact has triggered a wake-up call for Singaporeans.

1. What is Pressure?
Merriam-Webster defines pressure as the burden of physical or mental distress. According to Palo Alto Medical Foundation, academic pressure doesn’t only happen to college students. The nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, burnouts and depression are also obvious in many younger students.

2. How Does it Occur and Affect Students Learning?

“Do School Put Too Much Pressure on Kids”, an essay from www.civilserviceindia.com observes extreme pressure put onto kids on school these days. School children are always seen carrying a huge bag of books and notebooks along with them as they go to and return from school. From the 1st student to the 10th student in the class, all of them face a huge pressure to excel. Nowadays, young students want to come first and nobody wants to be the last.

All these expectations from elders and the competition with their peers cause young students to pursue their best, and oftentimes, beyond what they can bear. Slow learners are often the ones who get the extra burden as they are pushed to perform more than what their mind can offer.


Students and the pressure put onto them to excel in class often induces fear – the fear that they might fail and disappoint their teachers and parents. This fear can either bring them the motivation to study hard or distraction to concentrate in class. Some students who are poor in managing pressure often end their lives and the cases are slowly increasing.

3. How should we manage our student/children’s mental health when we are teaching them?

There can be many ways for a child to be educated without excessive pressure. Children are natural learners. They are born with the thirst to learn about the phenomenon surrounding their lives and we can tap on this curiosity to fuel their innate drive for learning. Parents are natural teachers. They play a major role in honing their child’s learning skills through their voice and actions. Explaining why things happen to them can make them more eager to learn.

About.com on their article about “8 Ways to Teach your Child” states the importance of being gentle to kids when helping them learn their lessons. Kids learn the most by watching what you do thus, if you want them to learn, set a good example through your behavior. Initiating force to children to learn or excel in class is never advised.


As the famous line from Elaine Maxwell states, “Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force,” children must be allowed to learn on their own pace. With guide of teachers and support of parents, kids can eventually find their own time and way to do well in school without the use of force.

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