A Social Studies guidebook which dissed the use of Singlish and eating at hawker centres isn’t MOE-approved

The Seconday 3 assessment book has a section on socio-economic status which has riled many social media users.
Facebook/Ahmad Matin

Elitism and privilege in Singapore has come under the spotlight in many ways over the past few years but now a Secondary 3 Express/Normal (Academic) assessment book has been added to that list.

The assessment book called the Complete Guide to GCE O-Level Social Studies Volume 1 published by MarketAsia Books has a section which touched on the potentially-sensitive topic of socio-economic status or what he called simply abbreviated as SES.

“Understanding SES is important because they help us understand societies better and enable governments to put in place more effective policies in dealing with health care, the rich-poor divide, aging, crime and education,” wrote the book’s author Rowan Luc.

The section juxtaposed examples of higher SES with those of lower SES, comparing what it claims are defining points of both ends of a person’s social standing.

Here’s what it said:

Facebook/ Ahmad Matin

Facebook user Ahmad Matin, whose profile listed him as a former teacher at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, posted photos its cover and the section on socio-economic status on March 12 with the caption: “Surprised this is even published. I am appalled!”.

His post, which also tagged the Ministry of Education (MOE), has been shared more than 5,200 times at the time of writing.

And of course, social media users wasted no time to express their displeasure at what they read.

A check on MOE’s website showed that the assessment book is not on its Approved Textbook list. It said that that all commercial textbooks and related materials will bear MOE’s stamp of approval.

Here’s what we found:

Ministry of Education