Lo remembers that in the first interview, the interviewer showed her son three photographs showing the leaders of the US, Taiwan and Japan respectively. The boy was asked to identify the president of Taiwan. Lo thinks the question was very challenging for a five-year-old child.
At the second interview, children were asked to bring a storybook and discuss it with the principal. Both the child and his parents had to attend the third interview, during which the interviewer asked the child about the difference between the chair he sat in for the first and the second interviews.
Although Ying Wa Primary School only admits 300 students from 3,000 applicants, So and Lo were confident their son would get in because he had performed well in all three interviews. Still, they were so nervous they could not sleep the night before the results came out. Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be a great disappointment; their son was not admitted.
“I cried that time,” says Lo. “Though it was not true, I kept wondering if my son was really that bad. I have never felt that before.”
Although the whole process was stressful, So and Lo recall they felt the greatest pressure during the “door-knocking” stage. After being put through the emotional wringer, So and Lo came to understand that parents should try to behave as normally as possible. It is no good pushing a child.
Lo felt sad when she heard her son talking to his younger sister after he was admitted. “He told his three-year-old sister that she doesn’t have to worry as his admission means a secured place for her in that school,” Lo recalls.
Lo’s family is not the only one to have struggled with the primary school admission scheme. Some parents go to great lengths to find ways to help their children get into an ideal primary school. Christabel Cheng is one of them.