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M’sian ex-lawyer speaks out for Singaporean parents over MOE’s controversial CCE lesson

A Malaysian influencer, Reina Lum, earns praise from Singaporeans for supporting parents on the CCE lesson controversy. Lum urges the global community to understand Singaporeans’ active engagement and awareness regarding the ongoing Gaza genocide.

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Arina Mohd Fairin Lum, a Malaysian digital content creator, shared her insights on the recent controversy surrounding Singapore’s Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons.

In a TikTok video, Ms Lum, better known as Reina Lum on social media,  highlighted a growing awareness among Singaporeans about the influence that both the government and schools wield over young minds.

As a parent and former lawyer, she emphasized the crucial need for parents to genuinely comprehend the content being imparted to their children in educational institutions.

Ms. Lum has received praise for standing in solidarity with Singaporean parents on this matter. She expressed hope that the ongoing saga could serve as a turning point for Singapore, leading to a collective recognition that genocide, regardless of political backgrounds and motivations, is unequivocally wrong.

The backlash against CCE lessons

Last Friday, An open letter published in the ‘Suara Melayu Singapura‘ Facebook group articulated deep concerns from parents regarding MOE’s CCE lessons.

Launched in February of this year, the lesson aims to cover contemporary issues, including the Israel-Hamas conflict. Despite the one-hour time limit and the preparation required for resources, the curriculum only spans developments from October 7 to December 2023.

The teaching has been criticized for lacking accurate historical narration of events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are accusations that students attempting to correct misinformation are allegedly being disregarded, silenced, or, in some cases, met with punishment.

Some online criticisms further claim that teachers are restricted from offering additional insights beyond the prescribed curriculum.

This led MOE to respond to social media critique earlier and defend its balanced teaching on the conflict, emphasizing empathy and critical thinking in lessons, despite concerns over content neutrality and historical depth.

Alleged one-sided explanation in CCE lessons

In a recent TikTok video, Ms Lum acknowledged that Singapore has maintained a ‘neutral’ stance on the Israel offensive against Palestine, which she strongly characterizes as ‘genocide.’

However, she pointed out that the recent case might be a tipping point, as parents are now beginning to voice their concerns.

Ms Lum highlighted that the situation has resonated with many adults, given the general limitation on openly discussing conflicts in public.

“You’re not allowed to have peaceful protests, you’re not allowed to have public discussions about this, so it’s really kind of weird for them to target students when adults themselves have problems about talking about it freely. ”

Observing the CCE lesson saga, Ms Lum expressed her opinion that the primary issue lies not in the government’s decision to educate children about the conflict but in the content and the perceived one-sided explanation.

She learned that there are teachers who confessed that they broke down crying because they believe that what they’re teaching the students are not accurate, and is not right and it’s against their personal moral ethic.

Ms Lum highlighted the CCE lessons provided a one-sided explanation of the conflict without offering sufficient context about its formation and the historical experiences of the Palestinian people.

She expressed worry that the lessons did not adequately cover how Israel came about, what settler colonialism entails, and the nature of apartheid laws.

Commenting on a timeline presented in one of the lesson slides she examined, Ms Lum noted that it seemed to focus on 7 October  2023 as the catalyst and downplayed the atrocities committed by Israel thereafter.

She stated,  “This has really become one of the main concerns of the parents. The fact that they’re glossing over the whole genocide.”

@reinalum

Thank you to all my Singaporean followers who DMed me and forwarded me so many sources & information 🙏🏼 I hope your voices are heard and this helps amplify your concerns ♥️🍉 #tiktoksg #geopolitics #school #humanrights

♬ original sound – Reina Lum – Reina Lum

Calls for global understanding of Singaporeans’ efforts and awareness regarding the Gaza genocide

Observing the comment section on Ms Lum’s TikTok video, many Singaporeans expressed their admiration, applauding her for standing in solidarity and advocating for the neighbouring community.

In response to the overwhelming support, Ms Lum emphasized her desire for the international community to recognize that Singaporeans are actively engaged and not oblivious to the ongoing genocide.

 

A netizen expressed astonishment that Ms Lum was able to obtain the slides while parents wre still demanding their release from the MOE.

In response, Ms Lum clarified that some Singaporeans, NGOs, and online news outlets have already published the slides. However, she highlighted that the MOE has seemingly not voluntarily released them.

Another netizen expressed appreciation for Ms Lum’s advocacy on behalf of Singaporean parents.

The comment highlighted the fear within the community, suggesting that they are easily subject to the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) even for minor expressions of dissent. This underscores concerns about potential legal repercussions and the impact on freedom of speech in Singapore.

Another comment emphasized the profound impact of broken trust, noting that the entire nation witnessed the stance taken by the MOE, which was deemed utterly disappointing.

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Arina Mohd Fairin Lum. Name already tell you everything. History lesson is if Arab countries not want to throw Israel to sea in 1948 and agree palestine and israel country now no war.

1) So, has anyone has reviewed the slides before making more unfounded statements? 2) How many parents are “unhappy”? 10? 100? 1000? Recall the claimed “many” holding watermelon umbrellas and “large support in our universities” turned out to be about 40-100 ppl. 3) Interesting how a 1-hour lesson for children can ended the children asking questions that even adults can’t ask for 70+ years. We should ask these children to explain the nature of wormholes, creation of the universe, relativity physics …. just give them a 1-2 hours lesson and 30+ slides on space quantum. Can smell the Nobel Prizes… Read more »

Doubtful if this m’sia ex-lawyer even saw the CCE material. Just making iterations from vibes of the unhappy parents, likely so as to feed her online broadcasts. No wonder she is not practicing law anymore.

Heehee, so many easily triggered & upset here by Reina Lum’s comments. Awww… don’t be angry….

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I reviewed some slides of the said CCE material, and it seems a bit thin for any outburst from parents. Maybe some not happy the free pass from having a Reserved President has expired, hor?

Typical expected reaction and tongue waggers from a certain community.

Chow jiu hu bumi , tell your Anwar to fix your own problem first lah….talk about religion and politics….3.54 to 1 going to 4 to 1 soon and getting worse….you might need to be a maid coming over to Singapore soon ,competing with your Indon counterpart!😆😆😆😆

Saw a 21-page slide CCE package at link:

https://gutzymedia.s3.ap-northeast-2.amazonaws.com/wp/2024/02/24174244/Lesson_Pri_Situation_in_Israel_and_Gaza_for_students.pdf

Don’t know if this is complete package which the parents are UNHAPPY about. Everyone might have a look at the slides and comments constructively what is wrong, what is OK.

This M’sia lawyer seems very vague on actual details, simply using hearsays and stoking emotions for contents for her video?

One thing noticed is that ALL the examples of What’s in the News are all from ST – very diverse, hor? Brainwashing the kids that our 129-ranked media is gospel-news?

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