Chan Chun Sing Shares Funny Story Of Mishearing Student, Says Times Have Changed

Student Says CCA Is STEM Club, Minister Hears ‘Stamp Club’

In just a few decades, global scientific and digital progress has been tremendous.

So much so that those who grew up in a different era might find themselves unintentionally misunderstanding the younger generation.

Illustrating just how this could happen, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing shared a funny story where he misheard a student.


His conclusion was that times had changed.

Conversation during school visit

In a Facebook post on Saturday (19 Feb), Minister Chan related a conservation he had with a student.

As he added the hashtag #funnymomentsofschoolvisits, we can assume that this dialogue took place during a school visit.


Student gave muffled answer

Minister Chan had asked the student what Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) he was in.

The answer: STEM Club. The acronym refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Perhaps due to the student wearing a mask, his answer was muffled.

Thus, the minister heard: Stamp Club – something quite different, of course.

For those who didn’t grow up with snail mail, stamps had to be bought and pasted on an envelope before the letter could be posted.

STEM vs stamp
Source, Source

Minister used to collect stamps

Minister Chan then excitedly revealed that he used to collect stamps,

He then asked the student a series of questions about the hobby, remarking that it must be difficult to collect stamps nowadays, given that few people send letters any more.

Unfortunately, the student remained silent, likely because he didn’t know how to respond.

After an awkward silence, his classmates bailed him out, informing the minister that what he meant was STEM.

Times have changed: Minister

Minister Chan said this humourous anecdote showed that times had changed.

After all, as he was born in 1969, he would’ve entered Secondary School in the 1980s. In those days, the acronym STEM hadn’t been coined yet, and people still used stamps.

And just like him, some people also collected stamps, and schools may have had a Stamp Club.

In fact, he joked that in his time, ABCD stood for Apple, Boy, Cat and Dog. But for young ones now it’s probably Apple (i.e. the tech company), Bytes, Cloud and Data.

Netizens don’t think kids know what stamps are

Some netizens agreed, saying kids nowadays probably wouldn’t know what a stamp is.


Supporting this, another commentor said he’s had kids asking him what a mailbox is.


Times have definitely changed, one said, and the kids now are more technologically savvy, and more likely to be interested in STEM than stamps.


STEM now integral in education

The trivial but light-hearted story served to highlight how different education is now compared with just a few decades ago.

While kids of yesteryear may not have had STEM on their minds, it’s an integral part of our education system now and offered in the Applied Learning Programme (ALP).

Kudos to Minister Chan for amusing netizens, and sharing how the pace of change can affect even the best of us.

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Featured image adapted from Chan Chun Sing on Facebook.

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