SINGAPORE - Even in the midst of preparing for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), 14-year-old Matthew Sun would find time almost every day to coach his younger brothers in their studies.
The siblings also took turns to do the household chores, such as sweeping the floor and cooking dinner. In the evenings, the Huamin Primary pupil would even help his 51-year-old mother sell packets of Vitagen in the neighbourhood.
But in the lead-up to the PSLE, his family members, including his 46-year-old engineering assistant father, also became his strongest supporters. His three brothers, aged between 11 and 16, would chip in to do more of the chores, without being told to do so. They also revised for their exams together.
His family's efforts have since paid off. On Friday (Nov 24), Matthew collected his PSLE results, scoring A*s for Chinese and mathematics, an A for science and a B for English. He also managed a merit for his Higher Chinese.
"When my brothers knew that my PSLE was getting close, they helped to do more of the chores. Their support encouraged me to put more effort into my studies," said the teenager, who lives in a four-room flat in Yishun.
"Family is very important. They are the closest to me. In future, if I have any problem, my family will also help me."
His responsible attitude did not go unnoticed. This year, he was chosen to be the class ambassador to assist the teachers with managing his class. This includes helping his peers in their studies when they have doubts and asking them to lower their noise levels in class.
Ms Lai Xiao Xin, his form teacher, said Matthew also had a way of dealing with disagreements between his classmates.
"He has a very good relationship with his peers, and had a way of stopping their arguments," she added. "He is quite cool and calm, and his classmates do listen to him."
Matthew, who also enjoys activities such as hockey and playing the guitar, believes finding time to destress was key to his stellar results.
Besides spending about three hours daily revising before sitting the national exam, he also set aside time to unwind, such as by watching television and playing basketball.
"I believe in balancing my time, and not just spend it all on my schoolwork," said Matthew, adding that he would not have done as well if he had spent hours on revision alone. "I think that some time to destress is also important to do well."