4-year-old boy who reads and decodes words has IQ of 140; … and of national IQ averages, an old man’s memoirs, and boogers

4-year-old boy who reads and decodes words has IQ of 140:

Kyler Lim is just four years old but don’t be fooled by his appearance. He has the special ability of reading and decoding words on his own.

When he was 18 months old, his parents were shocked to find him reading a magazine aloud in the living room.

Taken aback by what they witnessed, Mr Steve Lim, and his wife Felicia, sent Kyler for an IQ examination in which he scored 140 points.

The average Singaporean adult has an IQ level of 103.

From the video interview, the four year old Kyler is apparently already a Mensa member, likes to “read and read and read… and can read Chinese too!”, and is already solving Primary 6 math problems. He is also ambidextrous and writes with both hands.
Like other kids, little Kyler watches TV and his favourite cartoon is Tom and Jerry. Kyler also watches MTV and likes to sing and dance; he likes Usher and “wreally like” his new album, especially the second song “Daddy’s Home” [he also happens to like The Bieber *horror*… lets hope Kyler grows out of this one!].
Kyler likes golf, football, volleyball and “wrugby [*ha, he cracks me up with his rrr’s!], and is taking tennis lessons which he finds easy. His favourite tennis player is Rafael Nadal, because Nadal “always  hits it… explosion…Boom!” (mimicking Nadal’s fast and explosive double-handed backhand) [Well and good Kyler, but I hope you give the single-hand backhand a try; a well-coiled-up/cocked and smoothly delivered single-hand backhand generates far more pace and angle than any double-hand backhand; and with only one out of ten players using it nowadays, we’re a special (and dying) breed…].

Way to go Kyler!
If he carries on at this pace, I am pretty sure he will be exceeding 140 by his next testing. Not that the actual score matters or means anything in real life.

For those (usually overly-enthusiastic and overly-strident mainland Chinese and Taiwanese ‘cultural champions’) who would gleefully seize on the numeric factoid in the above article (The average Singaporean adult has an IQ level of 103) and claim it as evidence that Singaporeans are indeed intellectually inferior to our North-East Asian brethren and peers (from mainland China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan), do note that Singapore is not a homogeneous country — we are only 75% Chinese. This distinction matters very significantly (statistically) when computing national IQ averages.

For instance, Taiwan, Korea and Japan are overwhelmingly homogeneous societies, with well over 98% of their population being ethnic Han Chinese, ethnic Korean and ethnic Japanese correspondingly. China’s population is identified as 92% Han Chinese and Singapore just under 75% Chinese. So, when dealing with national IQ averages and data, and especially when slicing and dicing the data for backward confirmation to obtain statistically robust numbers for that very taboo subject of racial IQ averages (a slippery academic slope that has upended the careers of many esteemed scholars), the racial percentages of non-homogeneous populations are all-important, and the results can be confirmatory and revealing.
In fact, an ‘acclaimed’ researcher in this field had noted that the data from the case of Singapore, with a non-homogeneous population, clearly corroborated and validated findings from elsewhere in the world.

[In Statistics classes back in college, it was a relatively simple task for students to use the available data of scores from homogeneous populations from North-East Asia and scores from homogeneous South-East Asian populations to construct derivative scores which confirmed data from published field research.

A very simple, back-of-envelope but statistically non-robust calculation, is to just extract the dominant ‘Bumiputera’ score from the national IQ average of our neighboring country with a large indigenous population, adjusting for the ethnic weights, then use the score of say China, after adjusting for the 8% non-Han Chinese percentage, to recombine and construct into a 75:14:9 composite score and you arrive at a score of 103~104, matching the collected published field data for Spore.]

[And in a nod to just how contentious work in this area can be, some other research have turned up eyebrow-raising results: Spore leading the world with a score of 108.
A nice map graphic of the same data.

But during college both here and overseas, I would still encounter a few ‘smartass’ mainland Chinese and Taiwanese students snickering about Singaporean mental capacities. And the root of all this very juvenile nose-thumbing, they would always very gleefully announce, after all, comes from the very words of our founding father in his memoirs:

I had told Deng over dinner in 1978 that we, the Singapore Chinese, were the descendants of the illiterate landless peasants from Guangdong and Fujian in South China, whereas the scholars, the Mandarins and the literati had stayed and left their progeny in China. There was nothing that Singapore had done which China could not do, and do better…

–Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

LKY, recounting words he had spoken candidly to Deng Xiaoping in 1978, whilst the latter was on his historic visit to Singapore and a tour of its commercial and enterprise infrastructure already in place then, just prior to Deng’s seismic decision and announcement a few months later, for China’s economic reform and opening up. Deng was apparently profoundly shocked and amazed at Singapore’s transformation in just a few decades, having visited Spore earlier during a transit trip when it was still under the British. He was expecting to see a quaint colonial and rather squalid and dirty port town, filled with poor Chinese and indigenous laborers.

LKY’s words of course, were measured and delivered with the utmost of political statecraft. The content of the words themselves are largely true, but in the real intent behind them, lies a hard-edged indictment of the failings of the Chinese regime since 1949 to deliver the basic necessities, economic and social improvements to the Chinese people; and a heart-felt exhortation and challenge for the Chinese leader to take the bold but tough political steps toward economic reform for China and the Chinese people.

Deng himself apparently became wordless then. And for the next decade after the economic reform beginning in 1979, Deng made many speeches and arrangements for Chinese officials to go and “learn from Singapore, and more than that, to do better than Singapore!”. He never forgot LKY’s words.

Even the cosmopolitan and Columbia-educated media entrepreneur and Chinese talk-show hostess 杨澜 Yang Lan, could not resist referring to this incident during her interview of LKY:
The Yang Lan Interviews: Lee Kuan Yew – A giant on a small stage
《杨澜访谈录》:李光耀 小舞台大人物


And even for my Taiwanese friends and colleagues (themselves a product of a forced-immigrant siege mentality born of being a small island offshoot technically still at hostilities with the giant mainland motherland), many cannot overcome putting on that dastardly superior and condescending big brother attitude; like this once-upon-a-time decent writer but now empty talking head, the Taiwanese writer and social commentator, 李敖 Li Ao:
The Li Ao Talkshow: Lee Kuan Yew speaking on Singaporeans

Li Ao explains why he calls Singaporeans stupid

[Actually, Li Ao’s original infamous declaration that Singaporeans are stupid and that LKY had said so himself, can no longer be found online. The above two videos, the first on his own talkshow and the second on one of the many inane (but sometimes sidesplitting-ly funny and clever) Taiwanese variety entertainment shows, actually shows a remonstrative Li Ao carefully qualifying his words, and basically retracting his earlier assertions. No doubt under duress and fear of legal action from the litigious Big Man himself.

As he ruefully and carefully remarked at the end: “(反抗)…可是要付出代价…那时我才知到,空间是多么小,世界是多么大!”
“(to resist)… but you have to pay a price… only then did I realize, my space (weight) is but so tiny, and the world (the Big Man and his team of litigators) is so big (powerful)!”

Heh…in a way, feel sorry for the poor chap…

And of course, the 2004 incident when the foreign minister of the then DPP Taiwanese government dismissively described Singapore as “nothing but a booger-sized country” (不過是一個”鼻屎”大的國家):
[His very hilarious remark made in his native Minan dialect]:


Heh heh, bless the Taiwanese…They make me laugh so hard…