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Education entrepreneur Adam Khoo draws flak over inappropriate comments and teaching tactics

Coconuts logo Coconuts 13/9/2019 Coconuts Singapore
a group of people in front of a crowd: Adam Khoo conducting a workshop (left); Screenshot of Facebook post from his page. Adam Khoo conducting a workshop (left); Screenshot of Facebook post from his page.

If you were one of those students whose kiasu parents made you go for learning camps that became popular in the early 2000s, chances are, you would’ve heard of Adam Khoo. The education entrepreneur/life coach/author/whatever other hats he wears these days was the go-to guy for tuition courses that seemed to generate solid results, and Singaporeans flocked to him in droves to improve their kids’ grades.

Apart from helming the Adam Khoo Learning Centre, which also has outlets in Malaysia and Indonesia, Khoo currently runs a separate series of workshops under the Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group that he founded with his business partner Patrick Cheo in 2002, according to the website. The “I Am Gifted!” program is his trademark workshop, on top of the ones where he coaches people on trading and investing skills.

But alas, the date is 2019, and the tides have now turned. Now the subject of criticism, the 45-year-old Khoo has been the center of controversy in recent times. Apparently, he published on Tuesday a cringe-worthy Facebook post about his experience being patted down by a “fortunately attractive” female airport security staff, and how she was apparently “enjoying herself” while doing it. He then went on to ask why male security staff were not allowed to do the same to women.

“Why the double standards? Why should only the lady security officers get to enjoy their job? Normally people will have to pay to touch me,” he said in his post, which he subsequently took off Facebook when the backlash began.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Screenshot of Adam Khoo’s Facebook post. Image: Wake Up, Singapore/fb © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Screenshot of Adam Khoo’s Facebook post. Image: Wake Up, Singapore/fb

Many netizens, especially those aware of Khoo’s popular tuition firm that teaches children as young as six, thought that the post was wildly inappropriate, even though it was an attempt at a joke.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Comment on Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page. © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Comment on Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page. a screenshot of a cell phone: Comment on Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page. © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Comment on Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page.

Eventually, Khoo responded to the criticisms by penning another Facebook post describing netizens as a bunch of people with an “inflexible mind” because they didn’t know how to “take a joke.”

Related Facebook post

Shared from Facebook

A screenshot of Khoo’s original post was also shared on Reddit, where it sparked a discussion on Khoo’s questionable learning tactics. Many came forward to claim that one of Khoo’s alleged methods was to make students imagine their parents’ death so that they could be motivated to study harder and avoid disappointing them.

Khoo reportedly taught this during multi-day workshops held at secondary or primary schools, according to those on Reddit, and some commenters recalled seeing their schoolmates cry, especially those who had lost their parents.

Here’s a snapshot of the discussion from the Reddit thread:

Comment on Reddit thread

Comment on Reddit thread
© Provided by Coconuts Media Limited
However, it seems like this wasn’t the first time Khoo has been the subject of criticism. A separate Reddit thread was published three years ago in which Adam Khoo workshop alumni described their experiences attending them.

One of them said it was like attending a session with City Harvest Church leader Kong Hee, but with mindmaps.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Reddit comment on Adam Khoo © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Reddit comment on Adam Khoo a screenshot of a cell phone: Reddit comment on Adam Khoo © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Reddit comment on Adam Khoo

Coconuts Singapore has reached out to Adam Khoo and the Ministry of Education for comment and will update this story as soon as more information becomes available.

This article, Education entrepreneur Adam Khoo draws flak over inappropriate comments and teaching tactics, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. 

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