Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Perils Of Childhood

Mrs Servos was spot on when she was quoted saying, "This sounds like they are using the extra hours to teach the syllabus".

Unlike Amy Chua the Tiger Mom, Singapore mothers were rued by the schools who are holding back Primary 3 and 4 students for supplementary lessons. Which means 9 and 10 year olds could be held hostage from 7.30 am until 4.00 pm for up to 4 to 5 days a week. At this rate, even if parents want to have kids, the kids will refuse to be born.

The obvious question was "Why aren't the 6 hours adequate to cover the syllabus?" If St Gabriel Primary was truthful in explaining that the additional lessons were part and parcel of the school curriculum, then MOE needs to review the curriculum. And someone needs to review the geniuses at MOE. As expected, MOE quickly and conveniently absolves itself of responsibility: "Schools have the autonomy to decide on supplementary classes depending on the learning of their pupils". Which begs another question: Why are the principals so keen to have teachers stretch the contact schedule if MOE's requirements about learning can met without the extra hours? Don't they have a life too?

The only folks not fazed by the detention are those who have no time for the young ones in the first place, like the business executive and his working wife who think of the extra periods as free daycare. After all, preschools like Charis Montessori kindergarten charge as much as $700 extra for "enrichment" classes that run till 5.30 pm. They are the types who hand their kids $50 worth of coins for the video arcade so mummy and daddy can do their own thing. Philip Larkin the English poet says these of such parenting:
They f— you up your mum and dad
They do not mean to but they do
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra just for you

Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary, Harvard president and recently departed Obama administration chief economic adviser, mused about the fate of kids at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. "People on average live a quarter of their lives as children. That's a lot," Mr. Summers said. "It's important that they be as happy as possible during those 18 years." Let's not give the wee ones a rocky start.


  1. Many parents will agree with your point of view but they still carry on doing it because we live in a kiasu society. Otherwise, why do you think we are in such a sad state today? We are one big social experiment gone wrong!

  2. When children are given extra lessons by the school, there are complaints.

    Is this not better than having tuition which the parents than have to pay with varying costs.

    Until the MOE curriculum is changed, if so, there will stiil be upmanship, as long as there is kiasuness in societal values


  3. It is not just MOE, it is not just the school or teachers. The parents also have to take a good look at themselves and take the bold decision to do what is right for their children. Just like the bold decision needed to put a cross on alternative party come election time. But alas, we are a bunch of conformists, just go with the flow.

  4. Quote

    "The parents also have to take a good look at themselves and take the bold decision to do what is right for their children. Just like the bold decision needed to put a cross on alternative party come election time."

    Yes, it has come to a stage where it has become imperative for all citizens to make a critical decision at the ballot box for our nation's survival. To hell with the conformist!

  5. It appears that many people understand the sad state of affairs and are opting not to have any children. Or they simply leave the country to start a family.

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