At another end of the spectrum, one Japanese school actually makes the kid do math homework and master the times tables. As in memorising 1 x 12 =12, 2 x 12 = 24, etc. The parents who subscribe to this hot housing believe their children’s brain development can be boosted through early reading, flashcards, language tapes and exposure to classical music. Mom probably had an iPod taped to her tummy when junior was still inside, bombarded by muzak 24/7.
|Start them clapping young|
There's only one small problem. Nowadays, our teachers expect starry eyed primary one kids to know the alphabet and be able to write their names in English and Chinese on their first day of school. That's when parents start to hit the phone book and hunt down tutors to prepare them for the Gifted Education Program (GEP) shortlisting. The disconnect is big, huge even. Play here means getting a high score at Angry Birds on the iPad. When they are still in the pram.
Don't be harsh on the parents. When they see the Mandarin scholars make brigadier general in double quick time, hoisted into parliament or a CEO seat in a GLC, all on the basis of their paper resume, the examination grade becomes the all encompassing holy grail. Even when these white horses fail in their assignments, say blow up a budget spectacularly or cause havoc in the supply and demand of housing/hospital/transport, they are never sacked. They are merely moved laterally to another similar paying position. Meritocracy rules. If their kids have to master touching heads and toes, they better score an A for that. And if they have to master clapping, it better end up being invited to clap on cue at the exclusive NDR speech. Never mind if the jokes are not even funny.