Wish I had study harder

I only had an ‘O’ level to show for in my resume whenever I fill up job application forms. Luckily during those days, back in the 80’s, having an ‘O’ level certificate is still worth a little. Fast forward to today, when I pick up a primary school assessment book (Pri 3 or 4 math or science) I couldn’t answer half the time.

Kids nowadays have it tough; all the endless streaming the moment they step in to primary school. And of course our dear Singaporean parents. In the pursue of excellence, I got a funny feeling that in some cases, the kids have been pushed a bit harder than they can take. So, who should take responsibility for the kids’ welfare? The parents, the society at large or the MOE?  Parents want the best for their kids and in this highly competitive environment, knowledge is gold. The ministry on its part is also trying it’s best in preparing the young ones to take on the world with all the knowledge at his/her disposal. So if both parties’ starting point are for the good of the child, why do the kids end up getting the short end of the stick?

Our system of education is rigorous and regularly churns out batches of high flyers who go on to achieve much in life. However, there are also a lot of them getting on life with an average job with average pay.  Now that they are adults, did we ask anyone of them what growing up was like in the pressure cooker? I spent my childhood doing what kids do; playing marbles, running around in the open field, play football with a ball too big for me to kick etc….I count myself lucky in not getting any tuition ever and still managed to scrap through my ‘O’ levels. Mind you, by the time I sat for the examinations, I seemed to have lost interest in studying. And I also count myself lucky in having that little bit of talent in grasping a good command of English, through the countless hours I spent in front of my neighbours’ google box. My mum missed the dateline in enrolling me in kindergarten and so I ended up having 2 extra years out of school and because of my age, I was able to absorb the English language the way it was spoken by the English and Americans. Back then even the Americans spoke proper English, not the slang we hear so often nowadays. That’s why I particularly like having  conversations with Caucasians, not to feel superior but I’m able to practise proper spoken English with them. In this way, I do appreciate the presence of so many English-speaking foreigners here.

My little suggestion is this; why don’t the parents and MOE take half a step back and let the kids be more like kids. Go fly kites, learn to cycle, play marbles etc. More importantly, there’s no need to be afraid to let them take a fall once in a while. Let them have some bruises, sweat it out in the sun sometimes. It’s more natural how a child should be raised, rather than put them in protective gears all the time so that they don’t hurt themselves. And don’t buy them computer games and spoil their eyesight at such a tender age. Sometimes when I come back from work early, I notice the kids are having just as much fun playing with the sand and running around the playground then in front of the computer screens playing their xboxes and what not. Do I sound very extreme? You decide.

At the end of the day, they would have plenty of time and spare cash to buy those games when they’re older.  I’m not a father myself but I definitely would choose to raise my child the au naturel way. On hindsight, I should have study harder, so that I contribute in more constructive ways in helping Singapore to be more livable in ways which can’t be measured with statistics.

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