Thursday, September 22, 2005

Living For Them Group X Classes

A comment on yesterday's blog alluded to the fact that I seem to live for those Group Exercise Classes in the gym. Harumph. That is not true. Apart from the fact that I attend them nearly every day, (except Sundays, and usually Tuesdays), sometimes twice a day, and have been spreading the word about how fun it is, to friends, like a zealous evangelist, and apart from the fact that I feel an endorfin withdrawal akin to a coke addict in rehab, and apart from the fact that I juggle my schedule TO revolve around these classes, I would HARDLY say that I live for these classes. Just to prove a point, I am not going to go this evening for body combat. Instead, I'll resort to my old love, ie, jogging in lake gardens. The kids have swimming class in Lake Club anyway, so while they're swimming, I can jogging. See H-L, I donch live for these classes. But if I can't sleep tonight because I missed it, I'm going to call you.

Talking about classes, a question that always sends shudders down my spine is "Which school do your children go to?". Schooling these days is SO different from the days of yore. Kids in standard one are expected to attend a whole host of extra curricular activity, that'll make Abdullah Badawi's schedule look like he's a retiree; computer class, extra tuition, some chinese schools even teach two syllabi, I hear, Msian in the morning, and Singaporean in the afternoon. Chinese schools seem to be the pick du jour, and I hardly know any Msian Chinese parents who send their kids to the normal kebangsaan school. I find myself mumbling an apology for sending my kid to the kebangsaan school, and usually mutter, "oh, it's because it's 3 minutes down the road from where we live, so it's very convenient".

You see, I personally am an idealist, and feel that if want to live here in Malaysia, then we should let our children integrate at school level. Of course I feel education is important, but come on, how much of what we do in everyday life these days actually relates to stuff we learnt in school? Hardly anyone I've asked can remember the speed of light, (the value of "c", in e=mc2), what jus soli is, or what you call that action of water creeping up a piece of filter paper (answer = capillary action). Does anyone remember the Newton Laws? At the end of the day, what I would value most above all, is that my children grow up with a love for our God, and strive to do what is right is His eyes. I don't mean to sound sanctimonious, or idiotic, (depends which way you look at it), but I reckon we shouldn't rob children of their childhood; for ultimately, we are forcing our own dreams upon them.

This is an excerpt from an email I got from my 3rd grader (standard 3) godson in Australia:
"Sorry I am sending this late, I have been very busy. I am in year three. I have school homework, Abacus homework, tennis, swimming lessons, violin lessons, piano lessons and karate through the week."

And this is the country people emigrate to because of education; sounds no better than here, if you ask me, and if kids there are so busy, what about the kiasu folk here? Must be infinitely worse. Of course, I have to say I'm very impressed to have gotten an email from a standard 3 kid that I myself could probably only have written in Form 3.

The average kid here probably has : mandarin tuition, swimming lessons, music lessons, some martial arts lesson, art lesson, abacus lessons, computer lessons. These days, when you invite kids to a party on Saturday, (evenings), don't be surprised to hear they can't make it, coz their Saturdays are FULL of tuition.

Let's not rob our kids of their childhood.

3 comments:

fatchipmunk said...

Well actually I found myself almost apologising when I first mixed around with school mates who came from chinese primary schools. Having to explain why I went to national schools and can't read or write chinese. Somehow I dunno, I find myself quite an oddball too when I met Malaysian chinese while in Uni.

Cos I mixed pretty well with the prince(ss) of the land and I sounded like them when I spoke over the phones with some friends in other parts of NZ, so my chinese friends almost have to pick up their jaws from the floor.

And they can't understand why did I go to Malaysian House to read Berita Harian (before the days of Internet).

all-aboard! said...

hear hear. i never had a spot of tuition when I was in school, ended up with straight As (mostly) and even then, so what? Languishing as a lawyer in a lawless land (ok, that was exaggerated so as to get it alliterated).

You're right.. I think a childhood is the best gift/concession (depending on how you look at it) a parent can ever give his child. Having said that, if my kid really needed tutoring, I'd do it myself rather than pack him off 5 days a week for extra classes. If he wants to karate, CNN can handle that. If he wants drum lessons, we can do that together. and if he wants to bake (hope not, at that age, though :P), we'll visit you ;o)

fatboybakes said...

wah, however, not all kids got such gifted parents lah. i'm not against tuition per se; and sometimes, (it'll become apparent when u become a parent) its better to get a 3rd party to teach your kids. the only time i did get tutoring was for additional math in form 5, coz in my boarding school, i was getting P8 and F9s all the way. so during school hols, i had intensive tutoring. when my results jumped to A2, my teacher in the boarding school attributed it to himself....the donk!!!