Friday, October 10, 2008

An outsider view of Singapore

Read an interesting article today in TODAY newspaper of this letter sent in to the paper. The letter was a response to another letter regarding expat children not settling down in Singapore. A jarring comment by a foreigner regarding the way we parent in ways that over-protect the child.

" it true that they (Singaporean children) no longer venture out to learn and discover things on their own?"

Isn't it true that we do restrict our kids play time to indoor clean safe environment and not the get out and explore kind?

The final knock out punch from their perspective should send us thinking deep and hard:

"The need is, really, to teach our children not to regard material needs as the foundation of one's identity and instead, learn to believe in doing the best that they can in whatever fields they are interested in, without a care of societal expectations."

Very discerning isn't it? If you still are not like me, feeling guilty as charge by the accusations, think along the line of...

if you don't study, next time what are you going to become?
this kind of thing can't earn money, you know?
you study well, we buy you...
how can you not do well in (subject), you not going to be able to find a job

Think again.

We have reduce learning into a quest for future comfort, focusing on the material wealth it will provide and not giving them a chance to develop a love for learning. If they get that, it is an added benefit. The state of the deterioration has come to such a state that I came across a teacher commenting about what a student said to her when she offered to give extra lessons for the students to prepare them for the coming 'O' levels exams. Her class response to her kind, thoughtful and self sacrificing gesture was..."teacher, if we come, you treat us to McDonalds, ok?" The infuriated teacher response was you should give me a treat instead of the other way round.


BEWARE ... materialism will one day eat into the capacity of a child's ability to maximise his potential and rob him of his destiny. Helping them by motivating them through material incentives may not be helping them at all...


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