The happiness of having plenty

Most Singaporean schools have strict rules regarding uniforms for conformity. It also serves the purpose of reducing any sense of unease on children when the wealthy children attend schools all dressed up to their nines, branded school bags, branded shoes, branded watches etc. This is what most schools have been doing. There are many wealthy parents who would not mind showering on their children the best they could afford to. But there are also many who are struggling even to buy a pair of decent shoes.

Schools intentionally play down on such flaunting of wealth so that the lesser beings do not feel so underprivileged and uncomfortable. Children are innocent and should not be exposed to such vulgarities of the adult’s world..

Thus many schools standardise the wearing of footwears to something simple, no expensive jewelry, no expensive watches or even handphones. And this code of practice has been in force, officially and unofficially, for a long time. The principals and the ministry must have seen some wisdom in this practice and rightly so.

Of late things are starting to change a little. The latest craze that schools have adopted for their rich kids is in the guise of greater exposure and education in the form of expensive trips abroad to the USA, Europe, Japan, China or the Australasia. I must admit that these are great experiences for young children to travel and to satisfy the senses. Everyone will agree that these are indeed very enriching experiences. Pardon my punt.

But again, how will such trips do to the psychic of the poor beings who cannot afford them but only to ogle and envy at their more fortunate friends? Often only a small group will be able to afford such trips. Or maybe I am wrong and many can afford it. I surely would not be able to squeeze out that kind of money for a little escapee for my children. But then it is great news for the schools. ‘We sent our children on overseas education tour! To the Grand Canyon or to the Great Wall of China or to see the Great Pyramids.’ These will certainly raise the profile of the schools positively.

Schools may want to take a step back and try to understand the pressure being placed upon borderline parents who can barely afford them but have to cough out the few thousand dollars that they could have used for better and more important things. Or what about the young minds who could not understand why their parents could not afford to send them on such wonderful trips, and having to listen in awe, the stories from their close friends who went and returned and become so much more knowledgeable?

Our educators should be more thoughtful of what they are doing to their charges and not to encourage them to spend on expensive thrills which would not really do them that much good. Perhaps I may be wrong as I am not an educator and could not see the great benefits that such trips bring to the children. Maybe these children would eventually top their classes and become worldly wise adults. Who knows? The educators are the experts in these areas. I am just looking at the slightly negative angle which may be something that the schools have considered.

Anyway, I still believe that schools should leave the expensive pampering and indulgence to the parents in their private time and minimise the pressure on other children and their not so well off parents as well. Schools may unconsciously inculcate such values of snobbishness and keeping up with the Joneses at such tender age when the children could not appreciate how difficult it is for money to come by. Poor parents and poor children should not be made to feel that much poorer and deprived.


Matilah_Singapura said...

What a load of shite, but hardly surprising coming from "touchy-feely" redbean. Hey, but I accept him for his nature :)

Putting kids in uniform to make them all "equal" IS THE FIRST STEP in removing their individuality to get them moulded into being subservient citizens to bow, scrape and be blindly Confucian-obedient The State and its corporations.

Good one redbean, in a vain attempt to "protect" the feelings of the poor (so-called — no such thing actually exists in a developed country), you've supported the very vehicle which is used by the state to ensure a steady supply of tax-paying automatons: The PUBLIC Education System

Why do you think uniforms are VOULUNTARY in every FREE country on this planet?


And BTW, I really LOATH seeing kids in uniform. They should be wearing their own clothes — the stuff kids wear, whatever they like — of course with loose boundaries of standards.

The state should have no business in handling children. Children are the responsibility of their PARENTS, and that's it.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with levelling all kids when they are in primary schools? And since when are the richer parents able to teach their own kids except to give them English name and speak to them in their adopted tongue, English?
Please lah! I agree with redbean in entirety. Let schools be places for basic learnings! Not university or polytechnic for kids who do not have pubic hairs yet.

scratch you

Matilah_Singapura said...

The dangers of "levelling" anyone, especially children. What "levelling" does is choke the very individuality out of unique individuals in an attempt to make them "the same".

That is why it is not only dangerous, but immoral as well.

"Education" used to mean something — centuries ago, when it was the preserve of private individuals, not the state.

Once the state got hold of education and made it a "public good" it has done more "public bad" to the score and generations of educated fools who've come through The State Education Systems of the world's nation-states.

"...school teachers, taking them by and large, are probably the most ignorant and stupid class of men in the whole group of mental workers." — H L Mencken

But who can blame the teachers 100% of the time? They spend most of their time COMPLYING and OBEYING State educational RULES. Instead of delivering "quality" to their "customers" — the kids — most of their efforts are used to make the Minister in-charge and his low-level busy-body minions happy.

Fuck the state and its interference with the minds of children. The State is the worst offender of child abuse.

redbean said...

any teachers out there?

want to slap him? : )

Matilah_Singapura said...

You slap me, I turn the other cheek :)

In a privatised universe, the TEACHERS will be the OWNERS of the various educational institution.

What happens when you own an asset?

The tendency is that you will look after it. Why? Because if you don't, it will lose value.

The State will always be an unwelcome guest in human affairs. Lord knows how many passionate teachers have lost their fire because of the MOE's meddling ways.

Teachers should not answer to bureaucrats. Their ONLY professional responsibility is the quality of service they deliver to the only customers who really matter at the end of the day:

The Kids, and their parents — the parents is where the buck actually stops as far as being responsible for nurturing the children. The state has no place at all in this relationship — unless the child is being abused.

A totally private education system, or systems is the only way to go.