7/05/2009

Not a mindset issue

Ridzwan Dzafir wrote a book encouraging the Malays to change their mindset to climb the educational and socio economic ladder. This is the same advice that the other communities, including the Chinese, have been told by the govt. What the Malay doyen was saying is a conventional wisdom. One needs to help himself to climb the socio ladder. There is no short cut. This elicited a reply from an Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim in the Saturday paper. It is easier said than done. In our highly competitive educational system, the playing field is not level. The rich, with their resources, can do that much more to help their children. The poorer parents, ‘even with financial assistance, could not match the investment made by richer ones.’ I agree that the poorer families are at a disadvantage. But not all is lost. Personally I too grew up financially very disadvantaged, socially and academically handicapped in a very poor quarter of the society. I crawled all the way back, without any tuition or assistance from anyone, not even my parents or kin. Then came my children. They too did not benefit from any tuition or special conditioning to assist them in their studies. They went through schools as any average family children did. The only thing we did was to be at home, no drug taking, no clubbings, no havoc and heavy drinking or partying and leaving them at home on their own. We were just there as parents, to keep the family functional and intact. We provide the emotional and psychological support. I have witnessed many well off families with plenty of tuitions but not benefiting their children. The only advantage they really had was to pay for their degrees from an overseas university as they were not good enough for a place in the local universities. Poorer families are disadvantaged but not to the point that it is beyond hope, that they need a miracle to do well. I think any above average students with enough parental care and encouragement should be able to climb the academic ladder on their own. A little assistance would be welcomed, but without them is not the reason for their under performance academically. There are enough assistance schemes for those who need them. Poverty and underprivileged are not the exclusive rights of the Malay community.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

succeeding in the other E(employability) is a big question...degrees, diplomas and skill sets in themselves is nothing when denied opportunity
base on whatever biases and prejudices...

Wally Buffet said...

I support your view that it is not riches or resources that will shape the future of our children. It is being there for them. It is about establishing a functional family unit to nurture a child's natural inclination to excel if given the right encouragement and environmental conditions. In a meritocracy like ours, if you can exceed yourself, the sky's the limit. I know. My children are the system's beneficiaries.

Talking about level playing fields is merely a guise to ask for more handouts. As it is, this govt. is more guilty of reverse discrimination than anything else.Asking more is the surest way to further the crutch mentality.

As Chinese parents, we must know that nothing is too much to sacrifice for the children. It is all about culture not level playing fields. Our mindset is that since we were well brought up, it is our turn to do the same for our children and they, in turn for their children. However, for the average family, we can do this because we had Confucius and the teachings handed down distilled from 5000 years of civilization.

Anonymous said...

Agree. I come from a similar background as the author.

It is more difficult but not impossible and up to the individual whether to say, "It is easier said than done" or "It can be done".

As highlighted, family upbringing plays a major role, including inculcating the correct mindset and setting priorities.

Francis Chua (Singapore) said...

In Singapore, there are financial and other assistance schemes available to help.