Suffer the little children, (about our schools)

Our Malaysian schools used to have co-curricular activities on working Saturdays. But few months back, the Government Departments are working five-days week. Teachers too probably have demanded five-day weeks without any co-curricular activities on Saturdays.

Well, suffer the little children. They are barely 10 years old and have school and activities lined up as follows :

7.45 am till 1.05 pm : School

1.30 – 2.30 pm : Uniform bodies like scout, Red Crescent, cadet

2.45 – 3.45 pm : Clubs like English/Science/etc societies, Library (reading club), road safety club etc.

4.00 pm – 5.00 p.m. – Sports bodies like chess, karate, badminton, football etc.

And hear this. Every student must choose one of each of the above. I.e. one uniform body, one club and one sport. All of these are held on the same day, each week. I.e. my poor little son has to be in school from 7.30 a.m. till 5 p.m.

This is mentioned in the circular I received from the school. I had written a note to the Headmaster about my concerns on the long hours and told him that I will phone him to discuss. My son brought back a selection form for his choices, and also to get my approval plus indemnify the school of any incidents.

*hiaks* I live next door to the school. But I don’t see any reason for me to bring my lazy butt over to argue with the school authorities. I am sure this is not the headmaster’s idea but some directive from the ‘higher up’.

For me, I am experienced in this because I know that these are all the hangat-hangat tahi ayam (flash in the pan) matter because my two older sons ponteng-ed (skip) these co-curricular activities most of the time. (hot sun la, I am too sleepy to drive you there la, you have just recovered from flu la, etc etc) The most they get was some shellings from the teachers.

No way am I going to let my kids stay in the school from 7.30 am till 5 pm without proper bath, proper meals and sufficient time to rest in between the activities. Chisin meh, it is not like he is studying to be a scholar or future Prime Minister.

However, many parents aren’t aware. Leaving their poor kids in school, under the burning, scorching, beginning-of-the-year-hot-like-hell sun. Just two days ago, my son in secondary school told me that one of his schoolmate fainted during their scout’s meeting. The secondary schools too have their co-curricular activities that were normally held on Saturday mornings shifted to after school hours, around 2 – 3 pm when the weather was the hottest.

Now, this leads to another rant. With the additional bahasa ibunda and pendidikan sivik, my poor 9 years 0ld kid in Standard Four have to study till 1.35 pm every day. Previously, his elder brothers (when they were in primary school) returned home by 12.30 – 1 pm. Gee, I hate you so, MOE. Once my kid kena suffer because of your doesn’t-make-sense policy, I get very anal.

The only things that I am thankful for are the fact that I am a full-time mom, ever ready to pamper the tired kid from school with cold drinks and lunch, my house is just few steps away and my kid doesn’t attend any tuition or other classes apart from school.

You have to see the poor little kids who hang around the school compound every day after school (some parents left their kids in school instead of daycare) or those who chase after their school-buses with their schoolbags that weigh a ton. Heartbreaking.

So, Jesus’s words of Suffer the little children…..rings in my ears. God, protect these little ones for the adults do not know what they are doing. We can’t built a kingdom by trying to chase after more knowledge which we hope to bring more money and in the process, forget the basic touch. Love. Pumping more civic, moral, mother’s tongue lessons into them aren’t going to help. It has to start from the parents’ side. Expect less, nurture more and don’t worry, be happy. And stop being so blardy kiasu.

(I wrote this last night when I was pissed. No time to edit this ‘cos gotta pick up the kids for Chinese New Year shopping. )

So, basically, that’s what our children are going through during their childhood. Suffer. Because adults make policies that don’t make sense. Agree?

19 thoughts on “Suffer the little children, (about our schools)

  1. Sigh…. things are getting worse for the small kids. During my year I wouldnt care anything about co-cu. Siaoeh MoE!!!

  2. Dang, that sounds scary … but I think I would do the same (once my son enters into school that is) not allowing my son joining some unnecessary activities and what nots.

    My heart pours out for them kids … May God bless and take care of them …

  3. yeah, isnt it bloody ridiculous?? 3 bloody hours of co-curriculum in 1 day!! Chee9sin!!!
    My daughter was just complaining to me.
    btw, u also got extra co-curriculum….YOU’VE BEEN TAGGED!!

  4. Hmmm dulu sekolah (even during high school mind u), our regular 8th period finishes at 12.30pm. And during grade school, co curricular activities are for those who were interested (and had the time, and able to attend). No paksa paksa… kesian kids these days…

  5. Your son is considered lucky lor.
    U know, the students in K.L have to wake up earlier (5 AM), because their “well-known” schools are damn far away mah!

    They are stuck in a traffic jam after their compulsory co-curricular activities (about 5.30 PM). By the time they reach home is already 7 PM (if it’s not raining) or 8 PM.

    Then, they have tuition class at night. After tuition-ed, they do homework, assignments.

    Finally, they have time to eat, take a dump & sleep.

    They kembang when they get straight As. Their parents also kembang & keep showing off during CNY.
    Ki siao.

  6. Hi lilian,

    I am peter, first timer here.

    I would say the post above is quite an insightful and rather touching post offering us the perspective of a mother towards the rigid education system we as in the nation in a whole are implementing.

    Being a student myself, i do not see the need for implementing such rigid and packed schedule at such early stage. I mean, successful implementation should come along with interest, so at younger age, we should just expose the kids with the variety of clubs and only emphasis on participation later on, when they finally know what they want or interested in. By that time, no matter how packed and tiring it is, it would be well worth the effort.

    Nevertheless, the importance of co-curriculum in propelling a student towards excellence is NOT negligible. Being a student who was quite active in coco myself, i benefited alot from the aspect of self discipline and time planning.

    Therefor, I do not agree with your mentality of sort of encouraging your kids of playing truant from those activities because well they will be in the losing end eventually. Nevertheless, having all those three activities straight in one single day could be overtaxing for an ordinary student. Therefore, the most feasible and appropriate solution in my opinion is through bring up the matter and discuss in the teacher-parent society of the school, suggesting for the activities to be held on separate days.

    Trust me, experiencing and being part of the coco activities isnt something that would make the kids pitiful neither is it sort of a punishment, instead it would help to shape a kid’s character and needless to say, values instilled and the fun moments while participating will last for life.

    Just my two cents though and i think you’ve done wonderfully as a concerning mother. Congrats and keep it up!


  7. You know things are a little different when you look at it on the teacher’s perspective. My mum is a teacher, and sometimes I can understand why teachers demand 5 workingdays as well. They worked their asses off during the week, and still have to spend like half of the best day in the week in school. People in other professions get paid for working overtime. Teachers don’t. And besides, when I was in high school, I joined the brass band, and on saturdays and even weekdays, we practise marching together with Scouts and Girl Guides and St John members till late afternoon. Everybody’s willing to do it. So what’s the big deal?

  8. My 7 yr old goes to school at 8.30 and comes back home at 2.30. 5 yr old goes at 12 and be back home by 2.30. They have activities at school. nothing much. soccer once a week, swimming once a week..they play volley ball if they like. nobody forces them. I am happy with the arrangement. I can take them to the library near home and they borrow books(35/person!!) and video tapes(yep..we are still in videossic park era!!).
    I can give them a childhood that I couldn’t provide in Malaysia. In Malaysia, childhood is a race, better smarter,intelligent it is a journey..towards being human..I wish the government in Malaysia could think out of the box and provide the kids a childhood

  9. 5XMOM,
    I used to tell people how I missed school days. There was no worries, just go to school at 7.30 am and be back by 1.30pm. After that, the rest of the day is up to me. I can sleep, watch TV, play around with the neighbourhood kids, anything.
    Unfortunately times now have changed. I hear kids as young as 2 are sent to classes to learn up their ABCs. I’m not sure if this will be beneficial to them or what by knowing their ABCs at 2.
    What I feel is that our education system and some parents are just so kiasu. Gone were the days of no worries childhood memories. The kids this days will grow up in the future to compare how young they could memorise their ABCs, no more batu guli or one two som.

  10. hi, been 2 ur blog here a few times.. i’m a penangites as well :), currently workin in kl .. i agree that schools should not burden kids with too many activities.. but it’s fun too if there are some activities for the kids.. when i was in primary, on saturdays i had my co-curicular activities too, english club, badminton club…almost half a day is spent there, on weekdays, there are also activities and special chinese classes on fri,.. a bit tiring but I just love it.. so much time to mix around, play.. have fun.. most importantly can do anything without my parents knowing.. 😛 haha.. to me i love activities… n in my opinion, kids r better off playing in school than @home stuck to the computer all the time.. 😀 .. all in all balance is da key.. not too much not too little..

  11. During my time (1994-1998), secondary school hours were from 7:45am to 2:20pm. I had to get up at 5am, take the 5:40am bus and arrive at the school gate at 6:10am. By the time I got home, it was 2:50pm.

    We had to be involved in the co-curricular activities too, but activites were spread out over 3 days la.

  12. kampungkai – Hehehe.

    jc – I do not object to co-co but not to cramp everything into one day. I am talking about 9 yrs old kids who are not given a choice whether they want to join or not. They all have to. That’s my point.

    sunnyside – Yeah, it is hard to not get suck into the cycle, very hard.

    immigrationcanada – I agree that we Asians (especially Chinese) are very concerned about education and sometimes I wonder if we are on the right track. Well, if there are proper and comfortable facilities provided in the Government school like air-conditioned rooms, proper meals and equipments, then, I have no problem having the kids hanging around the schools.

    Kiasi – Hah, next time when you become a Minister, remember to propose this in kabinet.

    Joey – Hello, I am talking about small kids, whole day in school, doing stuffs they can’t appreciate. I am not against co-co, I am not complaining about my older kids and their choices of co-co. So, read properly? What you did in high school, is your choice, you do readily, enjoying with frens. What they are going through are 7.30 am till 5pm grind in the current hot weather.

    So, this sentence from you :
    Everybody’s willing to do it. So what’s the big deal?

    is not very nice wor. Understand the gist of post first?

    Peter – As explained above.

    Tongkat AhLian – My sons’ school (both primary and secondary) are the last few mission schools, considered ‘upper-class’. Last time, I used to stay very far away from the school and it is torture to drive up and down several times a day. Lucky we moved to this new place which is next to the primary school and only a short bus trip to the secondary school.

    marlinda – Yeah, zaman dah berubah. Hope these are for the better.

    king’s wife – Yeah, for secondary school kids, oklah. But for 9-10 years old kids, ask them to go for club, uniform body and sports all in one day is too much, right?

    P – There are lots of regulations in the school but I guess if we don’t become yes-man, then, it is bearable.

    contentedmom – Home schooling? Nightmare! I don’t want to live with my kids 24/7. Let them to out to school a bit never mind. 🙂

    CLF – Yeah, there are 3 compulsory groups. i.e. uniform body, intellectual club and sports

    Beer Brat – 🙂

  13. hmm.. like it or not, we’ve got to live with it. This is M’sia!.. they, the (kitchen) cabinet can just simply change any rules whenever they think it’s necessary to do so, without thinkin the effect(s) to our talented kids…

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