On A Rainy Day

It’s the beginning of fall and the weather has been quirky

It still gets really hot on some days when the sky is clear with the sun shining furiously
And I could still trot around in my t-shirts and shorts

Then on some days, it gets really chilly when the overcast sky refuses to relent
which puts me in a gloomy mood and reminds me how I dread the cold weather

The other day, it started to rain and it rained and rained whole day

To kill boredom, the kids put on their raincoats (which didn’t stay on for long)
And spent a long time collecting raindrops that fell off from the rooftop while I fiddled with my very under utilized DSLR

And they laughed and giggled as if the raindrops tickled them



And I realised while we try to teach them the things that can give them a happy life
Perhaps they already taught us a happy life is but to live simply


Linking up with Mamawearpapashirt’s Little Lessons – because as parents we are growing and learning with our children


Our Mid Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn festival was last Thursday
I probably wouldn’t know, if not for Facebook
The celebration of Chinese Festival is non existent in this part of the country we are in
The nearest chinatown is more than 2 hours from where we live
The population here is made up of predominantly African American
The only tell tale sign that it is Mid-Autumn festival is probably the size of the moon !
That night, we set up a huge fire in our backyard

The boys know what to do when they play with fire
A big bucket of water to standby, just in case they start burning down the house

Then on Friday, I made an impromptu decision to check out the Korean supermarket
It was located in a shadier part of town
I headed there alone, in my clumsy minivan, after my morning run

Okay, my minivan was clumsy, it couldn’t go fast, it couldn’t turn well
but it wasn’t flashy, so it wouldn’t attract too much unnecessary attention
But were my shorts too short ? or my shirt too bright ?
I am paranoid like that these days, afterall the crime rate in this city was ranked among the highest in the country

Then as I was about to get off the car, I saw 2 black men loitering at the entrance
So now what ? should I go or should I stay ?
I circled in the carpark for a couple of minutes, made sure the men were off, before I stopped the engine and made a quick dash to the entrance

Did I just paint a picture of tiny me, cladding a bag, scurrying into a run down supermarket
Not so picture perfect huh ?!
But guess what … it was all worth it
I found this !

It was a day late, but I wasn’t even complaining
It was like striking lottery

Now what was missing was one of those ching chong lantern
But since a couple years back, we had stopped getting those
It has almost become a tradition for us to make our own lanterns, usually using junk from our recycled box
The kids helped out when they felt like it but they usually scooted off after a few strokes of paint

In the end, I was the one having the most fun crafting these lanterns and I actually missed making them
Especially after reading what this fellow mom blogger had done with her kids

So I haphazardly dug out some scraps from our stash
A lettuce box, a seaweed box and an egg carton
And we ended up with a very hungry looking lantern


This entry was posted in craft.

Tuition Dilemma, A Prisoner’s Dilemma

I found myself bewildered by the impasse
An entire generation of parents was expressing their frustration over the education system

They were demanding that MOE act to stop the tuition disease, to stomp it out like a cancer
Yet the Minister had proclaimed that the education system was designed so that no student required tuition
Then how does one explain that 97% of Singapore primary school students have after school tuition?

Speaking to some teachers and parents, it seems to me that both sides were well meaning
MOE didn’t intend for parents to send their  kids to tuition as a norm
And the parents didn’t intend to spend thousands of dollars on tuition but they felt they had no choice

And I believe them both

So who is to blame for robbing these children of their childhood?
Can it be possible that this impasse was due to nobody’s fault?

After some reflection, I thought we are perhaps caught in the Prisoner’s Dilemma which explains why 2 individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in the best interests to do so

The cause was as much structural as it was cultural.

For the sake of our discussion, let’s assume there are only two parents.

Parent A doesn’t know if Parent B is going to send his kid to tuition.  Assuming tuition gives children an advantage in school, parent A will act in his self interest and send his kid for tuition, because that is the dominant strategy when there is lack of information. Parent B will do the same.

Thus, with a lack of communication and trust between parents A and B, the tendency is that both parents will send their kids for tuition.

Multiply now the number of parents. The communication and trust problem worsen.  Parents will end up sending their kids for tuition, because otherwise, their kids will lose out.  They are compelled to do so.  They feel that “they have no choice”

And we ended up with frustrated parents and a whole generation of burnt out kids

Unintended impasse by well meaning parents and schools.

So the question now is, how do we break the impasse?

Based on the prisoner’s dilemma, we may consciously choose to break from the natural order of things by collaborating, in our case, boycotting the tuition centres.

This way, we level the playing field, save the money that would otherwise be spent on tuition and most importantly, give back our children their childhood but in reality, which parents would take the risk of pulling their kids out from tuition centres which they have grown so dependent upon.

If what Education Minister said is indeed true

‘..no amount of changes in the education system can alter the reality of each of us chasing after material and positional goods. We cannot have broader definitions of success in education without our society accepting broader definitions of success in life. In many respects, the education system reflects societal norms and expectations’

Perhaps a more lasting solution for breaking the impasse will require us to look into the fundamental, to redefine success and the way we measure it which will then invalidate the prisoner’s dilemma

This will require us to rethink what is education and probably a whole generation of re-education.

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