Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Future Ready Child

This post is about fulfilling Medium Boy's and Small Boy's human potential.  Not just academic potential, which has been the main (and often ONLY) point in the local newspapers The Straits Times in the whole furore on tweaking the PSLE *

I work in a global company which leaves its energy footprint over the 7 continents (except for maybe Antarctica).  When I look around and see how success is defined, it is not by sheer intellectual horsepower.  Yes, the proof of brains (the degree) gets you through the door to be interviewed, but after that, success is defined by the ability to look beyond in 2 dimensions – (1) space… looking beyond the current functional or business area, and (2) time… looking beyond now into the future.  This is the Company which coined the term “helicopter vision” and uses “scenario planning” to plot the future environment it foresees itself operating in.  Success is also how to build a shared vision, and bringing in the relationships (EQ = emotional quotient) aspect, how to motivate others to believe and act on your shared vision.

Academic success and life success
I am a true product of the Singaporean education system.  The first thing that I do when I enter the examination hall for a qualitative essay type subject like General Paper, Economics, Literature and Geography is to read the questions from top to bottom.   I take a slightly different approach for quantitative subjects like Mathematics but rest assured that I would have pored over the syllabus to determine the boundaries of what the syllabus determines I need to know. I do not waste time studying out of syllabus.  There is simply no time.
This type of exam smart training enables me to size up situations and parameters quickly, but only in a structured environment.  Life however is not always structured.

The Husband on the other hand was schooled in Malaysia. His childhood was spent outdoors (camping, swimming in waterfalls, catching grasshoppers for sale), entrepreneurship (buying stickers from the wet market, and selling them to his classmates for a 200% margin), helping his mom with housework and games.  School was a place to socialize and earn money from his peers.  The Husband is street smart, and quick thinking on his feet, compared to exam-smart me. 

There is a place for academic success.  But unless you want to spend your life in academia, the degrees and postgrad degrees.. all these only build the foundations, the theories and concepts, for living.  Life is inherently messy.

The boys need time to grow in EQ and SQ (Social Quotient).  Time to play, explore and yes, devise ways to hustle, to make a living from their passions.  People who care about the community that we all live in.  To grow into men I am proud to call my sons.

To be all that, they need time to discover and then develop proficiency in their passions.

Hence I am not sending Medium Boy and Small Boy to my alma mater, where they will most likely spend way too much time on homework, and how to ace exams.  Instead they are going to a holistic school in the eastern part of Singapore, because I want a childhood for them, and lifelong friends who spend time on the soccer field (or other sports) and in community service. 

* PSLE = Primary School Leaving Examinations.  All 12 year olds in Singapore, including the tiny minority who are home-schooled, have to take the PSLE.


  1. I love what you wrote. You're so brave!!

  2. Hi Ting,
    Oh! your boys were from that school too.
    Ah.... I feel more validated in my choice then :) From your blog, they are level headed young men who know their passions. You should be very proud of them.

    I removed your comment lest readers all chiong to the school I named..... oops!

  3. Interesting that you've come to this conclusion because the last we spoke, you were adamant about sending them to your alma mater :)

  4. The kids in that school are very playful and happy, just like how they should always be!