The dilemma of public vs private education

Is the current education availability landscape a boon or a bane  for the new age parents? Because of the knowledge & exposure to the global education landscape, the supposed ‘knowledgeable’ parents now became so concern with what ‘type’ of education they want their precious child to be getting. There are mainstream public school, private school, international & homeschooling – so many choices to choose from vs our parent’s time when there is just that one mainstream public school system.

I find myself reading, asking, analyzing & worrying excessively on what ‘sort’ of education system I should be sending my child to. My main priority is which education will help develop my child’s capability – but really when it comes to the nitty gritty part for me – it was just a simple – NO EXCESSIVE Homework !

Looking back, I only wanted my child to learn the Chinese language well so that she has access to more Chinese books vs just English books – which I often feel that I was at disadvantaged with. So I naturally enrolled my daughter to the local public Chinese medium school. And I never expect how my whole perspective change within the span of a year!

The accounts shared with parents of older kids attending the chinese school just shocked me & my experience of my girl getting all the weekly spelling from her kindy (according to the kindy, they are preparing the kids for chinese school) just does not sit well with me. I hear my sis in law complaining how her kid needing to complete the homework till 1am everyday & on top of that the kid’s weekends are spent on additional tuition classes.

So my question was – What is the school for then? If the kid has to do excessive homework & yet still go to weekend tuition classes – isn’t the school failing it’s role in educating the kids?

I firmly believe the parents’ well being is very important in a family. And I think if I (as the mother) has to be watching over my kid on her excessive homework every weekday nights after a working full day then weekends are spent on sending the child to tuition classes, I am pretty sure I will be not be very ‘well’ indeed – both physically & emotionally.

And thus – the alternative education came into the picture. Of course if the  alternative private / international school system is not available or even too expensive, I guess I will just have to resigned to my fate, but as I have mentioned – the availability & affordability have given us more choices. And precisely because of this availability, it furthers adds on to my ‘problems’ vs when I don’t have any other choice.

I always wonder why has the public education system eroded to just all memorizing & mugging? What’s with the excessive homework? Maybe our society has become really ‘complicated’ & the school is trying to keep up. But honestly I feel if anything, we need to simplify everything that’s getting so complicated now. People overthink & over analyze a small matter that they fail to focus on what matters. What matters is the child ‘understands’ what is being taught. Why 1+1 =2  & not 4 ? Why are we rushing them to do 20+14 when they don’t get why is 1+1=2 is not 4?

Honestly, does excessive weekly spelling actually help the child in building her vocabulary in building meaningful sentences? (eg. I had a hard time explaining the difference between happiness & happy – in Chinese to my 6 year old daughter, heck I don’t even know how to explain happiness – defined in dictionary as -state of being happy  in English!) So..how do one explain ‘state of being happy’ to a 6 year old ?!

Yes, our public education has failed us. Our leaders are not in touch with the current trends. Our teachers are overworked & underpaid. The kids are not ‘inbalanced’ & unhappy, it is not wonder that bullying at school has gotten more vicious & deadly.

I can either be grateful that I have the means to give my child the alternative ‘better’ education system or be ‘angry’ that despite my tax contributions, our government failed the citizens in providing a decent education for future generation of this country.

So what would I choose? Can I be both?

Yes yes.. first world problems…

 

 

 

 

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Icelandic women & Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

So the month of June, I have decided to feature the Icelandic women & Vigdís Finnbogadóttir as I visit the beautiful country of Iceland & wanted to feature the country’s inspiring women as well.

During the International Women’s Year in 1975 Icelandic women attracted great attention when they organized a general strike to show how important women’s undervalued work was. 90 per cent of the Icelandic women went on strike. And this is the start where the country’s politics start to change & that’s when Vigdís Finnbogadóttir comes in.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the world’s first democratically directly elected female president.  She holds true to her post & took an active role as environmental activist and fought for Icelandic language and culture, acting as a cultural ambassador in promoting the country.  She had as her motto: ‘Never let the women down’ and worked specifically to promote girls’ education.

What I am in awe of is really how during the 1975 these Icelandic women decided to band together & show that they contribute just as much as men do. We are talking about 42 years ago where gender equality is not a norm (actually even today, it is still not a norm).

So yes.. women can do what they set out to do .. that is if they WANT to do it at all.

Maya Angelou

My month of May feature of inspiring woman is Maya Angelou. An poet, writer & civil rights activist. She is super popular.. so if need know more – just wiki/google – so much information about her.

Maya

image via wikimedia commons

Her poems are famous & so are her books.  But for me what really makes me take an interest in her was when she shared her mother’s advice – “Ask for what you want,and be prepared to pay for what you get “

And why it strikes me so ? Because – it is one thing we ALWAYS forget when want something. We ask, demand, work hard & give our all to get what we want but sometimes we forget to be prepared for what we will get.

It is like

At 6, you can’t wait to go to school but you are not prepared with the home work for the next 10 years.

At 12, you can’t wait to be taller but you are not prepared with the chaotic hormonal change

At 21, you can’t wait to start work & put your college knowledge to work but you are not prepared that what you learn are only used < 5 % cause nothing matters more than diligence & persistence.

At 28, you can’t wait to live with your absolute love but you are not really (or ever will be) prepared for the other 50% of the weird habits

At 35, you can’t wait to have the baby out of your womb (cos 9 whole months of 100% attachment can really get to you) but you are not really prepared for the 300% commitment to the child for the rest of your life.

“budding” wannabe entrepreneurs cum professionals

After years of running a small business & having met countless customers, suppliers & professionals, I can’t help but be more annoyed with the professionals. To be fair, these professionals are great at their work, one can learn a lot from them, but when they thought I am their BFF (on their end) , they start to give me ideas on doing business. And most of the time, they seem to be wanting the ‘business’ owners to come up with money, time & work, while they – being the ‘professional’ just gives the idea (aka all talk).

The fact of the matter is, entrepreneurs are not just people who generate idea. They are successful because they execute them. They invest 150% of their time in their idea. I am not an entrepreneur precisely because I don’t invest 150% of my time, I only invest 50%. But that doesn’t mean that I am stupid ok?

I don’t get why a professional will think ‘introducing’ people to work for us will therefore be ‘super’ beneficial to expansion of our business. The nitty gritty of any business is not just about people, its also about processes, controls, budgets & sales. If there’s anything I learned from my 8 years, it will be – its all about SALES, SALES, SALES. Get the SALES (& payment!) before one should even bother with any capital investment.

So see – those successful entrepreneurs, they know its all about sales & also all about capital  – what they do is giving their all to their idea & execution. I have met many small scale entrepreneurs & they work at least 12 hours a day & give their all to their business.

Yes – that’s what sets professionals & entrepreneurs apart.

Unless the professional can get out of their ‘comfort’ zone of that monthly ‘clock-work’ salary,please – don’t go around ‘sharing’ your ideas & telling other ‘small’ business owners to try to sell your ‘product or services’. It really is very degrading to your profession.

I am not an entrepreneur or a professional. But I am very ‘lucky’ to have met both types. I guess it is because we are small businesses & professionals seems to think they know better because they are experts in their field. I have never met any entrepreneur who gives ideas for other small business owner because they know that running one is nothing compared to the amount of energy & time needed.

 

 

Lang Ping – Volleyball Extraordinaire

I am a fan of the volleyball game, maybe it’s because I played the game when I was in school although only for just 3 years.  And obviously, I followed the volleyball in the Olympics. And Rio 2016 Olympics final was a superb game. Both opposing teams were just as good but I guess this is where strategy & advice by the coach make that additional edge. So this month, I am going to feature about Lang Ping from China.

Picture from alchetron.com

 

Her accolades in volleyball are widely known – an Olympic champion player during the 1980s but really what make her even more famous was the fact that she became the first person, male or female, to have won gold at the Olympics both as a player and as a coach. Yes the first person not just first female.

Of course what I found particularly inspiring about her is the fact that she remain true to her love for the game regardless the fact that she is a China national & coaching the USA volleyball in the 2008 Olympics to beat the China team in the preliminaries despite public criticism (some call her traitor).

We don’t see many female athletics (champions/professionals) get really successful in coaching, maybe because females tend to take on the priority role of raising the family (which I might add is one of the most demanding role that has no expiry of contract whatsoever & no off days!) .  I would think she made it this far is because of her staying true to the love of her game (thus professional) regardless of her nationality. She ventured out of the comfort zone (she was famous in China & would have been a national coach anyway) to the US in search for her own personal development. While chasing after her own career growth, she also raised a child! So I am intrigued.

So yes, anything is possible – if you stay true to your abilities & continually learn / improve , sometimes even question the status quo (which seems very good) to test how far you can go to be even better.

Dr. Vandana Shiva

This month’s feature for inspiring women is Dr. Vandana Shiva. Although not of the first to speak out against genetic engineering & pest control in agriculture, her efforts in promoting her believes are widely known.

good-vandana3-1

picture from parabereforum.com

She believes & actively promotes biodiversity (as nature intended) in agriculture is what will increase productivity, nutrition & farmer’s income.If one reads about how farmers get ‘trapped‘ into greed cycle of some corporations, one can’t help be disgusted by how sick human beings can be sometimes.

Most importantly she decides to actively promote this cause is the fact that she sees first hand how the hardworking farmers are so poor & believes that the root of the problem was how the ‘educated’ exploited not just the farmers but also the Earth by introducing unsustainable practices to the uneducated farmers.

Something for young girls to ponder about. The food that we eat everyday – planted, cultivated & grown by farmers – something that we take for granted but absolutely can’t live without – can you make a difference to their lives as they have contributed to yours everyday like what Dr. Vandana is doing?