Salam and Good Morning to all
It is now the second day of 2012. Happy New Year and may this year we strive harder in achieving our goals and dream. Each year will have the moments and I sincerely hope year 2012 will bring us happiness, strength, love, good health and many more for my dear friends and readers.
For the last month and the last two weeks of 2011, I have been busy involving myself with weddings and school preparations. It is indeed a good experience because each experience will give us a different insight. The good thing about experience is we can share with many and does not mean coming from our personal experience alone but from others too. Involving myself in wedding preparation is a normal task since I was a given a full responsibility to organise my sister and brothers’ wedding few years ago by my parents. From a simple agenda to a final detailed of the arrangement was in my hand. It was never easy. Dealing with the bride and groom ideas, my parent’s request, budget, venue, caterer, invitation and all the nick knack of the weddings can make me gone mad. Again this year I was kindly ask by a friend to assist her in her daughter’s wedding and recently by my aunt. With a little bit of experience of my own, I transfer a bit of those for them to see and adjust according to their needs and specification. I am happy to do all that. It takes me away from my normal routine going to work, looking at the document, verify them, writing a report bla bla bla makes life stagnant and boring I assume.
Journey of life will never end. It is either we choose not to get involve, involve, partially involve or ignore. Ignorance is a bad life partner. It will turn us dumb by many. As long as our involvement remained on the sideline I do think it is not interfering. We get involve when we are asked to or take part when we are required to, other than that we remained as observers. The beginning of 2012 saw my nieces going to school; the older niece going to private boarding school and the younger niece going to private primary school. By using the word “private” I guess many will say I am trying to brag or announcing it to the world but not in this case. I sincerely want to share the incidences while going through the registration, levelling test and getting to know friends and parents in school during the orientation week. Private and international school is again not so new experience to me; my cousins, nieces and nephews been there. Honestly nothing is too great or high-profile to talk about. It is bounds to choices, preferences and the biggest concern will be whether the financial permits the parents to send their children to such school. This observation makes me want to write, where I do think the Malays are now not humble anymore. The Malays are forgetting the values, culture, manners, simplicity and everything about their roots. Money, status, success made the Malays forgets their roots.
I asked myself million times, what is so great putting your child or children in private or international school? I’ve search the answer and trying to think and weighing the benefits of being in private school.
First of all I am sure all parents want the best for their children. Parents will work hard to earn the money and give everything the best; from the best care to the best school and all the best without forgetting the love and attention because this is two main things money can’t buy. This is my experience while accompanying my nieces for their orientation. Once we are there nothing actually differentiate us (that’s what I think). If Mr A, B, C and D are there nothing compares them to Mr. E, F, G and all. The parents are at the school to register their child/children. No other reason why these parents are at the school. But of course I am not able to read their mind which brings me to this article as we continue.
The norm during such meetings is getting to know the school and conversation strike among the adults (parents, grandparents, aunties/uncles and so forth). After a simple introduction among the crowd I am sure we will strike a conversation and topic of conversation mainly evolving why we choose the school, where do we live, where do we attach to and so on. If we found or bump into someone more relax and comfortable in chatting the topic will definitely be more on difficulty sending the children to such school.
Do we really think parents choose private or international school because they have lots of money or millionaires? The answer to this question is a VERY HUGE NO from my random survey. Money although is important but becomes secondary in this matter. I am sure we now realise time is to short for everything and that goes to this parents. Many of them are working parents and time is very precious to them. They are willing to pay more because they are not able to be home at specific hour to be with their children and mind their homework. In private school their schooling hours slightly longer because they have classes in the afternoon for them to complete their homework and the mengaji classes is under the same roof. By the time the children reach home their lunches is taken care by the school, homework done and supervise by the teachers (ie tuition term use by few) and they also attended the complete Islamic lesson every day (this is depending on type of school we send our children). We as parents will have ample time with the child/children asking them their day, going through their lesson and talk and play with them. Spending the quality time with them; not rushing them to eat their lunches because tuition classes starts at this hour, taekwondo lesson, mengaji and other co-curriculum. All this is time consuming and we get tired at the end of the day even maybe to say hello to our children. Once we are tired we start scolding them and yelling at them. They either listen to us for a while and become immune later on and let us yell at any other time.
This is the real situation. Few of parents that I get to know merely sending their children because of everything are under one roof. They have to sacrifice many things sending them to such school including their day-to-day expenses and needs. A huge sacrifice I shall say because the one lump sum payment for the school fees must be paid upon registration. After listening, observing and a bit of calculation I make the mental picture of the private school and the ordinary government school. The school which my niece going have a few classroom and for standard 1 they have only 4 classrooms and per class the most amount of student is 25 and their smallest number is 20 on a pro-rata basis. Their syllabus governed by Kementrian Pendidikan which these students will set for the same examination as the normal daily school. Instead of rushing for tuitions after school and the agama school in the morning, everything is done at the same premises and surrounding.
Now I came to the point of dollar and cents. My mind floats too many conversations I had with parents in my workplace. At each month end every parents will calculate their salary and start deducting for tuition fees, bus fare, and this payment that payment for their children. The headache and the obstacle or challenges is the same. Sending your children to a private school everything have to be paid upfront and no other hidden payment monthly where school or co-curriculum’s is concern. If there is any other payment incurred during the school term parents will be advice before hand and the purpose of the collection. There will be no headache of sending the children for tuition, taekwando classes or mengaji and picking them up. For parents who are sending their children to any other day school payment can be made monthly and few other payments during the school term. Simple mathematics and calculation will give us more or less the same amount. I derived the calculation on the tuition fees per subject charged by the tuition teacher or tuition centre. Plus and minus till the end of the year we will definitely come close to the figure paid by parents at the private school. I am sure there are readers going to argue on this but before anyone does please think rationally about the headache of sending and picking them up, monthly salary for the maid at home or even sending them to nursery after school, our desire for shopping and holidays, etc etc.
There are many more examples why parents choose private or international school. After a long sideline track I return to the Malays forgetting their roots. I did highlight earlier in this article if we meet the parent during registration there is no rank that separate them. All of them at the school for the same reason, registering their children and in few circumstance the grandmother, grandfather, aunties and uncles accompany them for the sheer of excitement seeing the little girls and boys at school. This is a normal scenario but became unmoral when these people start their conversation. It happens to me the other day, the auntie of so and so out of the blue telling me the brother and sister in-law are doctors. What? Did I ask? Do I care? What is so great about being a doctor? I gave her a big grin and I’m telling myself if she trying to brag again I will move and before I can do that the child mother came and started to grumble that her daughter will have difficulty eating because at home she eats using fork and spoon and never by her hand. I honestly stared at them and look at my brother, oh for heaven sake you are a Malay family and what value and culture you are teaching your children? For a simple reason I feel so sick to their expression and making a scene trying to plead to the care taker of the dining hall to allow her child to use fork and spoon. Is this education? Not being racist but I do think the Chinese and Indians are appreciating their culture better. Chinese use chopstick and Indians use their hands eating at the banana leaf restaurant. Chinese have the Lion Dance and sending their children to learn the technique and Indian sending their children for the classical dance lessons. For a minute, please try to focus on the Lion Dance and classical Indian dance, what are the benefits to the child if they ever learned the two. Did anyone watch Karate Kid 2010? It is all about discipline for our mind-body and soul.
Where are we Malays? We abandoned silat and kompang without realising this is our culture and part of discipline for our mind and body, as the Lion Dance by the Chinese cultural troop.
Did we Malays find our level of education and mentality by what we have? I am not dismissing the fact our environment play an important part of our upbringing and the school we went to but to categorise the level of high achievers student not entirely about the family background and the money wealth. There are many less fortunate students in our country but they excel in their studies because they have the determination to learn, they take hardship as their challenge to strive better for the future, strong will power and many other good qualities. The money and family influence is only the stepping stone for the lucky ones but they remained poor if they do not know how to appreciate and the length of sacrifices made by the parents. Who at fault if they don’t? Again and again it is no ending stories.
With no doubt at all even though private, international or normal government school is a familiar situation around me, I still have many question arises despite trying to rate in this short article. Opinion please.
A pen of thought by : Sanaa 01/01/12