Innocence Lost

No, I’m not talking about loosing virginity, people! Get you head out of the gutter. *chuckles* Yours truly over here had ice cream in a playground after a long day at work (you know, from the Paddle Pop uncle), and had an opportunity sitting down and observe the surrounding. I haven’t been to a playground for quite some time now, and I thought watching childish display of excitement by the kids who were playing in the playground is a good way to find a little bit of peace in my already hectic life.

But boy, was I wrong. Playground is actually not a place to relax. Not when I recalled that there are many unwanted things happened to children in the playground as soon as I sat down. Playground can be a very dangerous place if children are left there playing without supervision. They can get injured, kidnapped or even raped in a playground. I sighed as I thought of those things, suddenly, some voices caught my attention and snapped me back into the realm of reality. The shouting and yelling of a mother to a child and her maid caught my attention, and this is what I heard. Please pardon the inaccuracy in my storytelling, because the actual conversation happened in Cantonese.

Mother: Why did you bring her down here to play? I told you she’s not allowed to play here at all!

Maid: Maam, she wanted to come out and play for a while, so I thought it’s okay…she’s been doing her homework, and she said she’s bored.

Mother: Homework are not supposed to be fun, and she is going to be late for her piano lesson! Get her back here at once! Bathe her and prepare her for piano class. Tonight, she is not allowed any TV. Why, you rotten thing, you are spoiling my child! Go and get her at once!

Maid: Yes, maam.

And so, the maid walked over to the swing solemnly, and talked to a child which gave me a shock. The girl is just about 4 years old, and her jovial smile while she was swinging on the swing was wiped away from her face immediately when she saw her mother from afar. The child then walked to her mother and tried to hold her hand, but before she could manage to do that, the mother began to reprimand her for not doing her homework and for playing in the playground. Her hands dropped to her side immediately as her mother continued to scold her. She was told to grow up and behave well and not to mix around with ‘the kids in the playground’ or she’ll end up growing up as a useless rubbish because she can never compete with other children who are well raised up by their parents.

The girls innocent and happy expression was gone immediately, replaced by a stony expression that I could not read at all. It’s an expression that I can’t ever imagine could be written in on a face of a child as young as that. That expression belongs to a child forced to grow up before it’s time.

I was aghast. Something is not right here. The child is not even a primary school girl and she’s forced to endure this sort of ‘education’ and ‘discipline’ by the mother? Why, though I would never deny that education and discipline is essential in a child’s upbringing in order to prepare them to face this competitive world better, but I’m against robbing a child off their childhood. To me, education and discipline ought to be balanced with a dash of childhood fun.

I honestly could not blame the mother fully for wanting to prepare her child and educate her to face the competitive world, after all, our education system is requiring academic excellence in every students, and if we do not wish to be left behind, we’ll have to keep up and excel. A mother would always want the best for her child, but is this the best for a child? Is it right to rob them off their childhood and strapped them with the burden of our education system just because we want the children to strive? This is not right.

It is a common notion amongst many parents and educators here that children need to be taught things and that this teaching needs to be done by the professionals. Hence, learning is institutionalized and heavily outsourced to certified professionals who are supposed to know what they are doing.

But we forget that it is children’s inherent nature to be inquisitive, playful and creative, especially in their formative years, and this natural way of learning about the world around them is important in giving them a sense of self and security. By giving them the mental and physical space to grow and explore, we are giving them the freedom to develop their self-esteem and personal interests.

By forcing children to grow up and be mature before they had explored their own little world, that, to me, is taking their innocence away from them, because they will grow up lacking human touch in pursuit of academic excellence. They’ll grow up being stony, selfish and lack humane emotions. I could not bring myself to imagine what kind of world it’ll be if every child is to grow up lacking in humanity department.

Cleffairy: What harm is it to allow a young child to play once in a while? All work and no play makes a child dull, after all.

18 comments

  1. Son Goku says:

    how is morning, clef?

    very well said. it reminds me of my father… anyway, thats one of the factors that molds the behavior of a person. but i dont want to blame parents because parenting is not being formally taught at school. maybe someday, future curriculum would include Parenting 101, Parenting 102, and so on. hehehehe!

  2. ktx says:

    kids nowadays huh? then again, what was the mom doing bk at home? knitting? i guess they rely too much on the maid for a certain personal touch. i could hv gone play football and all at the nearby padang or gone into the nearby jungle for a waterfall extravaganzahhhh, the whole day should my father not waited for me with the cane at the door…lol. i think kids nowadays should really be exposed to the nature than these man made thrills lah….well, of coz playgrounds r universal, but they get to shop shop and shop…boringgg.

  3. peteformation says:

    I pity the kids nowadays, they have so many education related activities and no time to play. I used to interview many people for jobs and I found many of our graduates r not creative, the result of our education system. But, again the crime rate these days are so terrible, many parents simply keep their children at home most of the time or have no time to bring them out!

  4. Calvin says:

    son goku : i agree. as for my case, since my dad passed on a long time ago, it was my mom who took on my dad’s role. but raised as a typical nyonya, the discipline was kinda harsh. but i guess i learned a lot from her. there are pros and cons but there must be a balance of work and play.

    ktx : yeaf, you’re rite too. children nowadays rely on tech to survive. i think if they are to spend a week in the woods, they’ll piss in their pants and crying for mommy.

    pete : everyone’s rite today…hehehe. from my observation, there are 2 types of parents.

    1. parents are more into their career rather than spending quality time with their children. a friend of mine actually send his son to tuition classes almost everyday…and yes including weekends. they have piano classes lah, bm classes lah, maths classes lar……haiyo, if im that kid, i’ll be dead in an instant.

    2. parents who are scared to death to let their children out to play. cant blame them. like you said, crime rates are rising at an alarming rate eg child abduction, rape, molest by the sickos out there. and they also target our boys…*sigh* very sad indeed.

  5. KevinP says:

    Clef, parents today unfortunately majority very kiasu… when they meet other parents its all about … who’s what and who’s who and who do what… inadvertantly the pawn (kids) gets to bear the suffering so that their parents can look good.

    It has nothing to do with fear for kid’s safety (those who do are just paranoid. The basic issue is, parent cannot give up their precious time for their kids). If only the parents can be around when the kids play and allow them the freedom to express themselves in that particular playtime, anything goes, no rules. I am pretty good at that actually compared to my wife. They will enjoy their time but under your watchful eye. Problem with today’s parents is, they do not have the time to do all that.

    Personally I do not think the kids demand that much, 2-3 hours a week would suffice to let them have their day. I try to give my kids more. Some evenings when I get home early and weekends they get the bonus to play with a kid or two from the shelter home.

  6. roses says:

    yup. i am glad i am not a kid growing up at this era.
    it’s so sickening yet inevitable. poor kids..
    healthy kids are supposed to be given rooms for crazy funs..
    i grew up in mud-pools w the ducks n chickens and yes, swans..
    climbing trees and stuff..
    but kids nowadays, tuition tuition tuition and tuition..

  7. cleffairy says:

    Goku, actually, we cannot blame parents for being ‘kiasu’ or wanting the child to be competitive. Because it’s parent’s nature that we want our children to be successful when they grow up. What is to be blame is the education system. It emphasize on academic excellence too much that they forget to include some balance in it. there’s co-curricular activities, yes, but these are forced too. Students these days do not actually have much time to do what they really like and explore their surroundings because they are forced to endure this kind of education climate. No, we do not have parenting taught in schools, but we do have pre-marital courses made compulsory by the government and religious bodies before you’re to get married. Parenting is included in these pre-marital courses. to prepare you for the marriage.
    But then again, I do not agree on learning about parenting through books and courses, because in truth, it’s trial and error that makes parents and children grow. We can refer to books, yes, but parents and child actually learn from each other in the whole process of parenting.

    ktx, i don’t think the mom is knitting back home, because she looks like one of those typical career woman who is ‘too busy’ to care for her child, hence toss the responsibility of parenting and caregiving to her maid. Hahaha, you father wait with a cane at the door? He’s a scary one. I remembered when I was young, I was quite a naughty little girl. But my father is a strict person. All he need to do is pull a face and bark at me, then I’ll be scared out of my wits. I used to love riding my bike til dusk, but when I get home, boy, won’t I get into trouble with my mom and dad. LOL.

    Pete, yea, exactly. Graduates these days are lacking in the creativity area. Even my other half is complaining about it when he wanted to hire some interns for his business. he found most are not worth taking in, because they simply think according to the books. Haihh, crime rate these days is something should be addressed and eradicate. We used to be able to play outside without having fear of anything untoward that will happen to us. But we can’t say the same now. Our kids will need to be strictly supervised unless we want them to get kidnapped, molest or raped, of course.

    Uncle warrior…hahaha…dating and marriage is totally two different thing what? Dating time of course everything is sweet, but when you’re married, all hell break loose.:-P

    Calvin, sad, isn’t it?To see the kids these days have to endure what we were spared from when we were growing up…

    Kevin, yalorr, parents these days are kiasu, kiasi and kiabo. All three Ks! Sigh, really can’t blame parents for being kiasu, you know. Coz Malaysian environment is becoming more shitty that rat race is a must. 🙁
    Your kids are the lucky ones, cuz you’re willing to spare some time with them. But I’m afraid I can’t say many others are doing the same. Most are too busy being $_$…you know what I mean.

    Rose… I wouldn’t trade for anything to experience how kids these days go through their childhood. It’s horrible. I used to have crazy funs. Haha…I used to live by the seaside, and being a bit tomboyish, I join boys in my class look for clams and fishing! When I got home, I’m covered with grime, much to my mom’s chagrin. But she have not much complains, because every time I joined the boys for such activities, she’ll get some extra stuff to cook for dinner.

  8. Son Goku says:

    i truly agree. humans are too complicated since they cant be predicted by the laws of physics or mathematics. parenting is in the field of behavioral science which unfortunately most of us are not too familiar. playing with behavioral science to a child could possibly result to a very undesirable effect. but honestly, i know nothing about behavioral sciences. =)

  9. cleffairy says:

    Hahaha, looks like my didi very free these days. Hmmm… hiya Seng. Hmm, maybe jie should advertise your cooking over here in jie’s blog. Miss you so much. 😀

    Goku, we have cognitive studies for that, but nothing replace the learning experience that parents and child go through with each other. Haha… not all of us are not familiar in the field of parenting over here. Most of the people here are parents. Take uncle warrior for example, he’s far more senior than any of us here, and his eldest kids are already in university. I bet he did a good job in parenting. Same goes with Kevin and Pete. 😛

    Pamina…yup…all we need in this damned world is a little bit of kindness. 😀

  10. cleffairy says:

    Frannnnnnn! OMG, Frannnnn! I missed you heaps! how have you been? The other they I login, you’re not in. I miss everyone, you, Seng, uncle pui, my sisters and my brothers
    🙁 you only play during weekends? i haven’t seen you during the day. 🙁

    Oihh, what all play and no work… must study also, Fran. jia you, jia you! you have all my love and support! OMG, I sound so less! 😛

  11. fran says:

    hehhe no ah i got online nowadays quite long 1day at least 15hours ermm bt upcoming week maybe not so free (: Login more often whn ur’e FREE only ^^

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