Kiasu society--> kiasu child--> death & tragedy

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Kiasu society--> kiasu child--> death & tragedy

Postby sashimi » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:08 pm

The reason why this topic's subject title is scary is because I think either many of us are afraid to admit it or worse, we may not even be aware of it, or we simply don't know if it will ever happen to us.

The parents of the Indonesian undergrad in the NTU case are parents just like us. The fact that their son is 21 and our children are 2, 4, 7 or 13 years old is immaterial. They have/had dreams for their child, they were proud their son got a scholarship, their son fulfilled certain expectations. And then something went wrong, and most importantly, it seems - he was not mentally able to "accept" it. Why?

I now admit that when I read some of the things fellow parents say on KSP, like the sky high expectations on a baby's(!) intellectual ability, the ridiculous time tables of sec sch kids, on your panic when you think your child is deficient or suffering from some XYZ syndrome your paedetrician is trying to $ell you - I fear our kiasuism is literally going to be the death of our children.

The NTU incident is not the first and won't be the last. Please note I'm not here to "blame" his parents of poor parenting, or to blame him for being mentally inadequate against stress.

What I want to say is simple: be kiasu all we want, but you'd better be kiasi also. Please, fellow parents, we all have expectations and dreams that our kids will make it big. But no amount of money poured into enrichment courses and insurance policies is going to prepare or save your child from the mental pressures of modern society. It is probably easier to train a successful child than to train a child who can accept failure meaningfully.

It is maddening to read in the news proclaiming that "systems are in place (in the university) to identify problem students" - sorry, the most important system is us, the parents, the family. Support should begin at home, and not wait until you are 21 years old.

DON'T FORGET to keep your children's mental stability and balance safe, and don't forget to teach them the ability to pick themselves up when they fall down. And DON'T for goodness sake allow your dreams for them, heck even their own dreams, to become their nightmares.

sashimi
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Postby mintcc » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:34 pm

Yes, it is so sad. Really feel for the parents... but from all accounts they seems to have raised a good and obiedient boy before this incident change everything.

don't forget to teach them the ability to pick themselves up when they fall down.

sadly, only so much can be taught. We can teach them the skills to calm down and think of solutions and to view failure as some thing to learn from, but when the test comes, many factors come into play... :(

mintcc
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Postby jedamum » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:42 pm

That poor boy was on Scholarship. So the stress to pass is very great - failure may lead to penalty depending on the terms of the scholarship.

Edit : Just read that his scholarship was revoked last month.
Last edited by jedamum on Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby csc » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:53 pm

I read with sadness over the news of the death of the Indonesian NTU student. There was no doubt that he was a student of high intelligent quotient but somehow failed to handle the emotional and social aspect of his life.

The news is an apt reminder for parents like us ,not to underestimate the development of emotional quotient in our beloved children. We often place a lot of emphasis on developing our children’s cognitive skills. Even in the so-called “quality time” we spend with them is to teach and drill. How often do we set aside time to relate to our kids emotionally? Do we in the first place, put that as a priority, that is, as a task to do everyday besides teaching phonics and maths?

We need to spend time everyday talking, discussing and sharing what’s happening in our children’s life. I find that the best time to do it is during dinner time. It is a practice for my family to have dinner at the dining table, and nowhere else. It is usually this time when the kids will open up to share what are in their minds and lives. Another good time is before bedtime. As we read the bible, we do talk about appropriate behaviours and consequences and praying for our needs bond the family together.

Family time is important. We can set aside time weekly to talk, to discuss responsibilities and discipline measures, clarify expectations, rules and regulations.

We may need to teach our children some “feeling” words, not just merely sight words for reading purposes. They need to know how to share their feelings with us and learn how to react in a particular situation.

We need to give unconditional support and encouragement and let them know how to seek help if they are upset and worried. During stressful periods such as examinations, we need to provide comfort and not to add on to their stress level by our unrealistic demands or expectations and naggings.

We need to help our children find sources where they can relax and let their hair down. My son finds this source in his football games (recreational) with his ex-primary school mates and church mates. My daughter loves attending birthday parties organised by her friends and listening to her Taiwan pop music. Her bath time is extra long as she sings while soaking in the hot shower. Of course, touching, talking to and playing with their pet hamsters help a lot.

We need to praise good effort, completed tasks and perseverance, not just their academic results or attainments. Help our children (especially those who are perfectionist) to accept failures as part of the learning process. Help them to overcome failure and try again. I read of parents who actually ‘hatch’ plans for their children to experience failures.

Having good connections help. The above tragedy may not have happened if the student has a good support network. We need to teach our children what it means to be a friend and help our children make friend.

Let us prove that our children are our greatest priority and aim to set aside time to help them feel connected, valued and safe enough to fail and to bounce back from there!

csc
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Postby pinky » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:02 pm

I feel our society has 0 tolerance for failures and under-performers so everyone is pressured to
do our best lest we are labelled as 'failures' or 'hopeless'. For eg what do
you think when a child tells you he scored 270 for his PSLE vs another child who scored 180?
If a child gets into a top school eg RI or Chinese High, what will be the
reaction from his parents/friends/relatives vs a child who can only qualify for a neighbourhood school?
I feel so sad that education now means how many A* or A1s a child can
score and not how his thirst for knowledge is fulfilled. Learning should be
a lifelong process and it should be an enjoyable journey but in reality, how many of us can attest to that?

pinky
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Sad Tragedy

Postby buds » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:30 pm

There must be a million things that cud've triggered
that one nerve to the poor chap. So young and promising
too. Not having his family with him (as he's a foreign
student on scholarship) may also be one of the factors.
Ability to MSN or SMS may not be enough compared to
an actual pat on the back or a nice big warm hug or
even something as simple as a mother's smile and
daddy's send off to school. Having said that, as parents
i believe all of us do everything.... and i reali mean
everything, sometimes even those outta the way stuff,
just so we can provide for our children, be there for
our children at every step of the way... but somehow,
certain times there is just no telling of the future...
No matter how we look back and scour the how cud it be
and all the why's... we may never have an answer. Esp if
we know we have done our all for our children...

I share the mother's anguish deeply.
No parent is ever prepared for the passing of a child, no
matter what age... before their own. It must be reali hard
for them.. its hard to imagine how time can be of help to
heal their wounds... My deepest sympathies for the family.

buds
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Postby Guest » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:54 pm

This is truly a "wake up" call for kiasuism. It is apt to say that we can be kiasu about so many things but forget to be kiasi until things happen.

Not to mention when a disaster has happened. How about grooming future leaders who do not know how to handle stress?
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Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:08 pm

ks2me wrote:This is truly a "wake up" call for kiasuism. It is apt to say that we can be kiasu about so many things but forget to be kiasi until things happen...


Umm... on this account, I beg to differ. I don't think parenting or kiasuism has anything to do with what happened. It's quite plain to me that the guy was devastated and embarrassed at having lost his scholarship (for reasons we have yet to understand), and may be trying to get back at the person or system that he felt was responsible for his problems. He did not share with his parents because he did not want them to worry or felt his problem was beyond their help. He could not see a future for himself and therefore did what he did.

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Postby Guest » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:36 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:
ks2me wrote:This is truly a "wake up" call for kiasuism. It is apt to say that we can be kiasu about so many things but forget to be kiasi until things happen...


Umm... on this account, I beg to differ. I don't think parenting or kiasuism has anything to do with what happened. It's quite plain to me that the guy was devastated and embarrassed at having lost his scholarship (for reasons we have yet to understand), and may be trying to get back at the person or system that he felt was responsible for his problems. He did not share with his parents because he did not want them to worry or felt his problem was beyond their help. He could not see a future for himself and therefore did what he did.


If I may borrow sashimi's words...."I fear our kiasuism is literally going to be the death of our children."

Chief, because you run this forum on a fun note called "kiasu-ism" which I am taking it with a light heart to that catchy term, I don't suppose you seriously equated kiasu-ism to parenting, do you? :? In reality, parenting IS NOT about kiasu-ism alone. For those who do it in that way will result in the phenomenon that sashimi has mentioned.

You said.... "It's quite plain to me that the guy was devastated and embarrassed at having lost his scholarship, and may be trying to get back at the person or system that he felt was responsible for his problems."

But this is a guy with high intelligence(not a labourer calibre) but missing on the important Qs in his life. What are the missing Qs? The EQs and AQs, which is typically delivered through parenting for the crucial years. Being kiasu has always been a bad connotation and typically it's people who cannot cope needs to be kiasu. If one can cope, what is there to 'su'? And being able to cope is a mindset, not about having really more than people in reality.

So would you still say it has nothing to do with kiasu-ism or parenting?

I have a personal experience to share of a friend I know who is really kiasu from all angles and almost driven her kid to nervous breakdown. And the child does not know how to lose. Quite similar to this 21 YO except this child experienced this alot earlier than 21YO.

And I agree with sashimi, if we cannot curb the kiasu-ism, at least be kiasi...this was precisely what I told my friend, "You can be so kiasu but you forget to be kiasi, when you lose your child, would it not be too late?"
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Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:30 am

ks2me wrote:...But this is a guy with high intelligence(not a labourer calibre) but missing on the important Qs in his life. What are the missing Qs? The EQs and AQs, which is typically delivered through parenting for the crucial years. Being kiasu has always been a bad connotation and typically it's people who cannot cope needs to be kiasu. If one can cope, what is there to 'su'? And being able to cope is a mindset, not about having really more than people in reality.

So would you still say it has nothing to do with kiasu-ism or parenting?
...


Erm... I'm not trying to defend the term "kiasu". By all means, if a person is kiasu, he is kiasu and that's that. But we normally use the term kiasu as an adjective to describe the actions taken by a person who wants to get something good out of the system, or to avoid a bad situation or poor position.

My point is just that, in this case, the context of kiasu is "don't know how to lose", which is not quite the same as being "afraid to lose". You may be kiasu, ie. afraid to lose, so you do what you can to avoid losing. But if you actually lost, how you handle the situation then is no longer about being kiasu, but more about your ability to see the silver lining, remain calm and composed to work your way out of the bad situation. It's about your survival instincts, and your attitude and drive to turn things around.

So I understand what you and sashimi are saying - that if the guy has been taught to know "how to lose" by his parents in the formative years, things may not have ended up this way. I will also accept insider's points, which are that if we are too much of helicopter parents to our children, we may be doing more harm to them than good because they will not know how to handle difficult situations themselves when left alone.

Let's see this from the point of view of the student. He was intelligent and had been doing well enough in school to earn a scholarship. Somehow, in the U, things changed and he found himself struggling to stay afloat in the stressful environment. And he has this huge axe above his neck threatening to cut him off his scholarship if he does not do well enough in his exams. No matter how hard he tried to study, the uncertainty and fear only made it more difficult for him to do well. And then they cut him off. He could only think of the shame that will face him when he return home, and for him, it was the end of the road. No future.

How would we react if we were in his shoes? I think we would at least be devastated, or even crack under the pressure like he did. And if we had been his parents, could we have prepared him to better manage the situation? I don't have the answer to that. But I know it would not be as simple as just telling him not to worry too much about failing his exams and to take things easy. Parenting would be so much easier if our kids actually internalize 1% of what we tell them.

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