From daddy’s desk – Education worries Pt. 1

Friday, July 28, 2006 1:19 pm at 1:19 pm 9 comments

Fatherhood brings with it many worries, and the one worry that tops them all is EDUCATION.

Before Brae came into my life, things were simpler. I work, I get paid, I spend it all on myself and wifey, with some in the savings kitty. Nowadays, it is no more “me-me-me” but “Brae-Brae-Brae”.

If I was downright broke, then I won’t have to worry at all because Brae would have to go to a government school, work his butt off to score good grades, pray that he gets the course he wants in a public university of his choice (and since he is Chinese and I am very pragmatic, he probably won’t), and be offered a scholarship at the same time.

It is my hope to give him more certainty as far as education is concerned. If he is a bright kid and does well in his studies, then it is only fair that he gets the proper education that he deserves. If I have to pay for it, then so be it. I’ll just have to work harder (smarter), and save more.

Everyone has their 2 cents say on the dismal state of our Malaysian education system, including myself. Racial quotas, teachers who can’t teach, discrimination in the whole system, topped off with a Malaysian Education Minister who sees it fit to brandish a keris at some high profile meeting for all Malaysians to see. Yes, I hate the entire Malaysian system of doing things.

Sorry, back to the point…..I believe we have the following options:

  • Chinese school (partially or all the way)
  • Government school
  • Private school offering government syllabus
  • International school

Funny thing is, most parents want their children to do things that the parents themselves did not get the opportunity to do, be it piano lessons, learning a foreign language, even the type of school they attend. We have Chinese-educated parents sending their children to Government schools because they do not want their kids to endure what they have gone through and to have a more balanced childhood. On the other side of the fence we have English-speaking parents who send their kids to Chinese schools to pick up the language.

A bit of background; I studied in an International school from Primary 1 till Secondary 5, was sent overseas for 5 years before returning with a piece of paper called a “degree”. My command of the Malay language is confined to ordering food at the mamak stall and knowing when someone is swearing at me! I had private Chinese tuition (which I dreaded immensely) so I can read and write basic Chinese and can understand Mandarin and Cantonese (my dialect) fairly well.

Wifey on the other hand studied in a Government school up till Secondary 5. Moved to the big city called KL to work and study part-time to obtain her diploma and degree. For that, I am very proud of her. (Aside, though her degree is in Computer Science, she still needs my help to migrate her blog!!! Sorry dear, give me a couple of weeks for the novelty to wear off). She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and Hakka (her dialect) very well but cannot read as well as me. Her command of Malay is good but she is unable to translate what she understands in Malay to English. I still haven’t figured out whether her brain thinks in English, Chinese or Malay.

WE DISAGREE ON WHERE TO SEND BRAE. She wants Chinese, I am not too receptive to that idea. We definitely can’t afford an international school unless Brae is the only child.

to be continued…….


Entry filed under: babykhong, Daddy's Corner, Education.

From daddy’s desk Bite

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. vivienlai  |  Friday, July 28, 2006 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm

    Wow, you guys are worrying too much and too early. I’m gonna shut my trap now till I read the sequel. 🙂

  • 2. daddykhong  |  Friday, July 28, 2006 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm

    Not early so it seems. More on that in Pt. 2

  • 3. zara's mama  |  Friday, July 28, 2006 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm

    International school? And turn to a brat? aiyo..

    I don’t like those kids who came from international school, don’t know about your time, but the ones you see nowadays are such snobs and brats, and they always compete with each other whose father is richer, who has the latest gadgets, who goes the furthest for holidays..

    Err.. I don’t think I’ll ever send Zara to one. It’ll be government school for her.

  • 4. daddykhong  |  Friday, July 28, 2006 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm

    I don’t think it is fair to generalise. All schools have their good and their bad.

    Firstly, I am not that old so I hope international schools now are quite the same as they were in my time. Brats? Sure there were a lot. Rich kids? More than you want to care about. We even had someone related to the Sultan of Brunei in our year.

    On the other side of the coin, I also had the honour of meeting many other Malaysians who are not so well-off but whose parents believed in the quality of education provided by international schools. Kids who arrived in cars from the 1970s, there was even one kid whose dad was a driving school instructor.

    So, for that reason, I shall leave international schools as an option for as long as I practically can. It does help to know which international schools to avoid.

  • 5. mumsgather  |  Friday, July 28, 2006 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm

    HIya daddy khong. Nice to see you hear on the blog. I always like to read the daddy’s point of view. Very likely it’ll be government school for my kids since we can’t afford international or private. Initially I had wanted to send them to Chinese School. China has opened up and there’ll be lots of opportunities for those who know the language was my argument. However, I myself was educated in public school and with totally no knowledge of Mandarin it would be impossible for me to guide them. We don’t speak Mandarin at home, they’d probablly suffer from a culture shock in Chinese School and be behind their peers so maybe govt school after all.

  • 6. MLNS  |  Monday, July 31, 2006 11:43 am at 11:43 am

    Errr…wait for Part II to comment…wait wait wait still waiting…

  • 7. nadia  |  Monday, July 31, 2006 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm

    Hi, I’ve been reading Brae’s mom’s journalling all these while and it’s nice to see that you’re writing for her since she’s out of ideas on what to write. I think I might ask my other half to do that for our kiddo’s blog too. Haha!

    Nways, both of us have thought about where to send our kid(s) as well. Since hubby is half Chinese, I thought it would be good for Irfan to go to a Chinese school. A friend (who is half Malay-half Chinese) advised me to start sending Irfan to a Chinese kindergarten to get him started off in Mandarin as soon as possible. And like someone has mentioned, it may be tough for us too as neither one of us speaks the language (what more read it!). Hubby speaks and understands Cantonese and Hokkien and I understand (more than I can speak) Cantonese.

    Hubby and I both studied in Gomen schools (I was in a semi convent, semi gomen) and from my experience, there were crappy teachers back then. Of course, there were good, dedicated ones, but I think our Goment schools lack of them nowadays. Hubby went off to OZ to pursue his degree while I stayed back to study in UM (which I hated because of the racial discrimination or should I say “state” discrimination) and got out and continued in MMU (slightly better only).

    In all honesty, I hate how our education policy is drafted out. To be exact, I don’t believe in Malaysian education sysytem. It’s very sad that as a Malaysian we don’t believe in our own systems. But it can’t be helped since most politicians in our country are driven by their own greed and agendas.

    Basically, we have these 3 options: 1) Chinese school 2) Gomen school 3) International school. I don’t believe in Gomen school and we can’t afford international school (yet!). So I guess Chinese school it is? Unless of course, our education system gets better in another 5 years or so? I think NOT!

  • 8. daddykhong  |  Monday, July 31, 2006 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm


    I concur. It is indeed extremely sad that we as Malaysians cannot believe in our own education system, much as we want to.

    My brother just told me that it very much depends on the family upbringing and cited several examples of friends who attended government schools and yet, turned out alright. Question is, is it safe to take our chances with our ding-dong education system? One thing today, another the next.

    When you are in Malaysia, education costs an arm and a leg. That is why I need to start thinking now so that we can formulate a budget (basically how many times wifey and I have to eat Maggi Mee a week to save enough for a decent education).

  • 9. Ivy  |  Monday, August 28, 2006 10:49 am at 10:49 am

    I suggest sending him to a private school with mandarin tuition. I’m 23 now and have just started working and its freaking hard when i’m not fluent in mandarin. I wish i had picked it up earlier. On the other hand, being english educated, i had no problem fitting in when i was studying overseas while seeing many chinese ed students struggling in uni.


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