updated 24 Dec 2010, 07:09
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Mon, Nov 22, 2010
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Watch it, lest you fall into APT
by Clara Chow

IF YOU see me walking around with a digital video camera and a crazed grin on my face, I suggest you run for the hills: I'm about to force you to watch my son's preschool concert recording, whether you like it or not.

If you're a parent, you'll know that the slew of school concerts would have come and gone by now.

At my 41/2-year-old son Julian's nursery, the show, while not big on production values, was high on the entertainment factor.

For weeks, Julian had been practising some interesting moves to Mika's Kick Ass, the rousing theme song to the superhero movie of the same name. However, it was only when we saw him performing with his classmates that it all came together.

The intricate choreography had the small girls doing forward rolls, and the boys posing with their arms folded with attitude across their chests.

They shot their arms skywards, like bodybuilding supermen. They scampered around like chipmunks. They did co-ordinated boxing moves. It was all - hilariously, indescribably - adorable.

So who can blame me for wanting to show off my videography of this excellent performance to all and sundry?

At the office, I cornered my single colleagues, and made them sit through pom pom-waving clips of earnest kids during our pantry breaks.

I ambushed a sub-editor, minding her own business at her desk, and screened her a routine. She politely kept one eyeball on it, while trying to do her work - kind enough to humour me.

Then, it struck me that I was creeping onto Annoying Parent Territory.

If you've never been to APT, suffice to say that it's like this rapidly melting ice floe, where the parents bunch together like penguins, oblivious to the fact that they are about to fall into the water and get eaten by sharks - because they're all too busy trying to strongarm one another into admiring videos and pictures of their children.

With a sinking heart, I realised that I was being Uncool. Capital U.

The digital camera was sheepishly returned to its leather pouch and relegated to the drawer.

I slunk over to my fellow mummy friend's cubicle at work, and asked her to elucidate on my weird behaviour. She gave me a look of barely concealed disgust, then launched into a story about a friend who carried her laptop around so she could whip it up and show off photos of junior whenever, wherever.

It all made me think that the phenomenon of normally reasonable parents being reduced to quivering, self-righteous messes seems to be prevalent these days. And I wonder if they are aware they're falling into APT.

An indignant mother wrote last week to The Straits Times' Forum page to vent about her son's kindergarten preventing him from graduating together with his cohort - all because he did not sign up for a thousand- dollar holiday camp. Instead, she wrote, the kindergarten suggested he graduate with a bunch of unknown-to-him kids at a nearby centre.

"So much for memories," she concluded. I could almost hear the sarcastic snap in print.

While I empathise with her about this unsatisfactory state of affairs, my non-mummy (and presumably, in this case, more logical) friends sniggered at what they termed "Godzilla- Mum".

It's kindergarten graduation, for goodness' sake, they said. Not university.

I tell myself that I will keep calm if that happened to Julian. After all, I'm the one who skipped out on my university convocation ceremony.

But, then again, if it did happen to Ju, I might just get a free trip to APT - whether I like it or not.


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