updated 27 Sep 2010, 16:14
    Powered by
user id password
Tue, Sep 21, 2010
The New Paper
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Childhood - a time for play or preparation?
by Jason Johnson

A JOINT study conducted recently by French, Italian and Canadian researchers found that Canadian parents are the most lenient of the three nationalities.

They didn’t really need a scientific study for this, actually.

My laziness, arrogance, thoughtlessness and sense of entitlement are all the evidence that anyone would ever need.

Canadians are often thought of as very nice people, particularly by Americans.

But we’re not.

Not polite

I’ve always told people that the reason Canadians are so polite is that if they’re not polite, there’s a good chance another Canadian will punch him in the face.

Maybe we could have an initiative along these lines in Singapore.

Canadians are hearty, hale and generally happy-go-lucky people.

These are good things.

But from my perspective, particularly after spending so many years in Asia, they’re also somewhat barbaric.

I can remember one time in my Uni days, a friend and I stopped to help a woman who was seriously injured in a traffic accident, and some jerk shouted something about her being a “stupid *****” from his car window.

I was ashamed for him.

The sad thing of it is, this sort of thing happens all the time in Canada. Canadians are the sort of people who shout inexplicably angry things from passing automobiles.

My kids are not going to be like that.

They’re not going to be like me.

Unlike my own parents, god bless them, I’m not going to let my children do whatever the heck they want to do.

I may have had a wonderfully fun and carefree childhood, but my lack of discipline ended up costing me dearly in my 20s, and I barely managed to turn my life around.

In fact, I sometimes feel that I’m still in the process of turning it around.

My sons may not be enjoying the same degree of liberty and leisure that I had.

Speak Chinese

But on the plus side, they can spell, they can play the piano, they can do maths – for goodness sake, they can speak Chinese!

In Canada, at least when I was growing up, the idea was that childhood is meant to be enjoyed, that it is the only time in a person’s life when he or she can be truly free.

In Singapore, childhood is seen as a time to prepare for adulthood.

Between these two extremes, it would seem, there must be some sort of sweet spot, and I struggle every day to figure out just where it might be.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.