Sunday, January 27, 2008


Tuition seems to be a booming concern in this country - especially with the desperate emphasis on the paper chase. These days highly-competitive overachiever parents seem to be obsessed with the pursuit of multiple As for their Burberry-clad scion - and with clumsy toddlers being irresistibly shoved to preschools almost before they can stumble over their own two feet, I can well imagine that extracurricular lessons will be a multimillion industry in the future.

If it hasn't already! Hell, even Charming Calvin gave some math lessons once upon a time.

Me, I don't think everyone needs tuition. It's sheer folly to believe that you can do well in your academics based only on two hours a week tuition classes. It would take more than that miracle teacher to grab you that academic brass ring. Though I hate saying it, you do need the proper foundation from school after all.

But it helps.

Though obviously not everyone thinks so.

Intentions!I admit it isn't easy being the youngest in a generation of perfectionista cousins especially when you have dozens of older, more accomplished sibs such as Hard Rock Harriet and Lispy Lori who have come before you. Some pretty big heels to fill. No matter how well you do, someone else seems to have beaten you to the punch long before.

Frustrating as hell, I can imagine. So when my aunt tried talking her recalcitrant daughter into attending extra classes to boost her lackluster scholastic performace, it seemed a battle already well lost. From the uncooperative pout on Rebellious Reina's face, her mother might as well have been talking about sending her to a chilly, isolated gulag in Siberia.

Reina : Of all the ideas!
Paul : Tuition?
Reina : My mom asked whether I wanted to go and I said no. I just wasn't feeling it.
Paul : Wasn't feeling it?! You had a freakin choice?
Reina : It was only a couple of Cs. It's not the end of the world.
Paul : I doubt your mom thinks so.
Reina : It must have been your idea then! I knew it.
Paul : Shockingly, it wasn't. It really was your mother's idea. After all, I think she got the hint when your results were lining the bottom of the barrel.

Nasty much? Please, it was at the tip of my tongue to overstep my bounds by telling my cousin that I would have said this.. I'm not asking. I'm telling. This family is not a democracy. It's an order - albeit politely phrased - and certainly not a bloody request.

I know academics isn't everything. In the long run, there are definitely more things in life than scoring that perfect CGPA. A string of As is never a guarantee to a lifetime of success. But hard work and perseverance does mean something - and as a full-time student, I'd expect at least a modicum of effort on her part rather than to just shrug off her less-than-mediocre results! Look, I'm not expecting a young Einstein but is it too much to expect performing to the best of your ability?

Yes. Monstrous parent. Papa jahat. Whatever.

Of course I'm far from a sterling example when it comes to such matters. To me tuition has been less about studying and more about socializing. It was the one time ( since we mostly had single-sex education over here ) that the boys and the girls got to mingle - and it was a sight watching certain clumsy teenage slacker boys utterly oblivious to the man-bait lures from the far more sophisticated ( and obviously increasingly frustrated ) convent girls dressed to the nines.

Paul : OMG. You like her? Seriously!
Beercan : Yeah, she's cool!
Paul : Really? Even with those off-season bangs?

Ah. Adolescence. Blessed with the gay gene, I wasn't as clouded by the haze of heterosexual hormones as the rest so I could clearly see the amateurish mating dance of the budding teen scene.

Not that we were left out. The rest of us had our fun as well from gleefully tossing eraser bits into my friend's Afro-curls to passing on lovey-dovey notes as the teacher droned on about organic chemistry. Even to secret party planning as we drew hidden maps on the back of our exercise books to hand out to the rest. So terribly high school. So obviously I didn't mind attending those classes as much.

And after all we always had our regular chi-chi ice-cream party after to gossip about the events.


Ryan said...

I can still remember I was having tuition everyday in a week when I was in primary school.From malay, chinese , english etc and piano tuition in the weekend.

Guess I have a good and proper foundation huh?!

David the Man said...

Count me a perfectionist! When I was in secondary school, I often try to do my assignments to the most minute details, till I took an elaborate amount of time just to complete them. My parents and teachers felt like fainting after reading my long assignments, that came with so much minute details in them, and with so much fine final touches to them. Oh dear!

joshua said...

Tuition classes were always the BEST excuse for time-away-from-home... and as you said it;


You're nobody until you're seen and talked about.

And of course, improving academic grades will be the item of least importance on the list of reasons to attend the classes.

Fable Frog said...

i think tuition doesn't help at all if the student have no interest in studying the subject!!! i took tuition for account...... and still fail!!

Queer Ranter said...

Ah I remember my all boys school days when I had to attend tuition with girls. I hated them girls. Devilish beings. I got bullied... :(

the previous goodshithappens said...

never believed in tuitions.

i guess i was just born with the hardworking gene. hahaha.

but can you believe it in kindergarten i actually didnt know how to read from the picture cards. and took a whole long while to read the time as well. haha

Ben said...

I hated going for tuition. I thought it was a waste of time. It was bad enough that I thought school was a drag, imagine another 3 more hours of boring lessons on add maths, physics and chemistry. God only knows how I survived through my school life. I literally had no life. *sigh*

Its no wonder I turned out to be like this! I blame it all on those tuition moments.

nyonyapenang said...

In a way, 'Kiasuism' promotes tuition, no?

savante said...

OMG! I was similarly tortured, ryan. Add that to art lessons and math as well.

You're not the only one, david. I used to get so obsessed over projects!

True, josh! It was the time for me to gossip and socialize.

Well, it's accounts. I never did understand the ledgers and files, frog :)

You got bullied by a little girl, queer rant? :)

Well you're reading them wonderfully now so that doesn't matter now, goodshit.

But all the time to socialize, ben!

It is definitely kiasuism, nyonya. But I guess as parents you can't help it sometimes.