One of my favourite line from a Hong Kong movie and to translate that goes something like this, “Life is a process, the sad thing about that is you can’t repeat it, and the good thing about that is you don’t have to repeat it over again.” Now that I’m a grown up trying to support myself independently and financially, there were times I wished I was still a child, free from money worries and mundane household affairs. However, if turning back the clock means having to relive my childhood, then I rather be a grown up. I love my family and I’m not saying I didn’t have a happy childhood but certainly, it wasn’t an experience I would like to relive. I would say I’m rather a rebellious kid but not in the verbally aggressive or vocal way. In fact, my outer look is in direct contrast to my inner world. For all I know, I appeared meek and shy. For most times, I was non-verbal (in the sense of quiet) and submissive. I was rebellious in my own quiet way, refusing to perform certain tasks or take part in extra-curricular activities while remaining polite about it. I was so ‘quiet’ I didn’t even speak up for myself on occasions when I had to assert or defend for myself. I keep the points below short on purpose due to time constraints and because when I did try to expand on it, I realise there is still a lot of pain involved and do not want to relive the whole experience.
10 THINGS I WISH I SAID (TO PARENTS, TEACHERS, SCHOOLS) WHEN I WAS A CHILD:
1. Stop comparing me with my peers and making me feel stupid.
2. Work on my strengths and interests instead of picking on my weaknesses.
3. I need flexible instead of rigid education. For 16 years, I never knew I could be smart until I went to a college in the UK and had the freedom to choose the subjects I like to study. Believe it or not, English was one of my weakest subject back then.
4. I despise sexist education. I am a girl. I like to learn how to cook and sew but I would also like to learn the technical skills too. Why is home economics only for girls and technical studies for boys?
5. Schools should foster cooperation, not competitiveness.
6. Make extra-curricular activities an option, not compulsory. I just want to go home immediately after school.
7. The use and authorisation of scare tactics (punishment) on young children is shameful. I didn’t often forget my homework or bring my books but on occasions when I did forget, I didn’t do it on purpose. That is no reason to subject me to that anxiety of having felt I have done something terribly bad.
8. Don’t judge students by their looks.
9. Don’t punish without first enquiring about (mitigating) circumstances.
10. (This one for myself) “STAND UP FOR YOURSELF, GIRL. SPEAK UP!”
Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.