Saturday morning playgroup

There’s a Chinese saying that says one type of rice feed hundred kinds of people. It is probably a statistical miracle that at the educational scene in hk, you’re more likely than not to meet the same kind of parents. Perhaps I should be amazed…

There was a sort of unsettledness amongst the class as parents and teachers were busy assessing each other and their kids. And of course, at this time of uneasiness, kids broke the ice and challenged themselves by finding the most dangerous thing they can find in the classroom.

Brian glanced back at me to make sure my eyes were on him as he was playing in the middle of the class. He has a habit of punishing me by jumping onto me and not let go if he doesn’t have my full attention. I then heard a sudden gasp for air, followed by a gigantic shadow flew past Brian. Somehow a little girl standing at the opposite end of the classroom got hold of a pair of scissors and started cutting air. Not to be outdone, a small ball of pink has already set her eyes on her target.

Luckily before the girl in pink launched herself at the craft table (and would have missed it), her mom grabbed her, forgetting for a second that her child is causing creases on her designer dress.

The mom that sat quietly at the back of the class with a sigh of relief thought “better be yours than mine”. That same thought is shared by all parents in that classroom whose kids didn’t make a fool of themselves as evident in their contented smiles.

Dust settled, at least for a bit. Teacher then threw a question out to the class “where did you go during summer holidays”. That question was like a net being casted over a school of fish. Many destinations were yelled out by the parents like fish in a frenzy. And at the height of this egotistic madness, one destination stood out.

“China” said one parent gingerly. The room went quiet, anticipating justification. “Um, my girl took part in a competition held there”. Someone who failed to read between the lines eagerly asked “did she win anything?” More justifications ensued. A “strategic” mom, having put up with enough nonsense already, started chatting up the class teacher who also happens to be on the evaluation committee for kindergarten admission.

This group of parents is competitive, into vanity, boastful of their wealth, insensitive and calculating. But at the same time, they sacrifice their sleeping-in to take their kids to this playgroup; they rush to their children’s side to keep them safe; they sacrifice their hard-earned vacation time to accompany their kids to pursue their dreams; even on an off day, they work hard at network in an effort to pave the way for their children’s better future. So do I belong or not?

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