If you were born in Singapore and grew up here, you might have heard these statements from your parents while growing up...
Kiasu Singaporean parents, you’ve just gotta love ’em. If you were born to Singaporean parents and grew up here, you’ve probably heard a few of their classic sayings, such the admonition to beware of the karang guni man or the warning that you’d be kidnapped and sold as beggars in Thailand if you spoke to strangers.
It’s more likely than not that many of us have picked up subliminal messages from the advice, tongue in cheek or not, that our parents gave us when we were kids.
Here are some you might have heard before, and why you shouldn’t repeat them to your own kids.
If you don’t study hard you will become a road sweeper
Hands up how many of you remember this one? Back in those days, roadsweepers weren’t even as lowly paid relative to the cost of living as they are now, yet parents liked to scare kids into hitting the books and not rebelling against their tutors with this threat.
The problem with saying things like this is that it perpetuates the attitude amongst many Singaporeans that menial or blue collar jobs are to be shunned, and that only high paying jobs that confer status are worth doing.
This kind of mindset causes workers to go where the money is, even if they have no interest in or aptitude for a particular job. And this has arguably contributed to the famously unhappy state of Singapore’s employees, as well as the low productivity levels of the Singapore workforce.
Instead of trying to scare your kids into submission, modern parents should probably capitalise on the fact that kids these days are much savvier thanks to the internet and all, and start explaining their options at an early age, perhaps giving them a realistic view of salary ranges in Singapore. That way they can make an informed choice about what they want to do in life—instead of freaking out about their options thanks to years of scaremongering.
More on things Singaporean parents should stop telling their kids on the next page…