On the latest episode of The Zoe and Liang show, hosts Zoe Tay and Guo Liang, as well as their guests, local actor Shaun Chen and singer-actress JJ Neo, discussed the role that parents play in their child’s aspirations.
Zoe, 55, was asked how she would respond if her son told her that he wants to become an influencer.
Letting out a sigh of exasperation, Zoe shared: “It’s a dream that every child has. It drives me crazy. Kids nowadays have handphones and laptops.
“They go on and on about how much internet influencers earn. I said, ‘Do you know how many internet influencers there are? But only a few make money.'”
Zoe has three sons aged 17, 15 and 11.
JJ, 27, daughter of former Channel 8 host Lucy Chow, concurred: “He sees you acting and thinks he can become famous and make money and just work at home?”
Zoe shared her wider observation that many of her friends’ kids strive to become influencers too.
She elaborated in amusement: “Becoming an influencer is a dream job for kids nowadays.
“My other son analysed society for me. He said, ‘Mum, let me quit school. Do I need to know algebra to make money? No, I just need to count money. I can do that. I know English and Mandarin. So what more do I need to survive in society now? Why do I need to study? I don’t need it.'”
She didn’t specify which son wanted to be an influencer and which wanted to quit school.
Shaun, 44, who has two daughters aged seven and five, seemed to be more accepting of his child wanting to become an influencer, but there is a caveat.
“If my kid wants to become an influencer, then she has to be the best. Not just in taking good photos, but she has to think of good content too,” he shared thoughtfully.
Guo Liang, 52, took the question further by asking Shaun what he would do if his child wanted to quit school to become an influencer.
Shawn wittily replied: “Let her be then. She will regret it [and return to her studies].”
In response to Guo Liang’s doubt about whether being an influencer is indeed lucrative, JJ said: “I think it’s okay, because 15 years ago, we didn’t even know what influencers are. Now we all live in virtual reality [so there is a market].
She felt that it would not be necessary to acquire academic qualifications if one can make a living and lead a fulfilling life.
Zoe disagreed with that view, saying that she would not allow her son to quit studying in order to be an influencer, but she is okay with him being an influencer while studying.
“If he can earn money as an influencer while studying, then he is capable. But he needs to fulfil what his parents demand of him.”
JJ gave an extra dose of reality, challenging the view that becoming an influencer is still an alluring path for most youngsters.
“Running an influencer business is not easy. They hear about the long hours so young people may not be as inclined to becoming an influencer anymore.”