Sunday Times column – Kids and smartphone usage

Here’s my second parenting column for the Sunday Times, this time on managing smartphone usage with the kids.

As parents, we both love and hate the smartphone.

On the one hand, it is the stuff of science fiction that we could only dream about in our youth.

On the other, it is a deadly glowing drug that we all struggle to stop looking at. We are always afraid that it will destroy our lives, as well as that of our children’s.

The risks are real and deadly.

Will our children fail their exams if they keep playing games? Are they surfing porn in the toilet? What are they chatting about in their many WhatsApp groups? Are strangers baiting them online? What malware is about to trap them into financial blackmail? Are they taking questionable videos?

Putting a smartphone into the hands of children is not something to be sniffed at.

Sunday Times column – Telling Tales At Dinner Time

The Straits Times recently invited me to contribute columns on parenting to their Sunday Times newspaper. So here’s my first piece, of which I originally titled “Telling Tales At Dinner Time” but a copy editor thought otherwise. In any case, it’s pleasant to see my byline again after so many years after I left journalism.

Many parents worry all the time about their children’s future.

What jobs will they have in the future? How much will they earn? Whom will they marry? Which enrichment classes should they take?

That is why so many parents push their kids so hard for good grades, in the hope that they will fulfil the ideal scenario of coming into wealth and owning a nice condominium.

No, I do not worry about the future of my two kids – a Secondary 2 son and a Primary 6 daughter. I am more concerned about not being able to tell my kids my life stories that they need to hear before they enter the working world.

You can read it here.

The truth concerning white rice and diabetes

My readers will know that I usually only write on this blog on days when I get annoyed with some growing untruth or virulent stupidity.

Today is one of those days.

Last week on 6 May, the Straits Times published a sensational headline Diabetes: The rice you eat is worse than sugary drinksfor a story by senior health correspondent Salma Khalik.

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A week of ridiculous statements

It’s been a busy week of news and I’m pretty upset, not so much by the news but the jaw-dropping things the Govt people say as a result of the news.

Meritocracy

“The labour movement is “uncomfortable” and “concerned” with the calls for equal jobs, equal remuneration”…Mr Lim said that equal remuneration would not take into account the standard of living in Singapore as opposed to other regions, and this would be unfair for local workers who have to support their family members here. – Labour chief Lim Swee Say with regards to the strike by the China-born bus drivers in Singapore.

For all the talk about meritocracy in Singapore, it doesn’t exist from what I see. The rich/poor gap widens every day, because things are stacked up against the poor and lowly educated.The rich can ensure their children get all the help they need to get a top-tier education, and the poor struggle to make ends meet while trying to figure out the convoluted English in today’s primary school papers.

Now we are asked to ponder: Why shouldn’t we pay foreign workers less than a local worker for the same amount of work done?

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It’s not me who is “kan cheong”

This post has been published as a letter in Today, 10 Oct, under the headline “To educate is not to hothouse“.

In May this year, I was so outraged by the steep difficulty in a primary school exam paper that my wife showed me, I wrote my first letter to Today about the unrealistic standards in our education system. It was followed by a flurry of letters by other parents, and by National Day, this had become a national conversation of sorts.

I was glad to know that I was not the only one who thought that the system has become distorted.

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