Friday, 29 May 2015

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Interesting Cultural Differences...


The challenges of a cross-cultural marriage and family... I never knew what I have signed myself up for, when I got married :-)

Now that our Little FECS started entering into the Danish school system, it opened my eyes to see that Danes and Singaporeans are equally kiasu, but just kiasu about different things....

The Singaporeans emphasize on studying HARD, play comes later. The Danes focus on playing HARD and the studying part will come by itself.

In Singapore, during meeting in school, parents will ask about how to ensure that their children can excel in school, but in Denmark, parents devote pretty much the whole Q&A session to organising play dates... and making suggestions for more regular parties for the kids.*

While Singaporean kids go to enrichment class every week, it is not uncommon for Danish kids to go to football twice or more a week.

The Asian emphasis on taking piano class is equivalent to the Danish emphasis on football. So aren't we all super kiasu? We are just super kiasu in different things :-)

In general, Singaporean parents are super-kiasu about the intellectual development of their kids - they want their kids to have a head start in the academics, esp. Maths and Science, scoring good grades for exams. They sent them to the best school already when their kids are only 4 years old.

In general, Danish parents are super kiasu about the physical and social development of their kids - they want their kids to have a head start in football, scoring goals. They scout around for the best football team already when their kids are only 4 years old.

And what do the kids think?

J told me, "Mommy, I have enough play dates. Can I just rest and have some cave time?"

(But after play date, J said that it was fun :-))

And for this Merlion born and bred mommy? Totally confused... but having fun navigating the cultural aspects of the Danish primary education system... Hopefully we will come out still in one piece 10 years later :-)

Both are equally "Tiger moms and dads," and equally goal-oriented, just in different things.

Which is correct? There is no right and wrong answer.

It depends on what one values in life..., which in terms depend on what one's society values in life...

In navigating the cultural minefield, it is so wonderful that God is our  steadfast anchor in life and our ultimate belief and value system... bringing us back and preventing us from making an idol out of worshiping good grades or football...

* This is done to nurture close friendships among the class is formed (after all, they are going to be together in the same class for 10 years). A little too much for me, but I have come to appreciate their perspective and the importance placed on this social aspect.

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