Archive for December 15th, 2011

There is another two weeks of holidays before school starts again. How time flies!

This is also the time of the year when parents will start shopping for things like school uniforms, school shoes, school bags and stationery. I think I will do mine this weekend when my son comes back from his camping trip in another state. You know, Scouts often goes camping during year-end holidays.

I had just checked out my kid’s schoolbags. They were  worn out, beyond repair and badly needed replacements. It is time to get new ones.

Today’s school kids carry bigger school bags compared to what I used to carry when I was a school kid some forty years ago.

Do you believe that I am still keeping the little rattan basket my Mom got for me when I started school in 1971? Yes, it was still with me, after forty years! So when I took it out from the store-room yesterday, dusted it and then shown it to my daughter, she laughed and was like, “You really carried this thing to school?” She could not stop laughing at the piece of relic I was holding in front of her.

“Yes, why not, in fact many school girls at that time carried these rattan baskets too, not only your Mommy,” I laughed back.

I am not sure what the boys during my time used as their school bags because I went to an all-girls school; but I remembered many of my classmates carried these rattan baskets too. I think it must be trendy then! In the early 1970s, I mean!

Small and fragile this rattan basket may looked but don’t let its appearance fool you. It was very durable and it had served me well throughout my entire six years of primary school. I put my books and there are not many though, the pencil-case and water tumble all inside this vulnerable looking thing. I think the only shortcoming of this rattan basket was that the contents can be easily spill out or they may get wet if I was caught in the rain.

By the way, when I proceeded to secondary school, it was trendy to carry the green canvas sling bag but in seven years, I had changed about three bags. That proved one thing, that rattan is more durable than canvas! None of the canvas bags survived today, unlike the humble little rattan basket that amused my daughter so greatly.

Just take a look at the school bags today’s kids are carrying to school. With their big and heavy bags, they looked like they are going away on a long vacation or they are going to migrate to another country for good.

I have seen children as young as seven or eight years old, lugging very big and heavy bags on their young backs and climbing up the stairs to reach their classrooms each morning when I sent my kids to school. My heart really went out for them. I wondered what will happen to their spinal bones when they grew up, after carrying such heavy burdens every day for so many years. Will they end up as hunchbacks?

A few years ago, I saw with my own eyes, how a little boy fell down from the bus that stopped in front of the school gate. He was alighting from the stairs but his school bag was too heavy, as a result, he toppled onto the road and was pinned down by his own school bag. He was like a little turtle with a big and heavy shell. The school’s traffic warden came over and lifted him up to his feet.

Why can’t the adults, I mean the people in charge of our children’s education, do something about this problem? Why are they closing their eyes and keeping silent on this issue? Does it mean the more books you bring to school, the more knowledge you will acquire? And does it mean that just because most kids today goes to school in buses or cars, it is alright for them to carry big and heavy bags, is it? How about those who still walk to school, like my kids?

I remembered I used to bring a few books to school and yet I did learn a lot of things. Geography, Mathematics and English one day and then History, Science and Bahasa Malaysia on the next day, so what’s the problem? But no, our kids now have to bring the text books and activity books for all subjects every day, and in the end, they needed a big bag to accommodate all the books. I have read somewhere that our kid’s school bags weighs something between 7 to 10 kg with all their books in!

My daughter was once punished by her teacher to squat and pull her own ears one hundred times as she forgot to bring a text-book when she was in Year Two. Since that incident, she brought all her books to school every day whether the teacher requires it or not on that particular day. You will never know what other books they wanted to use on any given day, it all depends on the teacher’s mood.

So while most kids continue to lug big and heavy bags every day, I came up with a way to counter this. I divided my kids’ books and put them into two small bags, one for the text books and the other, for the activity and exercise books. That way, they can carry one bag on their backs and another, in one of their hands, thus spreading out the burden instead of converging them all into one spot, sparing their young and still growing spinal bones of such unnecessary burdens.

Some years back, there were talks from the Education Ministry of providing each child with a locker in the school but talks remained talks and the idea eventually evaporated into thin air …..satu habuk pun tarak, as one of my favorite blogger puts it. Simply translated into English…not a speck of dust!

So now you can understand my frustrations as a concerned mom, can’t you?

Read Full Post »