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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More on Useless Textbooks

Over dinner today, I gloomily confided in Little Boy that the way standards keep rising at the PSLE, it was quite likely that in 10 years' time, 12 year olds would need to publish research papers in order to ace exams. BUT the textbooks will still be written for 10 year olds.

Little Boy hates to see me unhappy so he put a happy spin on a situation that really is more painful for him, than for me. What he said is sure darn impressive considering that he is only 10. Here is our conversation.

LB: Mom, this happens because as different groups of students go through the educational system, children become better and better. Therefore, this forces the government to raise the standards of the PSLE

Me: Yes... but where will it end? Maybe in 10 years time, PSLE students will need to do research in order to get into a good secondary school.

LB: That won't happen Mom. It's just like a bubble you know. It will burst one day.

Me: Hah? What?

LB: See... it's like food. Last time, people used to farm with horses and ploughs. Then they found ways to be more productive so they could make more food and feed more people. One day, they will reach a limit to the food production. Then resources will disappear and people will starve, and as people die off, there will be balance again.

Me: Hah? What? People die? What's that gotta do with your PSLE eh?

LB: Sigh! You see, it's like a bubble. It will burst one day and become smaller.

Me: Whaaaaaa? Haaaah?

LB: Ok... the government will raise the standards of the PSLE. The PSLE bubble of skills and knowledge will get bigger and bigger and bigger. Then, when the students cannot take it anymore, they will all commit suicide. Then the PSLE bubble of skills and knowledge will pop and become smaller because the government will be forced to bring down standards... otherwise there would be no more children left. We would all have died. So, as long as you help me get through this, it will be ok. We can do it, Mom. And don't worry about your Grandson because I think when that time comes, the bubble will have burst.

Me: Oh!... Wow.... wow... whoa!

As you can see, I didn't contribute much intelligence to the conversation. But Little Boy was not yet done. As an afterthought, he said...

LB: But there is a problem because the country needs to become more and more productive... and the only way to do that is to make the children smarter and smarter. But then, when the bubble bursts, Singapore will have stupid children again. So, the country will not be productive.

Then Little Boy paused to think...

LB: Aaaah! What the government needs to do is to figure out a way to be productive using stupid people like us.

Without realizing and in a few strokes of simple child's logic, Little Boy has defined the challenge of leadership. Great leadership is not when you can get a group of smart people to do great things. It's when you can get mediocre people to do great things.

By this time, Petunia is on her knees with her forehead touching the floor, completely mesmerized by Little Gong-Gong's incredible insight into issues that escape many a wise adult.

I feel like crying. Partly because the next 2 years will be a hard slog for him, and partly because he is so full of courage he does not falter.

11 comments:

daelight said...

It would be nice if all the wise Little Boys and Little Girls ruled instead of clueless Big Men and Women...

petunialee said...

Daelight - Hee! Kids say the darndest things and we laugh at them. Sometimes, it helps to listen more.

Wen-ai said...

Hahaha, Little Boy is so cute and wise!!! I'm really impressed with his "bubble" theory. Remarkable!

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

OMG!!! Little Boy is so astute and sharp!!

i'm not liberal with my punctuations so u can really imagine how far my jaw has dropped over your Little Boy's brain! i often worry over our motherland's future with the state of our current younglings but i'm now more assured.

our s'pore has hope!!! T_T

Malar said...

WoW! Such an excellent explanation by little boy!
Sometimes kids thiking is much more better than us....

petunialee said...

Wen-Ai: Yup! It was the bubble that impressed me too.

petunialee said...

Fry - Provided that he doesn't burn out before he has a chance to contribute.

petunialee said...

Fry - Provided that he doesn't burn out before he has a chance to contribute.

petunialee said...

Malar - Yes... kids can make the complex look simple, and by soing so, achieve brilliance.

Blur Ting said...

He's so analytical and logical. I am kowtowing to him now!

petunialee said...

Ting - Yup! He is good at logic.