Thank you for giving my boy a shot
As your 409th candidate.
Here, madam, are his résumé
And all his certificates.
Yes! He can speak six languages,
Although not very articulate.
Oh, that’s his latest judo belt—
My boy is far from delicate.
Is that a piano you’ve got there?
Did I mention he’s a Mozart-replicate?
He’ll be so prepped you needn’t teach
Him to read and write, or to sing the hymns,
Nor arithmetics, nor history, nor philosophy … Heck!
My triathlete boy also rocks the gym.
I promise he’ll be your best student—
And I won’t do his homework for him.
My boy is born for military discipline, you see—
Isn’t he all proper and prim?
Nevermind he still isn’t potty-trained,
By September he won’t be out on a limb.
Madam, madam, hear my plea.
There is little else I have to say.
Here’s my savings, here’s my boy—
Please take both with you right away.
For five days a week
And three hours a day,
Bar the door and seal the gate,
Teach him anything but play.
Let him aboard the through train bound for a bright future,
Just so he isn’t in my class to stay.
We received news over the CNY holiday. Thank Goodness our second child has got in our preferred school. The competition is so fierce in Hong Kong it isn’t uncommon for parents to queue up overnight outside kindergartens, such as that shown in the featured image above. A popular school in our town sieves through 1,000 applicants for an annual enrolment of 40. In one other extreme case, a line stander sold an application form (application, not admission) for HK$8,000 (around US$1,000) to a desperate parent. And that is only the beginning. Usually, after each successful application (guaranteed by a hefty application fee), parents and children are scheduled for bouts of interviews (Oh, let the hunger games begin!), followed by months of purgatory half afloat in some waiting lists (that is, keeping our fingers crossed at the mercy of scholastic bureaucracy). Once admitted (Congratulations!), get ready to cough it up. A typical, non-subsidised kindergarten charges around HK$3,500 to HK$7,000 a month, comparing to a minimum wage of HK$34.50 / hr and an average salary of around HK$15,000 / mo. Do the maths.
C’est la vie … à Hong Kong.
Photo Courtesy: Apple Daily