I am a kiasu parent of four children, distributed across the Pre-, Pri-, and Sec-school spectrum. From the depths of my self-absorption, I recognise my parental roles as the most important and life-defining ones that I will ever play. I am proudly kiasu — not in the sense that I spend the most money per month, per child on tutorial classes or that I have pre-planned and micro-managed the hot-housing of my kids since birth. Rather, I am kiasu in the sense that I am conscious of and assiduous about my (read: my wife’s) decisions for my kids’ progress and development, both academically and holistically.
I write not as a funky, New Age academic scholar, thought leader or visionary. I claim expertise in no specialist field of erudition. I am no award-winning, multi-hyphenated, larger-than-life celebrity with a string of letters after my name. I claim no affiliation with any internationally-respected certification authority. I speak as a kiasu parent who has had to circumnavigate the trials and tribulations built into Singapore’s educational system, together with my children. I feel your pain.
My authorial voice derives from insights, knowledge, and skills gleaned from my personal educational journey, 15 years’ of professional experience as an educator, and the razor-sharp, 24/7 acumen of a kiasu parent. Prior to parenthood, I chased corporate and client deadlines in the arcane worlds of technical communications and ERP application consulting. I read English Language in the National University of Singapore and later, Law in the UK. A lifetime ago, I went to Raffles Institute and Raffles Junior College.
Ergo, I do know what I am talking about.