Dear Daughters

My beloved daughters
My beloved daughters

It’s the year 2013. Clié is in Primary 5, Cleo is in Primary 3 and Clara is bouncing around at home for the longest time and will be starting Nursery tomorrow. I want all three of you to know that Mommy and Daddy constantly worry about your education. We don’t ask for As or awards, we just want you all to pass and don’t feel discouraged or be told that you are stupid. Deep down inside, we are just hoping for all of you to grow up and be useful, happy people. I’m writing this post so that I can remember the stand mommy and daddy took in regards to your studies which we have discussed at length during the last exam period on how our educations system in Singapore is like.



Clié, you are our first child. We have heard so many horror stories of parents making their kids attend this, attend that, go for this, go for that and that their children have no time to play and have fun memorable childhood.

We let you play, we let you attend what you wanted to attend, we let you do more of the stuff that interests you. To us, we feel maybe pre-school should be all about play and we never really pumped syllabus into you. We basically shut off what all those kiasu parents said and believe with all our heart that we are doing the right thing for you.

You entered Primary 1 not knowing how to read and half way thru Primary 1, you were failing so miserably across all subjects. Then it hit us.

For some of your tests, you hardly got any marks. The WORSE part was thinking how you must have felt when that exam paper stared at you for over an hour for you to prove your worth. It must have been terrifying like Daddy going to a client presentation with nothing prepared.

Clié, you somehow made it to primary 5 while not doing very well since primary 1 and PSLE is just a year away. Primary 5 is an important year for you as our education system will start to classify weaker students and put them in “foundation” classes. This will also mean if you are indeed going to be in this scheme, you will not be following the mainstream education path of Secondary > JC / Poly > University anymore. (at least from what we understand)

We worry. We worry a lot for your studies.

You are not stupid. Instead, you think very well on your feet. You come up with amazing excuses and have very creative ideas. You are never shy to talk to new people and you can easily engage adults in conversation. We know you have deep interest in relationships between people by the way you ask your questions and as parents we are extremely proud that you are always willing to help others and take on responsibilities. You want to be a paramedic, a singer, an artist, an interior designer, but what stands out most is you want to be a fashion designer as you keep drawing girls in dresses all the time and experiment with what you wear. You are also a fantastic singer as you can memorise lyrics effortlessly. You are generally one dramatic girl, you are loud and so full of energy and we are so happy that you came in 1st for 100m in your school sports fest last year.



Cleo, being 2 years younger then Clié, we knew minimally, you must know how to read before going to primary school. We signed you up early for phonics classes and week after week Daddy fetched you to your English class at Simei. You enjoyed teacher Jacqueline’s classes for four years and we were glad.

Similarly with Clié, we let you play as much as you liked and also encouraged your phases of interests. From Carebears to Cardboard boxes, from Cars to Stamps, from Chu Chu pets to Littlest Pet Shop, from Dinosaurs to animals in general. You have this tendency to be deeply interested in things and will ask “why” all the time. Sometimes Daddy feels like the National Geographic channel just answering your questions.

Being left handed and younger then Clié, you thought for the longest time that you have ugly handwriting and never liked writing or drawing. Whenever someone commented on your gigantic letters and unrecognizable Chinese characters, you feel terrible and just say its because you are left handed. You did not like drawing too. Sweaty palms did not help either. However, you do know that your sweaty palms can be taken as some kind of super power as none of us can open that plastic bag at the supermarket and you always do it with a snap of your fingers and a smirk on your face.

You don’t have much problems with English or Math or homework in general as you are like Mommy who will diligently do her work early. I find it funny that if you don’t finish your stuff you will feel stressed out. You are the total opposite of Clié.

However, your Chinese… Chinese, Chinese. Your Chinese teacher say you hardly spoke a word of Chinese in Primary 1. Somehow, you don’t even react when your teacher is calling you in class using your Chinese name. We are glad that in Primary 2, your Chinese improved and it’s no longer a problem now.

Your teachers love you, you are diligent, tidy, soft spoken and simply adorable student.

Clié gets terribly jealous when we praise you, so we praise you quietly.



Both Clié and Cleo started some kind of school when they hit 18 months. You are 27 months now and you are finally starting Nursery tomorrow.

You pickup things very fast and can hum along to the songs that Clié sings and anything that you hear. Your vocabulary is picking up and day by day, you are learning new words. Daddy is now trying to teach you logical concepts such as big and small, long and short. Cleo is teaching you ABCs and Clié is teaching you 123s. Let’s see how it goes.

Clara, you are generally a happy child. Your sisters love you, your parents love you and you express your love back to us on dramatic hugs and kisses. We are so very blessed.

Our Education System

Now dear daughters, as parents its our duty to make sure we provide you the best that we can and bring you up the best that we can. We don’t enjoy stressing you out about school work, we don’t enjoy bringing you to extra tuition classes, we don’t enjoy disciplining all of you and we definitely don’t enjoy hitting you all.

So… there is an education system in our country and its meant to be the best for the masses, but that does not mean its the best for everyone as well and that just how its going to be. I don’t think we can change it or avoid it, so you girls just have to go thru it and as parents we will try to see how we can help you do well. If you do well, great, if not how?

We have decided not to stress you girls too much and let you have a balanced (not so tiring) schedule. We will let you join the activities you are interested in and encourage what you are good at. We will try to expand your world view and buy you less toys and stuff.

But whatever the case is, we need you all to do your best. Not trying is already failing and trying your best is already being successful. So for 2013, lets do the best we can as a family and enjoy learning stuff as this world is too interesting than toys and silly videos online.

So now I’ve read this to you, go to bed and do your best!

7 Replies to “Dear Daughters”

  1. In SG, this is always parents’ dilemma.
    Given a choice, I would always emphasize on kids’ moral and EQ attributes, to be street-smart. Education can always come later.

    We do not need them to be first, but we hope they will not be last.
    We teach them to enjoy the process, and never give up.

    Ultimately, when kids are mature enough to make their own decisions, they know we will support them.

  2. I know this is about the education system but I’d like to add that the example you set before your daughters of cherishing, protecting and honoring your wife will teach them what kind of husband to marry in future.
    I believe all three of them have bright futures ahead, regardless of how many As they score for PSLE.

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