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15 January 2009 @ 07:27 pm
a little discovery  
about myself. =)

this arvo, i was chatting with mother. we were talking about education options for the little ones (my niece and nephew) and the convo led to the past - when my elder brothers and i were little ones ourselves.

since childhood, i have always known that i was a little different from my family. my family is very traditional chinese, while i... i am like a weird little hybrid of a westerner raised with chinese ethics. i was the only one whose natural mother tongue was english instead of mandarin, even though mandarin/chinese slowly became my other first spoken/written language much later on. and i have always wondered why but never thought it was something that could be explained. i got an answer today.

when he was a kiddo, my eldest brother went to a community centre for pre-school classes. mother found that to be unsatisfactory because they were terrible at teaching english. they only had one language teacher who taught both english and chinese languages, and was only competent in chinese. so, when my second brother came along, he went to the same class for half a year before mother found out it was happening again. she immediately insisted on moving into our new flat then (ahead of schedule) so that she could enroll my second brother into a PAP (government) kindergarten class. that turned out a little better, but mother knew it wasn't ideal.

so when i came along, she put me into a private christian kindergarten. the fees were the most expensive, but we had english teachers and chinese teachers who were good at what they taught. and that was how i turned out the way i did.

when i got to primary one, it was there that i met the first of a chain of english teachers who loved me and doted on me. mrs soh gave me my first book, a hardcover enid blyton, 'circus days again', to encourage me to keep up the good work. i didn't quite understand why we needed to actually study english. to me, it was just something that came naturally, a tool of communication. i didn't know how to study for english exams, and i always did well (not the case for math, science and chinese though). i remember one day, it must have been in primary two - we had some english test papers marked and mrs soh wanted to reward the top scorers. she brought a huge bag of plastic animals! the top few kids could pick one animal each from the bag, and i was the first to go since i had the highest marks. out of all the exciting, large animals like the giraffe, elephant, tiger etc, guess what i picked? i picked the smallest animal in the bag - a little bunny. =) mrs soh asked me if i was sure and i nodded vigorously (because i didn't like to talk). the boys were so happy that i left the big animals for them!

as i grew into a teen, there were many english teachers i met along the way, feared by my classmates, but somehow always had a soft spot for me. i used to think it was because i was the disciplinary master's daughter in primary school - but i was a nobody in secondary school and it still happened. so i guess that wasn't the reason.

these mentors moulded me with their wealth of knowledge, and because i did not fear them the way my peers did, i was receptive to their guidance.

as i think of countless things that happened as a ripple effect of that decision to send me to a better kindergarten, i am extremely grateful to mother for everything she has done for me. i am not just grateful. i am amazed, that one decision at the right time of a child's life, can truly shape his/her future in ways you can never imagine.

what would i be doing today if my path had been different?
feelin': gratefulgrateful
Little Miss Sunshine.tiffanyx on January 15th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
your mum is very very wise to see ahead of time and enrolled you in a private christian kindergarten! =)

i wouldnt suppose your path will be different unless you are the firstborn instead?
JV: laughdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
i sure as hell wouldn't be doing the work i do now if i flopped in my languages!
Little Miss Sunshine.tiffanyx on January 15th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
haha oh yea of course! ;)
JVdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
The Citygentcitygent on January 15th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
*bunny love*

Nice story - thank you for sharing :o)
JV: bunnydrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
you're most welcome. =) thank you for reading it!
kyle cassidykylecassidy on January 15th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
just think, if you were writing in mandarin all i'd know about you was that there were sometimes spiders in your lj.
JV: laughdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
haha! that made me laugh out loud! =)
hianhwee, tracy LIMhianhwee on January 15th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
your mom has the foresight! no wonder you are so "westernised"!

tell your mom for me if she remembers me :P
JV: leaf116drag0nette on January 15th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
i'm sure mother remembers you! =)

could you also see that it was weird how i didn't fit into the 'pattern' of my family?
WickedWeedwickedweed on January 15th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
wah...no wander you engrish languay so tekkong. lespectt. i last times studies so hard also cannot makes it. i young time i want become something like the Bernard Lo on CNN so every mornings i can talks like filifeleh filifeleh. now cannot lor. why my mother go send me PAP kinagarden? Go PAP can join parleement meh?
eh...how come st nicholas got boys one ah?
JV: laughdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
hahaha! filifeleh!!!

my primary school wasn't st nicholas!
WickedWeedwickedweed on January 15th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
ohs. u scares me lehs. I tots u went bangkok to chops.
JV: laughdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
very funny, porkchop! =)
hianhwee, tracy LIMhianhwee on January 15th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
hehehe, i do sense that you are different from your elder brother!
Wenz: W for wenz.wwenzz on January 15th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
awwhh...reading your entry makes me miss talking to my mommy and my childhood. i went to a private christian kindergaten too and the reason was same as yours. that's the good thing about being the youngest child! i remember those plastic animals too.. but i pick big ones like giraffe. haha
JV: bunnydrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
teehee! i wish i kept that little bunny till today! i have absolutely no idea what happened to it. i still have my first book, though it's on loan to my brother for my niece and nephew to read when they are ready. =)

how about talking to your dad about your childhood? maybe he has a different perspective! =)
ex_neke on January 15th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
That just goes to show how important a good education is. :)
JVdrag0nette on January 15th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
indeed! =)
.that girl.: toesgirlwhowaits on January 17th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
Mothers have a way of somehow knowing the future hey?

I wondered if my mum alwats knew i was going to live away hence her starting the education funds when i was a wee kid.

Speaking about Mandarin, have a funny story to tell you later when I remember to post on LJ.
JVdrag0nette on January 17th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
yeh, mothers know best. =) i'm sure your mom had an inkling too!

will wait for your mando story!