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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Budding Writers
Primary education in China: the confessions of a mother (II)
    2017-November-8  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Olivia Pei (based on the interview of Jing Y.)

Jing is with her daughter all the time. Parents are allowed to stay with their children for some evening classes such as math and English, and Jing has never been absent. She said, “It’s not that easy to make a good choice for my daughter sometimes due to too many extra education agencies here. I’d always take Kitty to different agencies with a good reputation and then make a list to compare them one by one in order to pick up the best for her.”

Growing up in a traditional Chinese family seems cruel, putting so much pressure on a primary school student like Kitty. But in fact, from Jing’s point of view, being a parent is more stressful. I asked Jing about her job since she spent so much time taking care of her daughter. After a short silence, Jing answered, “I don’t have one. Many Chinese parents who have a full-time job would leave the kids to their parents. It’s so common for children to be raised by their grandparents nowadays. But I didn’t do that. I’d be so worried if I couldn’t accompany my own child. That’s why I chose to be a housewife. To children, I think the best time for parents to be with them is before their 10th birthday. My family is my life. It’s great to earn money but if I ever miss the time accompanying Kitty, it’s impossible to buy that precious time back with money. When Kitty goes to junior high, maybe I’d consider going back to work. It’s worth making a sacrifice for my child now because no one can replace the companionship of parents.” Jing also told me that almost half of Kitty’s classmates’ mothers were housewives as well.

“Sounds like there’s a lot of spending in your family’s budget for your daughter?” I asked. “Well, you could say so. For a year, it takes more than US$1,200 for music theory class and writing class each, for English class it’s like US$2,200, US$2,300 for dance class and US$1,000 for math.” Later I found some of the latest data while I was reading the newspaper called Daily Canton. The average of personal monthly income in Canton is below US$1,000 after tax.

Many friends of Jing’s who have immigrated to other countries told Jing that it was more relaxing for children to grow up outside China. But Jing insists that for Chinese people, the best time to receive Chinese cultural awareness education is during primary school years. “As a Chinese, you would never be able to escape from your own culture which was connected to your entire life since the moment you came into this world. Even if you no longer live in China someday, you’re still Chinese. If you don’t have a clear understanding of Chinese culture, you probably will suffer a confusing life — you have neither deep communication with the Chinese culture nor acceptance by the western mainstream culture.

“There’s a friend of mine who has immigrated to Canada and she has two daughters. The elder one, A, already started working while the younger one, B, is still in primary school. When they immigrated to Canada, A had just celebrated her nineth birthday and since then A comes back China to visit relatives once a year. After A got a job, she traveled even less. Every time A came back to China, she felt she knew nothing about what’s going on there, and even worse, she thought she’s not a real Canadian at the same time. Feeling regretful, A suggested to her mother that she should send her sister B back to China to receive her primary education. My friend agreed with A and she went back China with her younger daughter, which seemed very insightful,” Jing added. “We can’t forget who we are. Before Kitty goes to senior high school, I still want her to receive education in China.”

Jing often keeps in touch with other parents and attends the meetings and lectures held by some educational experts. Chinese parents tend to be strict when it comes to their children, keeping very high expectations. But deep inside their hearts, they always think that their kids are the best. Many of them behave like a totally different person when they’re talking about their own children to the others (without their children’s presence, of course). Every part of the soul inside them is filled with pride and joy.

“No one will love you like your parents.” This is what I’ve learned from Jing. But will little Kitty really understand?

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