Sunday, January 18, 2009

Would you take the exam for your child?

I was so tickled by a recent news article - in all our jokes about the Singapore parent being kiasu-ness, this one takes the cake! (Ok, it's not a Singaporean parent but Japanese, but still it's the same Asian emphasis on exams). It just boggles the mind the extreme measures some parents will take to get their children ahead.

And come on, I'm sure many of us, especially when we're struggling to drum something into our kids' brains, often wished we could just take the exams in their place. The difference is that this father actually did it.

Dad posed as son in exam

Wed, Jan 14, 2009

TOKYO - A 54-YEAR-old Japanese man was caught impersonating his 20-year-old son to take an exam, even getting a perm to make himself look younger, an official said on Wednesday.

The father, who runs a medication distribution company, sat a test for a licence to handle over-the-counter drugs so that his son could work with him, said an official in Nara prefecture in western Japan.

An examiner noticed that the man looked unusually old, said local government official Masaaki Nakamori.

'A 20-year-old and a 54-year-old are aged differently. But he looked like the photo on the exam admission card,' Mr Nakamori said.

The father, whose name was not released, earned his own licence last year, taking the exam with a photo showing him with straight hair and glasses.

'This time, he curled his hair and did not wear his glasses,' Mr Nakamori said.

The man put his face down intently near the desk as he took the exam, he said.

'When the test monitor approached him, he admitted it and apologised. He said, from the application process to actual testing, he did it all himself without telling his son,' Mr Nakamori said. -- AFP


Lilian said...

Hahahaha! This is so funny, Monica you can try it since you're petite, can pass off as a mature P6-er haha, for L-A! But sorry Andre, you'll have to do it on your own, unless you start eating lots now, and start looking more like your daddy hee hee.

Alcovelet said...

This would be funny, if it weren't so sad. Can anyone forget the guy who stabbed 12 people in Akihabara last year? He went mad from the pressure he faced from his parents to do well in his studies. If you look at the parallels - "affluent Asian society with falling birth rates", you can see where we ourselves are headed. Not a pleasant vision.

monlim said...

Lilian: no lah, wait backfire how? I'm not too sure that I'll actually get higher marks than Lesley-Anne if I take the PSLE for her, esp Chinese!!

Ad: you are so right, but I'm hoping that as we're not as repressed as Japan, we can stop that from ever happeneing here. Although the over-emphasis on academic achievement is definitely similar.

eunice said...

I read about this and thought it was quite funny but also so sad. Heard that it's tough in Japan and even China where I was informed by Sean's teacher that children were beaten to death if didn't get good grades!

bACk in GERMANY said...

Mon, I think you've just given some parents an idea here: Take exam for their kids!

The over-emphasis on enrichment classes is proof of what some parents wish for themselves when they were children. These people tend to think what if they were as cool as the star of the school concert, or as clever as the top student in standard, or could swim as fast as the national swimmer etc, life would have been so much sweeter.

So building up our kids self-esteem is definitely key to a happy childhood, even happier adulthood and eventually a balanced parenthood. Can you imagine the vicious cycle otherwise?

How can the self-image of a human being be possibly made up of appearance (aiyoh, you should have heard some parents mocking at the weight of their kids) or achievement (wow, beat the beaten-to-death-one in China!)?

Still having said this, we parents really have to keep our speech/action in check and ensure that none of our secret ambitions is being transpired to our innocent kids, unwittingly.

Lilian said...

You are so right PP. Achievement by proxy, the act of fulfilling our dreams through our kids; which none of us would ever admit to doing even if it's glaringly obvious to others that we are.

A review of this book, Keeping Your Kids Out Front Without Kicking Them From Behind : How to Nurture High-Achieving Athletes, Scholars, and Performing Artists:

One chapter grabs narcissistic, needy parents by the lapels and gives their behavior the bad label it deserves: "Achievement by Proxy Disorder"--a syndrome where the parents need for fame, wealth, and recognition (as gained through a child's accomplishments) takes priority over the child's needs and goals. Other insightful chapters focus on a seven-step plan that avoids APD and helps parents to evaluate and encourage their talented children. Tofler and DiGeronimo urge parents to settle for nothing less than putting the fun back into being a child. This wise and necessary book suggests a wholehearted golden rule for nurturing talent: love children for what they are; not for what they do.

monlim said...

Lilian: I can immediately think of quite a few parents with APD! Actually, much of our parents' generation as well, though it was not recognised as a problem back then. It's like because they'd worked so hard and given so much, they're fulfilling their dreams via their kids, so much so that their kids' own happiness is sacrificed. Many of my family members today are still experiencing the anxiety of needing to fulfil their parents' dreams for them. It's really unhealthy.

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