No, these were not the pair of shoes cast in Jack Neo's movie Home Run, in which the kids had to wear worn-out school shoes because their parents were too poor to buy them new ones.
These belong to Lesley-Anne - they're in this state because her parents were too cheap to buy new ones and were hoping that she could make them last her final year in primary school. Alas, this was not to be. It's like hoping your final remaining piece of wrapping paper will be enough to wrap that very last Christmas present. There's a phrase for it - I think it's called Fat Hope.
You might think we're terrible parents but I know for a fact that this is a very common practice. It's part and parcel of being kiam siap in Singapore. Some primary school kids are inadvertent casualties of this phenomenon - p1 kids drowning in super-sized uniforms (far-sighted parents in anticipation of growth spurts) and p6 kids in fashionably short and faded uniforms (parents reluctant to buy new ones with just a year to go). Lesley-Anne says her classmate keeps tripping over her own feet because she's wearing shoes two sizes too big. So clearly, pragmatism trumps dignity with Singaporean parents.
Actually, Lesley-Anne has had a pretty good record in getting our money's worth when it comes to school supplies. She generally makes one pair of school shoes last at least an entire year, and they usually need to be replaced only because she has outgrown them, not because the shoes are spoilt. Andre is a whole different story, wearing out five pairs of shoes in two years. When he comes home from school, his shoes are usually in an appalling condition - scruffy and dirty. His excuse? It's hard to keep your shoes clean while playing soccer at recess.
Likewise, I had to replace his school uniforms within a year as most of them had pen marks (permanent, of course!) To be fair, he also couldn't fit into them anymore. When the year started, his school shorts were so loose that they sometimes fell off his hips when he ran. By the year's end, he had grown so tubby around the middle that he could barely button his shorts without cutting off his blood circulation. In comparison, you probably won't believe it when I tell you Lesley-Anne could still wear her p1 school uniform (still in pristine condition) when she was in p4.
Last year alone, Andre managed to rip four school bags. If Lesley-Anne's account is right, apparently some boys have found an ingenious way to avoid carrying their heavy bags - just kick them down the stairs. At one point, we threatened to make Andre carry his books in a plastic bag.
So anyway, back to Lesley-Anne's shoes. We lost the gamble on this one - she received spanking new school shoes over the weekend. Do you know if Jack Neo is making a sequel to Home Run? I'm happy to donate her old pair.
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8 months ago