Monday, March 2, 2009

Big feet, little feet

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.


Lilian said...

Hahahahaha, I like your threat of making Andre carry plastic bag to school, better still if it's NTUC plastic bags! I would definitely make the same threats.

Brian's P1 uniform was definitely oversized, not because I was kiamsiap, but cos he was so small! It was the smallest size and the shorts was still loose.

A friend gave Brian an Impact (you know the brand?) bag and it's lasted him from September 2007 till now. Very hardy. Granted the school year here is really short lah, still the bag is in pretty good condition. I've definitely seen him throw his bag down a few steps down the stairs.

Talk about kiamsiap, when Brian had to get shoes to go to Sg school last year, I baulked at Bata prices. Then my friend recommended me this shoe shop in Tampines Mart, and I found a pair of 'dirt-proof' (ie not covered in canvas material) for only $9.90! Very white, very nice, any dirt can be wiped off type.

monlim said...

Lilian: Great minds think alike - what do you think we bought for Lesley-Anne? $9.90 shoes from the neighbourhood shop! Like you said, very nice, easy to clean.

Not heard of Impact, but you know, when we scolded Andre for spoiling his bags, he accused me "you buy the cheap cheap one, of course easy to spoil lah!" Hahaha, probably some truth in that!

eunice said...

Monica: can imagine Andre going to school with books in plastic bag!Since we are going to be leaving, I refuse to buy Sean a new wet of uniform. His classmate asked him why his shirt was so black that day and why he wasn't buying a new one. His shorts are a little short (told him to pull it down so it sits on his hips).My theory, why spend unnecessarily?

monlim said...

Eunice: you remind me of another parent, her son's school shorts were so short and tight (after 3 years) that her neighbour told her one day, "for heaven's sake, buy him a new pair of shorts!!"

But yah, you're leaving, just make do right!

Alcovelet said...

But boys are very "wu hua", as in, they don't care about clothes. So don't have to spend too much in that department!

monlim said...

Ad, you know know Andre, he's such a little vainpot! Likes to dress up, his favourite combi is his Ben 10 t-shirt and Giordano jeans. Spends a long time wetting and combing his hair too, while staring at the mirror :P

Lilian said...

Wahahahahah...didn't think Andre's like that at all! When did he start getting vain, which age? This one with his charm and moussed-up currypuff hair, sure lady-killer!

monlim said...

Yah, you don't know, if he's in a lift with mirrors, he'll be admiring himself!

He started the hair thing a couple of years ago - he doesn't have gel so he just uses water and then he looks EXACTLY like Calvin (in Calvin and Hobbes) when he has his hair slicked down to take a photo!! Of course it only lasts 5 minutes then it's back to its usual poofy state.

Anonymous said...

My son is really rough with his school bag and yes he does the kick down the stairs thing sometimes too, ....only 1 word..McNeill (the ergonomic bag from Crosscom). We bought it at the end of P1 after he went through 3 cheap backpacks in less than 1 year and he is in P5 now and except that it looks really dirty, there is not a tear to be seen on it and its still going strong. It was really expensive (about $200) and I was quite "sim tiah" about spending it but thought that with both parents having back problems it was worth it to prevent back problems for him. Now I realise that it was also a money saver: 4 per year x $20-30 (cheap bag) x 3 years = >$240 already.

Alcovelet said...

Andre's hysterical! I can almost fit the currypuff har on him when I see his pics ... He's a real charmer, this one. Better prepare yourself for when the girls come a-knockin'!

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