Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Schoolchildren RM100.

A hundred bucks may not be much nowadays. But parents don't usually give away RM100 to their kids for kicks. Once they get into the habit of receiving the big ones for their pleasure, the tenner, the fiver and the little ones mean nothing anymore. Give them a tenner and they might just pull a sour face with a nasty pout of the lips.

Kids from wealthy families in the city maybe used to getting the 100 and 50 smackeroo. Must we now spread that expectation to the poorer kids in the rural areas? Government's intention of giving them the handout as emblazoned by the papers maybe good but that could revive the old dependency on government subsidy and aid syndrome, among the kids of today.

Kids are learning a lot of things from the school today, more than just from the books amd teachers. The school is a melting pot of juvenile behaviors as nurtuted by many families. All the good and bad habits developed in the familly are brought to the school by the kids and are slowly rubbed onto each other through friendship and emulation. It is in the school that children picked up msny of the offensive habits that parents do not tolerate or approve at home. It is there that habits like bullying the young and the weak, cheating to get around certain problems, buying favors and influence from schoolmates, ganging up to protect oneself from other groups and cliques, and even learning to commit little crimes and misdemeanours for kicks as a group activity.

One of the less hihlighted things that children learn in school is spending and saving money. They are given some pocket money everyday. While some received a lot and have no problem of buying whatever they want from the school canteen or even the shops and shopping complexes around their school, others received barely enough to feed themselves during school- break. They thus learn to borrow and cheat some friends with lots of money to spare.

Now, how would the sudden gift of money from the government or any other rich benefactor, affect the spending habit of the children with little money to spare? They would probably go out to buy whatever they have longed for all these while, go on a spending spree that they had never experinced. Of course a hundred ringgit won't take them far but enough to have the experince of being "rich" - a false experince surely for they will be poor gain after the money is spent. Then what? They might expect another handout from the government and if they don't get it, their attitude towards the givernment might suddenly change.

Yes, the gesture of giving money to the needy children in school is certainly good. But as Confucius said, give a msn some fish and he has food for a day. But teach him how to fish and he will have food for the rest of his life. Wouldn't it be better to let the children earn the money somehow? Or put the money in a savings account and let the children learn how to operate and build up the account. That would be more useful to them as a learning experince than to be "rich" for one or two days and then becoming poor again, or feeling even poorer and envious of the rich after the experience. Unless, of course, the government will continue to give the handout off and on, and let the children develop a dependency syndrome that government is trying to stamp out from the poorer Malaysians.


kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
Very true in the Confucius sayings. But I see RM100 given as just one side of the equation. It must be balanced by the input of responsible adults to sustain the value of the handout.If we hand the money without any guide or advice the kid's tendency is to spend. If the adults were to lead them by the hand to open a savings account or provide for safe keeping in a 'tabung' the life of the money is enhanced for a longer period.
I ferry my 2 cucus to and back from school. There were some days they didn't spend their pocket money and they bought 'picture cards'
As an experiment I had two envelops placed in the glove compartments with each of their names. I told them these are your tabung. You put the remainder of your money in there. They have been putting RM0.60sen or an odd ringgit in their envelops sometimes announcing proudly out loud. The envelops get heavy now. The next step I told them is to open a Savings A/c. I think they now have some inkling of the savings habit. I think it is working!


norzah said...

With your guidance I'm sure any gift received by your cucus will be wisely spent or saved, Akhi Hank. But i hear of no such advice being given to the children who received the gift. In fact some schools tried to deduct some RM20 from the gift to pay for the PTA's annual fee and Government objected to such deduction. It seems that Government wants the children to enjoy the money in full, not give it to their parents. This is like encouraging the kids to have some real fun known in Bahasa as 'Joli katak'.

abdulhalimshah said...

I really do not see the reason for this handout except as a gimmick in view of the coming GE. It is better for the money to be given to the school and stipulate the condition that a student fund is set up in aid of the poor and needy especially when the new schooling year is coming. To give RM100 to school kids from well-off parents is just peanuts. Let the school put it to help those in real need. Of course the criteria must be spelt out as how the money should be dished out. And there must be a reporting system to keep track of the money spent.

Al-Manar said...

We seem to be doing it all against the good things we want children to have. I see cyber cafe, I see every child with hand-phone which can be purchase for 80 ringgits or less, I see pushers smiling at these 'rich' children to try something good, I see purchase of phono cd's from pasar malam black marketeers, oh I can see many things... The government is being very generous. It is just that you and I may not appreciate it because, being old, we are just naturally grumpy, no one and nothing is right.

abdulhalimshah said...

It is better to be grumpy and stop the rot before it is too late, rather than be popular and pandering to the whims and fancy of the people who thinks only of their five-year term and not for posterity. Our society is veering over the cliif if we the grumpy generation simply let these fools to have their way.

norzah said...

I don't know whether we're being grumpy because of age or something just goes against the grains of grounded wisdom, Akhi Pakcik Al-Manar and Halim. But a lot has emerged in the papers as an undesirable consequence of this sudden kindheartedness of Uncle Ban (BN), giving a hundred bucks to the kids with no strings attached. As far as I know giving away money like that to a kid can just spoil him or her. The parents who give away money to their kids like candies are just encouraging their kids to have rotten teeth so that they can have false teeth at a young age. Other electronic toys now enjoyed by the rich kids are just making them lose their human feelings and souls - all the games are very very cruel and bloody. Even the fb teaches our kids to be blatantly outspoken and vulgar.
Well, we can't turn back the clock nor can we stop human beings from seeking their own doom. We can only comment on their vanities and knowledgeable foolishness, hehehe.

norzah said...

A religious teacher made this comment quoted by Sam Rarespecies in "Sembang Sesamo Rakan Neghori" about the RM100 gift by government to school children:

‎"Terasa sayu hati saya apabila melihat anak-anak maahad kami hari ni. Disaat pelajar2 sekolah rendah,menengah, sekolah tamil, sekolah cina dapat seorang rm100 di seluruh negara, tapi pelajar yg melihat dan membaca Al-Quran dan kitab dari awal subuh hingga malam hari hanya mengigit jari. Apa perasaan murid2 mahaad tahfiz, sekolah agama rakyat, sekolah pondok seluruh negara. Adakah mereka bukan rakyat malaysia? Adakah mereka tak menyumbang apa-apa pada negara?"

Maybe government has forgotten entirely about these kids.

Anonymous said...

During those days we were not given any cash when we get good how about next year.??...will this be a yearly affair or just ad hoc thingy.....