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Hong Kong schools

Hong Kong parents can be pushy, a Bollywood film tells us why

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2018, 8:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 September, 2018, 8:03am

The Indian film Hindi Medium has recently received much attention in Hong Kong, because it portrays overly sensitive middle-class parents fighting for what they think is the best for their children (“Bollywood education comedy comes with a message that will resonate well beyond India,” August 29).

The story begins with the mother pretends to be upper class, as she insists on sending her child to a private school. Failing to rank among the elite, they then turn to pretending to be poor in order to fight for the seats reserved for the underprivileged.

This societal phenomenon in India where parents care so much about their children’s education is not unfamiliar to Hongkongers. Local parents plan holistically for their children from when they are still babies. For example, parents have to consider what training classes their kids should attend, which kindergarten or primary school their kids should go to, and so on. All of these impose a huge burden on their children, sometimes even causing psychological problems.

Watch: Hindi Medium strikes a chord in Hong Kong

However, while our society and mainstream media are constantly blaming parents for pushing their children too hard, it is not difficult to understand why middle-class couples act this way.

Many just want their children to be able to maintain their current lifestyles when they grow up. Being born in an era when people could succeed and lead a decent life by working hard, these parents are now able to satisfy their children’s materials needs without any trouble.

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Middle-class children enjoy comfortable lives, their choice of toys, and can travel around the world, thanks to their parents.

Sadly, today’s children have been born in very different times. The knowledge economy is now the foundation of our city. For youngsters to maintain their current way of life into adulthood, they have to push themselves up to the elite class by graduating from a good university with a decent degree. In a society where knowledge is gold, professionals will always be paid much higher than those in low-skilled jobs. If students fail to make it to college and thus struggle to find a decent job, their lives might change drastically, for the worse. This is what parents are trying to prevent.

Anson Chan, North Point