A series of student suicides begs the question what exactly is ailing our children so much that they want to end their lives.
The answer is far from straightforward.
Our education system could be flawed. Our children are perhaps becoming more fragile than previous generations.
These could be some of the factors that are driving some students to the breaking point.
I would say a big part of the problem is their parents.
Chinese parents are demanding. That’s in our DNA.
Perhaps more than most people, Hong Kong parents dream of the best education for their children, the best jobs, the best pay, the best marriage.
But why is the phenomenon of overbearing parents pushing their children to the brink getting worse?
Our economic success is to blame.
In the old days, an average couple would be lucky to be able to feed their children, house the family and make ends meet.
Playgroups were unheard of when I was young. Ballet and piano lessons were only for the privileged.
Thanks to decades of spectacular growth, middle class income has soared.
Ever eager to give their children a head start, today’s parents splash out on private tutorials, music lessons, sports and language classes.
They seek the best pre-nursery schools and elite kindergartens, even though they charge as much as a college.
Some families move to increase the chances of their children getting admitted to prestigious primary and secondary schools.
Those with more modest means rent a mail box in their preferred school district as proof of residence.
Their children feed their obsession by their obedience.
They spend their young lives running from one classroom to another, from one lesson to another, and grow up having missed their childhood.
Now some parents are learning how horrendously they have brought up their children. On social media, they might find their children contemplating suicide.
Some never get to know until it’s too late.
Parents are adults. They should know there’s more to life than high achievement or success.
Life revolves around random factors that the most elaborate planning simply will not do.
Christine Ma, an education expert, drew a parallel between a marathon and raising a child — getting ahead at the starting line is meaningless but proper pacing will safely get you across the finish line.
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