As admin of the Malaysia Primary School Parents on Facebook group, I read each and every post (well, nearly all) to make sure there are no inappropriate postings. To my dismay, I frequently come across SJKC bashing posts or posts that generate a lot of fear for parents thinking of sending their kids to SJKC. Some of these include the tonnes of homework, the overzealous and strict disciplinary methods and lots more. Things are so bad it seems, it makes you wonder why anyone would want to send their kids to SJKC just to learn 6 years of Mandarin. Apparently, many don't even survive the 6 years, quitting at 3 or 4 to go to SK or jumping ship at 5 or 6 to "greener pastures" ie private or International schools.
At one time, I too was filled with fear of all the things that has been said about SJKCs. I've since then survived 8 years with 2 kids going through P1 to P6 in SJKC. The kids did have a fair bit of homework, yes and their palms did meet the rotan a couple of times, not enough to leave any lasting impression on us, most of the time, what I saw at the school were simply kids being kids and having fun.
No, our kids did not get punished for speaking in English in school as we had feared. In fact the teachers understood our situation and tried to speak to us in English whenever we met them.
I saw kids running happily in school corridors after school. I saw kids eating merrily at the school canteen. If you are a Chinese who is poorly educated in your own culture, as I am, you will learn quite a bit about your own culture as cultural events are often celebrated in SJKC. What a delight to see lion dancers during Chinese New Year and children dressed in their cultural best chasing after the lions and holding out their hands for angpows and mandarin oranges in school.
If you don't know Chinese but you are willing to learn together with your child to help them with the homework that you so feared you will not be able to help out with and therefore feel so stressed up about.....You know what? By the end of 6 years, you too will have learned an extra language!
There are many competitions in school for storytelling, singing, sports, arts, calligraphy etc. No, its not ONLY academics at SJKC. Many excel in other areas as well. My kids weren't one of those who excelled in such things but we saw many who did brilliantly.
Here kids can be seen showing off their calligraphy.
What about donations? Ah yes, donations. Donations give rise to good maintenance and improvement of the school facilities such as this track field.
Our kids were fortunate to be greeted with a KL view that some pay a lot of money to stay in high rise condos for...
Parents work together to make back of the classroom lockers (sans the locks) a reality while kids decorate it to make it "theirs".
School shoes are often lost when kids take them off to go to the library. This school has cleverly come up with a cheap and functional shoe rack made of Mandarin Oranges carton boxes.
Chinese culture is celebrated in a fun way at school.
This picture looks calm and quiet but quite often it is filled with the hustle and bustle of happy kids running around the corridor.
This is but a small sharing of the memories that SJKC has left us. They are good ones and judging from the smiling faces of many kids that we see daily at school, they too would leave school with happy memories and look back with nostalgia. Only, this is the untold story. The silent story that seldom gets heard because they get drowned out by unhappiness, complaints, fear and hearsay.
So, if you are a parent contemplating SJKC, give your kid and yourself a chance. Don't enter with a negative heart. Instead, why not leave on a positive note?