Sunday 28 June 2009

Back to school! Thank you, MOE, for saving our lives

I received the most terrifying news last week - and I'm not talking about the threat of a Singapore Grand Prix without F1 star Lewis Hamilton. He's so dreamy.

No, this news shook my wife and I to our very core. The global scourge that is the H1N1 flu finally hit home.

Although it wasn't confirmed, the mere possibility of it was horrifying enough, the two of us considered a suicide pact: The Ministry of Education (MOE) might not reopen the schools after the June holidays because of H1N1.

The thought of spending more time with the kids at home after surviving the past four weeks of hell with them - oh my god, MOE, just point the gun at our head, pull the trigger and put us out of misery right now.

Throughout the June holidays, all my two kids, who are in Primary 4 and 6, wanted to do was play computer games and watch reruns of reruns of The Nanny.

Any attempts to get them to do anything else, like their homework or even eat their meals, would result in bitter acrimony - screaming, some kicking and prolonged sulking afterwards. And that was just their mother.

I would like to say we didn't travel because of the flu pandemic, but actually, we simply couldn't afford to. Apparently, there's a recession going on.

Our sole solace was that the school holidays would be over in four weeks, which is why we lost all will to live when we heard that the break might be extended. Damn you, H1N1!

Of course, what was devastating news to us was Christmas morning for the kids. Whoopee, more time to make their parents' life miserable! Oh, how they celebrated - with more computer games and Fran Drescher's nasal cackle.

So you can imagine our relief - and the children's disappointment - when it was announced that MOE wouldn't shut the schools after all. It was our turn to laugh in their faces. Boom boom boom!

My wife and I literally danced for joy. I believed we krumped. Boom boom boo-oom!

But my 10-year-old daughter wasn't giving up so easily. She suggested we should lie to the school that we did visit one of the H1N1-affected countries so that she could attend e-lessons from home. More computer time for her!

Stop the music. Okay, so now we have another problem: a daughter who saw nothing wrong in lying.

Oh, well. She's going back to school tomorrow. She'll be the teacher's problem. Ha!

Crank up the Black Eyed Peas - time for the parents to have a holiday. I like that Boom Boom Pow!

- Published in The New Paper, 28 June 2009