A proposal for BYOM Day

[The featured image is of Leroy Sofyan’s ‘Chalk and Cheese’, one of the artworks displayed at the National Museum of Singapore during the Singapore Biennale 2013.]


And in my head, I imagine (and this is pure imagination, of course)…

Dear Principal,

I am alarmed that the school has started a daily spring cleaning campaign. Is this what school is for? To teach my child how to clean? If I wanted to teach him that, I would have sent him elsewhere. School, in my time, was to prepare children for examinations. Will cleaning be tested in the exams? Don’t you have cleaners? Is this a way of saving your school’s funds? 5 minutes per day is 35 minutes per week, which translates to 1400 minutes per year  (based on 4 terms of 10 weeks each). This is almost 24 hours worth of classroom time per year — wasted on teaching him a skill that he will not be tested on, and which he will never use!

My child has never cleaned anything, because we have had domestic help since our prince was a baby. He is highly allergic to dust and micro-particles (see Appendix A: Letter from Specialist in Juvenile  Allergies to Dust and Mirco-particles). He has never sat on the floor, and sneezes when he is near dusty areas. It is for this reason that we do not travel to undeveloped countries. The exposure to dust and disease would overwhelm him.

The only impetus I can imagine behind this move is to cut funds, and perhaps teach less advantaged children some work skills for the future, just in case the labour supply for those sort of jobs dry up in the future. For the children such as my boy, who are obviously not headed in that direction, I would suggest that your school implement a new day instead. I propose you call this day Bring Your Own Maid (BYOM) day.

On this day, children will learn about the division of labour and the practice of outsourcing in the modern economy. These are essential financial literacy skills. Looking at how their maids clean will teach them how to empathize with others later on in life. They can also learn soft skills such as delegation, giving clear instructions and monitoring work progress. These are supervisory and consultancy skills, which are much more highly regarded in society than mere cleaning. I have attached, in Appendix B, a detailed programme of BYOM day for your consideration.

Thank you.

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