From Disney ‘s Monsters University to Hong Kong’s Monsters School

I watched Monsters University on my flight  back to Hong Kong  from Shanghai recently. I thought it was a lovely movie.  I loved the One-Eye Green Guy, Michael Wazowski ( Mike) , who despite his small size  was inspired to become a Scarer by the famous Scarer Frank McCay . He studied hard and enthusiatically enters Monsters University (MU) as a freshman.  Throughout the movie, you can feel Mike’s genuine desire for knowledge and skills in order for him to fulfill his dream to be a Scarer.  Whilst he did not make it as Scarer through his education at MU, he overcame the obstacles and finally became a great Scarer.

The plot is not new,  and it follows an all too familiar storyline, but yet like a golden classic, it warms and touches you, especially if you too have a child who is now going through his final exams, and he is trying hard,  hoping to get into a university to start his path of fulfilling his own dream.

One of the toughest thing as a parent, is how to give the opportunities, so that your child has the chances to fulfill his or her dreams. It is not the money that needs to be given,  but the opportunity to dream, the exposure to find one’s  dream and to build the confidence so he/she  dares to dream. What support is required so each young person have this support from within, from parents and society?

I don’ t know what the exact formula for success would be; but perhaps the below examples throws light to what it should NOT be.

Monster School

The admission test: ( sorry should say pre-admission because the test starts before you walk into the interview)

1. Dress your kid in a suit with tie. It does not matter even if you are drenching  in  Hong Kong’s humid summer. Weather appropriate shorts and tee are just too casual.  Mind you, this is your kid’s first exposure to the adult  world of interviews, so please take it seriously.

2. Drive you kid for the school interview in a nice car ( e.g. Mercedes, BMW) . Rent it if you have to. Don’t have a driver’s licence?  Even better hire a driver.  This may look even better!

Apparently school reps are watching the parents  as they come in and the following categorization is done : “They come in a luxury car, a car,  a taxi or by bus 11 (i.e. walked)”

” Good  income family, ” Ok ” family, not so good income family, and perhaps need to be ‘overlooked’ family.

Please don’t be offended, the school reps are merely doing their job to identify the right potential income sources to meet the school ‘s financial plan for donations.

The Interview:

In order to further assess the financial potential of each parent as future donors to the school, your child may be asked the  following question: 

How to do spend the holiday with your parent?

Answer 1: We stay at home , watch TV, play games, etc   Financial category  “poor”

Answer 2: We go out, e.g. to Ocean Park  Financial category: “to be considered  for admission if there are still places available, but not a priority”

Answer 3: We go for overseas holidays. Financial category: ” good potential, further assessment recommended”

Further assessment may be as follows:

Where do you go for your overseas holidays?

Answer 4a:  countries in South East Asia e.g. Thailand …… Final placement: bottom of the eligible list

Answer 4b: countries in North East Asia e.g Japan…………..Final placement: middle of the eligible list

Answer4c: countries in Europe/US…………………………………Final placement: top of the eligible list

 As an institution for education, mere financial assessment would not be acceptable, so ultimate  intelligence test shall also be conducted.

Example of the utlimate IQ test:

You may be presented with 2 soft toys of same size of a seal and a sea lion. Your kid will be asked if they know what animals they are.

Sorry for me, stuff toys just looked stuffed and I am not sure even my vet is able to tell from a round fluffy thing what animal it is suppose to represent.

And to those who are lucky enough to pass the Monster’s school financial assessment and IQ tests, to have the priviledge of   best attention of the school and teachers, do not forget the following rule:” Vote for your teacher”,

Before teacher parent’s meeting, the teacher will tell the class, remember to request your parent to give me a complimentary letter before the meeting.

The teacher will tell the students the submission of such letters  is not mandatory, but she will take a record of  the students who have given her a letter of compliments from their parent to help her win the most popular teacher competition.

The above dialogue sounds familiar. I am sure I have heard it often in gangster movies, where the triad member will tell small shopkeepers that “protection money” is not mandatory; but all shopkeepers knew what  the outcome would be if the money was not paid.

From the interview to teacher relationship management, is the Monster School introducing the realities of the adult world a little to early to our children?

In Hong Kong,  kids spoilt by their parents are often referred to as ” Devil kids”. Devil kids are supposedly created due to increasing prevalence of  “Monster Parents” in Hong Kong , ie. Parents who don’t know how to teach their kids. Now thanks to Monster Schools, the Monster phenomenom can strive to the next higher level in this concrete jungle.