The values of our children

Recently as I was driving along Cavenagh Road, I saw something which made me think a lot.

A domestic helper was walking with a young girl in school uniform. The girl was probably 14, 15 or so. The domestic helper was carrying a heavy bag of grocery and a backpack which looked like the young girl’s school bag. The young girl was carrying an umbrella. It had just stopped raining. As I passed the couple, I saw the young girl handing over the umbrella to the house help, and the house help taking it. The girl was then walking, arms completely free. The helper had her grocery bag in one hand, the umbrella in the other hand and the backpack on her back.

Questions went through my mind : to what extent do we as parents teach our children to treat others with compassion and kindness?

In Singapore we are lucky that so many of our households have been able to employ domestic help.

But do we teach our children to treat our helpers, with respect, compassion? The young girl made the house help carry everything, including the umbrella ( once it was no longer raining), while she had her hands completely free.

Will she grow up, learning to treat others with respect, and be considerate ?

This education has to start with parents. We have to treat everyone with a spirit of compassion, kindness, and be considerate.

Comments to share :

  •  Beyond domestic helpers, I have witnessed a teenager shouting at her mum at Orchard Road for being too slow in walking when the mum was laden with grocery bags while the girl was empty-handed. Likewise, I have seen grandchildren shout at elderly grandparents and demanding money from them. At the airport once, a boy ran into an elderly lady and she fell. Instead of helping her up, he laughed aloud at her. When the mum arrived at the scene, she promptly ushered the son away, with the fallen lady still on the ground. Yes, if parents do not teach their kids the values that matter and teachers are not allowed to discipline students without parents issuing lawyer’s letters, we are not doing our children any favour in the long run.


  • Yes, very sad indeed, Sir. I have seen helpers carrying lower Pri children to school and feeding upper pri children at the school gate during lunch breaks.


  • Yes, our children are taught the wrong value at home. Very sad to notice the way children behave nowadays. Even sadder is to see people blaming our education system for our children’s behaviours.


  •  sadly, this happens everywhere esp when the family is out having dinner …. everyone else is eating except the helper tending to the very young one.


  • My ex neighber scold her kids from helping the maid.


  • Well said sir, would also like to share my experience , has a friend who told us, after his son finished his meal n wanting to bring the dishes to the sink, he stop his son from doing it with the reason we got domestic helper why you do it yourself , get her to do & he actually feel proud about it


  •  It would be very valuable for the child to be taught that there are some things that just have to be done by themselves – maybe carry her own bag. Reliance on everything on another person would develop a “crutch” mentality. Unfortunately this might do a greater dis-service to the child when he/she grows up. Unhealthy expectations could developed. They might feel that doing some things are beyond or beneath them or maybe have an unhappy outlook if they have to do it.


  • I can’t agree more. I saw many other similar situations ! I am thinking how to guide my kids to develop characters which can help to integrate people of different status to live with a happy and respectable life together . Let’s put down our individual mindsets and start to think of each of us as part of a country ……a global village


  • So true.
    My family never had a helper, we were taught to do everything for ourselves. It always puzzled me that people nowadays just find it so easy to get someone else to do things for them. They expect heir domestic helper to look after their kids for them, then expect the teachers to teach them the values. Parents who have kids should be prepared to teach the correct values in their children, or they will only suffer the consequences when they grow up.


  • Mr Minister, there are so many things I want to say about our “top down” treatment of all foreign workers in Singapore. Collectively, all of us “top down” have failed in this aspect of our treatment of FWs, helpers included. Lets talk coffee, personally as what I have to say cannot and should not be tabled on this platform.
    You once said, our Sporean society will be judged as to how we treat animals / dogs. I was laughing my brains out. We cant even treat humans properly (FWs and domestic helpers), why should we even mind the animals? Lets talk Boss.


  • It has been happening for so many years now. The kids are so pampered that even when they go out at night, they are not disciplined. Hence you get all the fights. They have been given whatever they wanted from their parents not knowing the VALUE of the dollar. I run a bar so i constantly see this.

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