Forums  •  Classifieds  •  Events  •  Directory

 
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Resisting the Culture of “Spend Spend Spend”

  1. #9
    JayJay is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    46
    There was an editorial in the South China Morning Post a few weeks ago that's quite relevant to this topic. I've bolded the section that really struck a cord with me.

    Have you ever noticed that Hong Kong children spend a huge amount of time indoors? Whether they are studying, hanging out with their friends or even playing sports, increasingly, our children are growing up under the glow of fluorescent lights. It is a fact that I never really noticed until recently, when I signed my son up for a weekly football class - only to find that it was held indoors.

    There are numerous reasons for this phenomenon and none of them are new. First, there is the lack of space. There's also Hong Kong's ever increasing air pollution. Then, there are the cultural reasons: most parents in Hong Kong live in constant worry that their children might either freeze or melt.
    It is no surprise that, these days, indoor playrooms and playgrounds are popping up. Children flock after school to tutorial centres to relearn what they have learned at school. Teenagers use crowded shopping malls like living rooms.

    This much indoor activity is unnatural. Being outdoors is not just about getting fresh air and exercise. It is also a state of mind. It is about being able to do anything and, in particular, be creative. Children need grass the same way they need white paper to write on and draw on. Every child sees a large patch of grass differently; some see a game of tag, while others see a stage for somersaults.

    Similarly, doing things outdoors is inspiring. The outdoors feeds a child's imagination and creates endless possibilities for learning. To this day, the best laboratory for science is the outdoors.

    The lack of outdoor activity for our children is alarming. It means that, compared to their counterparts in other places, they have one fewer platform upon which to be creative.

    But, because being indoors is so easy, children take to it. The many comforts of being inside - stable temperature, constant lighting and purified air - mean it is addictive.

    Yet, over time, it feeds our increasingly superficial lifestyle. After all, for most children growing up in Hong Kong, the easiest place to stay inside and yet still be out is the shopping mall. If you spend your whole childhood in a mall, you are bound to come out highly trained to, well, consume. And we wonder why Hong Kong children are so materialistic.

    Our children are missing out on a real childhood. And it is not because of our school system or extracurricular classes. It is because they do not play outside enough. So, take your children out; take them somewhere they can get their hands dirty - that means getting out of the bubble of Hong Kong Island.

    And when you are out and about, do not automatically reach for your iPhone. At any given park in Hong Kong, parents can be seen shoving their cameras into their child's face. God forbid we leave one fun moment undocumented! But children do not want to be chased by Blackberries. They want to be chased by their parents, sans electronic devices, just enjoying the day with them, outside.

  2. #10
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    HK
    Posts
    1,623
    Thanks JayJay for posting that article. I was just talking with my husband about this the other day. There is something very nourishing to the soul about being close to nature for me. I know this as I grew up in a place where sunrise to sunset, everywhere I went, all I needed to do was look out a window to have a view of nature. Just stepping outside my door there were trees and places to walk in solitude in nature--five minutes from my front door!

    So, for me, particularly, being in Hong Kong has often been a wearying experience. For this reason, we've done the best we can do to be nearer to nature. This week we've been taking my 3-year-old to an empty field/lot (where they are likely going to start construction on new apartments soon) to just walk around and pick weeds/flowers/grass and pick up stones--it's certainly not a nice park but for a 3-year-old it's an adventure.

    I really do miss the solitude/solace of walking in nature like I did back home--I think that's the number one thing I miss actually. It's really not the same here in HK but we do the best we can.

  3. #11
    1sttimemom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    145
    My parents encouraged my brother and I to start working at an early age. At age 10, we rode our bikes up and down hills delivering the daily paper and at the end of every month, we'd go house by house collecting subscription fees. That was hard work and really taught me the value of money.

    As a teenager, I earned CDN$8 - 17/hr at different jobs during my teenage years, and always spent it carefully. I think it was when I watched a show (no idea what it was) and learned to calculate how many hours I would have to work to buy something. That really woke me up!! (Buying a pair of shoes it would take 30 hours of work to cover was out of the question!!)

    My parents only gave me necessities by the time I was about 16-17. Yes, I got the occasional "just because" gift. For big purchases like cars, they would buy for us only after we earned the amount needed.

    As for being materialistic, I think for many it's using brand name products to make up for something missing in their lives. "Buying" confidence for example. Of course, true confidence cannot be purchased. Perhaps this is also something to consider...

  4. #12
    Dadspin99 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica
    Posts
    2
    Okay, I'm not joking, my first job at 14 was flower shop, cutting thorns off of roses. I'm 42, still have the knife. My kids are younger. Rather than just give them an allowance, I hooked up with Kidworth.com. My sons use it as an online way to manage their money. So, they track what they get for birthdays, holidays, etc. Then they pick what they want to spend it on, chart it out. We added buttons to save for college and they picked charities. Then they manage it. What they can't afford, they have to keep saving for.

  5. #13
    ssheng is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Kowloon Station
    Posts
    154
    That's a really interesting idea - having your kids save for their own college educations! Given how extremely pricey primary/secondary schooling is already (assuming your kids go to international school), I never thought about this. That is an interesting idea and could also teach the value of an education in a financial sense!

    My main comment however was that we usually learn spending habits from our parents (at least I did), so beyond teaching them by telling them something, having an allowance, etc, look at how your family discusses money in the household and how you spend. For example, for a long time my husband would be seduced by the latest 'gadget' and buy it when he felt like it. There was no sense of waiting, saving, discussing the price, discussing whether it was necessary, etc., and we ended up with a lot of functional but wasteful and useless gadgets in the house. Or for example, when we buy groceries with our child sitting in the cart, usually we don't discuss or consider which olive oil is the best priced or whether to buy the meat that is on sale. It's small stuff like that, but I think if money is never a consideration or a concern, children will end up mimicking the spending habits of the parents and/or not realizing the value of money via observation. It's hard to explain to them that different rules would apply to them - Daddy can buy all the electronics he wants because he works hard - doesn't mean that much if they just see Daddy buying whatever he wants. Anyway, our baby is still too little for these lessons but a lot of you have some great strategies I will employ!

  6. #14
    Dadspin99 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica
    Posts
    2
    Well, I'm not REALLY having him save for college, but we came up with a number ($US 4,000) that seemed like an understandable goal for an 8 year old. We plugged that into the site as a goal and he puts a little bit in.

    As for buying stuff, I agree - if the parents don't have limits, kids don't learn limits. But that's kind of two joint discussions-- being a role model, then letting kids manage their own money.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. 2yr old Birthday Gift - How much to spend?
    By DebT in forum The Practical Parent
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-21-2010, 07:27 PM
  2. HK drinking culture
    By NewMommie in forum Hong Kong Pregnancy Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-30-2009, 10:07 PM
  3. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-08-2009, 03:45 PM
  4. 18 month old resisting bed time...
    By LeahH in forum Sleep and your Baby
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-17-2009, 09:04 AM
  5. How much do you spend on your baby every month
    By little mum in forum Feeding Baby
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-15-2009, 08:04 AM
Scroll to top