While waiting for my food at the hawker centre one evening, I had a conversation with this lady who's a familiar face around there. She works as an assistant at the noodle store every morning.
She's probably about 50 but really tiny in size. I'm easily a head taller and 20kg heavier than her. She's friendly and courteous but I'm always in a hurry, we've never chatted.
That evening was different. She was just sitting around, not particularly doing anything. I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she still works at the noodle stall. Then we started chatting in Mandarin.
When I asked her about her family, she whipped out a portrait of her family taken at the studio. Beaming with pride, she pointed out, "That's my daughter. She's 28 and is currently doing her PHD. She's on a scholarship."
"And this is my son." she pointed to a handsome young man in a convocation oufit.
I was really impressed with what I saw. She's not well educated but both her kids are really smart. It simply proves that our Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew's theory that graduate parents produce more superior children is wrong. While I agree that well educated parents tend to place more emphasis on education, it is incorrect to say that they will produce smarter kids.
Some of the brightest people I know were raised by parents who had never completed primary school education. Their kids didn't have the advantage of personal coaching and were never sent to enrichment classes or music lessons, yet they had no problems competing with the better equipped kids in school.
One really smart guy I used to work with had a difficult childhood. Both his parents are mute. Today he's highly sought after as a programmer for games and animation. He's one of the best around.