Monday, September 18, 2006

Child labour

My son was (un)lucky enough to have had his name drawn out of a hat out of a class of thirty. How lucky you were! I remember saying to him. This is great! You'll know what it is like to have responsibility! Yeah yeah, whatever... he said.

So what does a health prefect do? Here's according to the health prefect handbook:

1. Ask the nurse to get a badge
2. Sign the duty book
3. Count the number of ice bag (sic)
4. Count the number of hot pack (sic)
5. Count the number of First Aid Bag (sic)
6. Change the bleeding bag in 5 classes (ha ha ha ha hh!!!! the bleeding bag!!!!)
7. Record the class and the name (sic) of the sick
8. If nurse is busy, stay with those unattended students
9. If someone sleeps in the medical room, please keep quiet
10.Tidy the bike outside medical room (bike?? huh???)
11.Helping nurse to prepare the health education programme materials
12.Hold the games - "fun" outside medical room, if any (what the ...?)
13.Ask nurse to put a stamp on your card
14.Deliver the memo to the teachers accordingly (what memo??)

Anyway, the grammatical mistakes that even my son can spot aside, all looks pretty legit. I didn't find out if all the health prefects have to I do solemnly swear, I hereby commit myself to the tasks of being a health prefect, the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth et cetera. In reality, this is what my son and other health prefects (HPs) have been made to do.

Last week:

Three HPs on duty for the day gathered in the nurse's office.
HP1 had a pile of memos in front of her - addressed to parents.
HP1 was responsible for crossing out the date on the memo (wrong month printed). HP2 had to stamp each memo with the correct date.
HP3 had to put each memo into an envelope.

This week:

Three HPs on duty for the day gathered in the nurse's office.
All HPs were given a stack of forms.
HPs have to go around to all the class rooms, inserting forms into each kid's cubby hole.

I have mixed feelings about all this, naturally.

On the one hand this is a blatant case of exploitation. Giving you a nice title making you think you are special and in a position of power and responsibility, when in fact you are running around doing errands for incompetent and/or lazy adults who can ruin you if you don't do what they say.

They are sacrificing play time after lunch to do this crap! Utterly non-health prefect related shit!

On the other hand, this is more or less what life is like for a lot of the working population. He might end up being one of them so might as well get used to it early on. Or, this might deter him enough so that he would work his arse off to avoid ending up doing this shit for the rest of his life.

He seems alright about it though, despite describing it as "stupid" from day one.

1 comment:

nosebleed said...

He was reasonably excited to have been picked for it, too.

On the one hand I'm pround of him for realising so quick that it was "stupid". On the other hand I find it a bit heartbreaking- the first rush of "cool, I got a job" followed by the disappointment. But as you say, he might as well get used to it.

I'm surprised he turns up at all, actually.