After countless hours of dance rehearsals throughout the semester, the school packs all of its kindergartners onto dozens of vans and carts them to a local mall in Bangkok which has a convention space. The kids dress in sparkly outfits and way too much make up (including the little boys) and are paraded around the space to the utter delight of their parents, a few of which seem far worse than the craziest "parents" on the show 'toddlers and tiaras'. The kids are broken into color teams, green, blue, orange and purple and are pegged against each other for a full day of friendly competition. It starts off with glitter clad 3 year olds from K1 in a dance competition, and by dance I mean moving from one place to another and shaking their hips and pompoms. K2 and K3 competitions follow. Some kids seem into it, while many others just have this dead-pan "I can't wait for this to be over" expression. I get it to a point, I mean, even in America we put our kids into dance studios at early ages and make them perform with slinky costumes and too much make up. I guess the difference for me, and the reason I found this more disturbing then anything, is that in the US parents put their kids into dance or whatever other sport as an AFTER school activity. These kids have been getting pulled out of their classes all semester to learn how to what? Shimmy and shake? Also, they dance facing a stage with a big leather couch where one man sits to judge them. Their parents and everyone else sits behind them and on the sides. Isn't that strange? The final competition of the day are the kid's mothers, who, not surprisingly, did the same kind of rump shaking dance as the kids in high heels and hot pants.
I would never really call myself a feminist, at least not an uber opinionated kind. I have my opinions on the subject, but it is never my place to judge or throw those opinions in other peoples faces. But there is something not quite right with all this. Mainly that these dances are prioritized well above the children's educations. Also, the makeup is pretty outrageous, and I think this way about American kids who wear makeup so this is not at all a judgement particularly on this culture.
Aside from the dance competition they did have the kids compete in foot races, and soccer matches which were fun to watch. All my complaining aside, it seemed like the kids and their parents were having a good time throughout the day, and isn't that what truly matters. The kids are adorable and it was a nice day of being out of the classroom with the students and fellow teaches.