It can be disconcerting to see someone who isn’t even old enough to watch an R(A) movie in the cinemas cruise past you at the wheel of a Porsche, but that’s Singapore for you. Even as the cost of living soars and regular people find themselves cutting costs to make ends meet, the affluent just keep finding new things to spend on.
As if raising kids isn’t expensive enough, in Singapore parents tend to have a “spare no expense” mentality, usually applied to tuition but also increasingly to a range of pretty exotic and very costly after-school activities. Try not to be too envious at some of these expensive activities kids these days are enjoying.
If you thought golf was a sport only middle aged businessmen enjoyed, think again. Many secondary and even primary schools all over Singapore now offer golf as a CCA, something that was almost unheard of one or two decades ago. Kids who are short enough to get free MRT rides can now be seen lugging huge golf bags to school. It definitely didn’t help when all the kiasu Singaporean parents found out that Tiger Woods started playing golf at the age of 3.
While getting your kid to learn golf through their school’s CCA will obviously be way cheaper than sending them for private lessons, you’ll still have to factor in the cost of equipment and fees to the coach hired by the school. And then there’s the question of buying a country club membership once they graduate….
The sport of fencing brings to mind 18th century nobility duking it out with their pointy swords. Well, Singapore might be as far removed from 18th century Europe as they come, but that hasn’t stopped fencing from taking a hold on some kids’ after-school time, and their parents’ wallets. While fencing is available at some schools as a CCA, many kids take classes through private fencing schools. Some parents even send their kids for private fencing lessons when they’re as young as kindergarten age.
Why is fencing so much more expensive than simply joining a soccer team? Not only is coaching relatively expensive due to the lack of supply in Singapore, fencing gear is also very costly. You’ll have to buy a full suit including mask, gloves, vest and jacket, a fencing blade as well as a fencing bag, which will set you back a few hundred dollars.
3. Horse riding
Back when I was at school, you would always meet one or two girls who had been sent for horse riding lessons as a child, and man did I envy them. While back in the day the Bukit Timah Saddle Club was one of the only places kids could get trained in equine sports, horse riding is becoming more popular these days thanks to new riding centres such as the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, Horsecity and Gallop Stable. Some schools are even starting to roll out horse riding as a CCA or participate in the “riding for schools” programme.
Don’t expect these sessions to come cheap, though, as unless your child is enrolled in a CCA you’re looking at a minimum of $70 for a training session that lasts less than an hour, and a 10-lesson course costs about $500 to $600. Kids who join horse riding as a CCA will be looking at fees of at least $1,000 a year. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of boots, breeches and a helmet, each of which can cost over $100.
If a child is an aspiring pilot and hasn’t yet had his eyesight too badly destroyed by the curse of Singapore myopia at the age of 16, joining the Singapore Youth Flying Club is yet another way parents get to spend a lot of money in the name of educating your child.
Entry is competitive and all aspiring pilots will have to go for a medical check up and attend interviews before being admitted. From the day they join the club to the day they get their Private Pilot Licence, parents will have forked out about $20,000.
Back when I used to tutor kids for extra pocket money, I experienced a major FML moment when I discovered that the 8-year-old kid for whom I was slaving away at a rate of $30 per lesson was going for yachting lessons on her off-days.
The SAF Yacht Club now runs sailing courses for kids as young as 7, no doubt preparing them for a life of champagne parties on board their luxury yachts. The 4-day course costs around $400—a pretty expensive way to spend a week-long school holiday. But it’s not just the introduction that will cost parents money in the long run but rather the regular training sessions necessary to hone junior’s skills.
Do you know of any other expensive after-school activities kids are taking part in these days? Let us know in the comments!