I Not Stupid 3: When anxiety from obsessing over grades in school lasts well into adulthood

I Not Stupid 3 highlights the rivalry between two mothers who will stop at nothing to have their children surpass each other, even when their determined pursuit of success for the sake of their children comes at the expense of, well, their own children. . good.

In fact, perhaps three lines from the trailer best sum up the film’s talking point: “22 years later, why don’t we understand our children better? 22 years later, why are parents still obsessed with their children’s school grades?” children? 22 years later Why do parents continue to deprive their children of a happy and simple childhood?

In standard Jack Neo style, the story is quite formulaic and with a cartoony feel. But I expected the same thing and didn’t feel like it was necessary to have changed drastically to learn something new. After all, it’s been 22 years and I’ve changed.

Watching the same movie at different times in life often results in a different conclusion each time, influenced by our life experiences, beliefs and values, and even emotional range at the time. As the famous saying goes: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”


While I Not Stupid 3 repeats the tried-and-tested narrative of academic trauma that its now-adult millennial audience will find familiar, the film also delves a little deeper into the parents’ backstories, touching on the deeper beliefs that underpin their obsession with the lives of their children. Grades.

If I had seen this movie when I was younger, I probably would have come to the conclusion that kiasu (out of fear of losing) society creates Tiger Parenting, which turns mothers into monsters and puts undue pressure on children. Stress is bad. Suffering is bad. Ban all license plates. And he wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

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But roughly two decades after leaving grade school, the first place where I fully felt the suffocating pressure to perform, I now know that life’s experiences are rarely binary. I have seen the negative consequences of carrying well-intentioned beliefs from youth into adulthood and, if we have children, into parenthood. More often than not, these beliefs are baggage, whether we carry the burden ourselves or unknowingly place it on others.

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