8 tips from Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of Avoiding Kids During Cuti Sekolah’
School holidays are here again! Do we hear a collective woohoo? No? That’s because it’s been drowned out by screechy children and noisy tweens.
And again, screechy children.
It’s not that we dislike children though, cause they so cute. It’s just that children are like being a guest at barbecue parties – it’s fun every once in awhile, but leave the cleanup to the hosts. On second thought, maybe children and barbecues don’t make the best of analogies…
Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, the point is that unless you maroon yourself at home, there’s pretty much no way you can avoid kids during school holidays.
Or is there?
We came across this dude named Sun Tzu who laid down some pretty cool quotes that’ll help in preventing schoolkid annoyance. We don’t really know him personally since he has yet to approve our Facebook friend request, but the dude has probably had more than his fair share of run-ins with kids during school holidays, getting annoyed enough to come up with some book about artwork during war or something.
Btw, we just googled “Sun Tzu” and used whatever showed up on the image search results. Btw btw, some of these tips might also apply to younger children.
1. “All warfare is based on deception” – Sun Tzu dude
Thanks to our Asian parenting, most Malaysians have been brought up with a fear of authority figures, most commonly policemen or…. teachers. Most of the younger kids have been conditioned to hush up and behave in the presence of an authority figure, at least until the rebellious YOLO years set in, so why not take advantage of this?
Since it’s illegal to dress up as a policeman (Section 419 of the Penal Code), your best option would be to dress up as a teacher. This look can be achieved with a short-sleeved button-down shirt tucked into slacks and rubber soled shoes for men and a plain-ish baju kurung or a woman’s three-piece suit for women. Just remember that it can’t look too fashionable or you’d fall into the office worker look. If you’re gonna get into any trouble with the police for dressing up for this, it should only be with the fashion police.
A stern scowl on the face is an added bonus to complete the look. Just imagine you have lasers building up in your eyeballs and you’re trying to keep in contained. That’s for the look. If a child is a little too unruly for your liking, then, like an educational Cyclops, fire that eyeball laser at them and watch as they quietly slink into submission. It’s true. This writer’s mother was a teacher.
2. “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness” – Sun Tzu dude
While most kids have smartphones nowadays, they usually don’t have too much of a data plan and so would flock to places with free wifi like hipsters to music festivals. Speaking of which, we have a contest where you can win free tickets to Urbanscapes! #shamelessplug
On top of the noise of random chatter, you’d also be at high risk of having to listen to any music or videos they might feel compelled to share WITHOUT headphones. So unless you have a liking for muffled EDM or a tinny Taylor Swift, you either avoid it or tackle it head on.
3. “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles” – Sun Tzu dude
It’s basically identifying schoolchildren magnets and avoiding them. For example, a shopping mall with a cineplex would attract more schoolchildren than one without. If you factor in pulls such as McDonald’s, Aunty Annes, Lecka Lecka, Chatime, and so forth; you’d be able to statistically guess your chances of running into a acne-ridden cloud of cracking voices.
However, if you insist on watching a movie anyway, Maddox from The Best Page in the Universe has prepared a formula to help you out. If you don’t remember this internet legend, you’re probably one of those people we’re trying to avoid.
4. “What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” – Sun Tzu dude
This one’s quite simple… just go back to your teenage years and think of three places you’ll never go to.
So if you had a pretty regular childhood, you would have thought of these:
- Healthy/organic/salad cafes – Kids are like ants.. if there ain’t sugar, they ain’t attracted.
- Expensive/uncool places – Older schoolkids want to take selfies and be seen in trendy places, but also not burn a hole in their velcro wallets. If we use coffee as an example, a hipster cafe might be better to be seen in, but is more expensive than, say, Starbucks. In contrast, an aunty coffeeshop would be cheap but not nice to take selfies in. So bottom line is, avoid Starbucks in shopping malls at all costs (haha) even though they serve amazing coffee and you should berpongchan them outside of this situation (Please don’t sue CILISOS)
- Cultural/educational institutions – These kids are on holiday from an institute of culture and learning, the last thing they want is culture and learning away from school. In this case, you gotta look at alternative options for your weekly entertainment. Usually watch a movie on Saturday nights? Try catching a theatre show instead. Reading that novel at a cafe? How about a trip to the national library or visit a museum?
5. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” – Sun Tzu dude, maybe
What this means what this means – Despite how counter-productive it might sound, you should hang out near those indoor childcare playground sections at the mall. Note that it HAS to be one of those charge-per-entry ones and not free access ones.
Here’s the logic – the younger kids will be so excited to go in that they’ll be making a beeline straight to the ticketing counter while older kids will avoid this place like the plague cause it’ll infringe on their coolness, y’know, in case people think they were just leaving the playground or something. Just…. don’t forget to bring headphones.
6. “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious” – Sun Tzu dude
Think of this as an add-on to the other tips here. Whatever it is you’re about to do, early mornings and late nights are the best times to do it without running into holidaying horrors. This is because, at the end of the day, schoolkids are schoolkids and therefore either need more sleep or are bound to curfews. Chances are that you won’t be running into them from 1am to 11am, but those times also mean that there’s a lot of stuff you won’t be able to do either. However, depending on your own sleep patterns and activities, this will still be a handy consideration.
7. “Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move” – Sun Tzu dude
Picture this scenario: You’re at home enjoying the peace and quiet when suddenly your phone rings. A friend you haven’t seen in awhile calls you and says he and the wife (since when did he have a wife?) in town and wants to visit. You say “Sure, no problem.” An hour later he shows up with a wife and four kids in tow. As you guys catch up, you’re also distracted by the possibility that one of the children might spill that cup of Ribena, or that they might run around and knock your grandmother’s vase over, or something. And by the time your friend leaves, you think you may as well have organized a barbecue party.
Your mistake is that you didn’t do your homework. What you should have done was to quickly excuse yourself, look him up on Facebook, and scroll through his profile to check his child status. Going through his photos would be the easiest, since parents can’t help but post pictures of their children.
From here, depending on how old the children are, you can either suggest to meet in a mall with a play center (Tip #5) or to meet for an early breakfast or a late supper (Tip #6)
8. “If fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding” – Sun Tzu dude
With most of the scenarios presented, you have an escape route. You can walk out of a cafe, or walk out of a cinema; but you know what you can’t walk out of?
That’s right. A plane.
As most families will take the opportunity to travel during school holidays, we think there’s a 99% chance you’d be in a pressurized cabin of children. To be honest, in this case, the 0 – 6 and 12 – 15 year olds are the scariest of the lot. The younger group tends to cry and tantrum while the older group tends to get restless and kick the back of your chair.
And again. No escape.
Well, the closest thing that came to salvation was a 2011 announcement by budget airline Ryanair for “premium” child-free flights. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an April Fool’s joke. Sigh.
Also, if you absolutely have to travel, at least spare yourself in terms of accommodation. The trick here is to either go big or go broke. Families would go for mid-range hotels while traveling students will go for rental apartments. Your best bet would either be a $uperexpen$ive hotel or a shoplot one.
Here’s to an annoyance-free school holiday!
Thanks Sun Tzu dude!