Outsourcing . . .

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2010 at 1:49 am

You can outsource a call center to India.  You can contract manufacturing to rural China.  But, did you know you can outsource even the most cherished parental responsibilities?

For the last few years, I’ve been attempting to teach the middle little Stockdale how to ride a tw0-wheeler.  While she responds reasonably well to her teachers, the middle little Stockdale completely refuses to learn ANYTHING from Mrs. Stockdale and I.  Regardless of what we are trying to convey to her, she wants nothing to do with it.  Actually, I don’t blame her, but that is beside the point.

One of the guys I play golf with told me about Mr. Edmunds at Hon Kah Trading.  ( www.cyclinglesson.com.sg )  For the low,low price of $200SGD you get four one hour bike riding lessons and a guarantee that you child will be riding on two wheels.  Let’s just say this guy is a genius on many levels.

Basically, he pads the kids up, sticks them on the bike, he gets on his bike next to them and away they go!  At first he pulls them along by holding onto their handle bars.  Within about five minutes the middle little Stockdale was riding on her own.  By the end of her first lesson, she was almost self-sufficient.  By the end of the last lesson, she was a fully functional little kid on a two-wheeler.   Granted the only place she can really ride in Singapore is in the parking garage under our building, but at least she can ride while it is raining.

The other interesting part of the bike lessons was getting a closer view of life for the ordinary Singaporean.  Most of the population live in what are known as HDB ( Housing Development Board ) flats.  These are four and five-room apartments that are sold to residents through a partnership between private developers, banks, and the government.  Relative to the private property market, these flats are reasonably priced ($250,000 – $500,000 USD) and come with mortgages in the 1-2% range.  There are a variety of income requirements, residency restrictions, and rules around the system.  Regardless it works pretty well in Singapore.  Most newly married couples in Singapore live for a short period with one of their parents and then purchase an HDB flat.  The HDB flat is the closest thing to the suburbs you will find in Singapore.

Mr. Edmunds bike shop is at the bottom of an HDB development.  Most of these have a small amount of retail on the first level.  These include grocery stores ( 7/11’s are EVERYWHERE ), restaurants, tutors ( tutors are EVERYWHERE ), and random things like bike shops.  Mr. Edmunds seems like a local hero his building.  He keeps a bunch of old bikes outside his shop for the kids to ride and I have a feeling my tuition payment was subsidizing the bicycle riding skills of the entire neighborhood.

While growing up in something like an HDB flat in the States would be terrible because of loud neighbors, litter, and the crime that always seems to follow high population densities.  In Singapore, it works.  The place looked clean, safe, and everyone seemed to know each other.

Singapore is successful, in large part, because it’s residents respect each other, at least at the basic levels.  I’m not saying there aren’t problems or that everyone is friends, but I would say problems are isolated and dealt with accordingly.

  1. Do you think Mr Edmunds has cousin in the states who would be available to teach the oldest Nurphy to ride his two wheeler? I’m thinking he will have to scooter to his first drivers ed class as he has NO interest in his bike.

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