Another dot in the blogosphere?

Fruity people: Strawberries, durians, and grapes

Posted on: November 4, 2015

When Singaporeans make analogies, we sometimes refer to food. It is as close to our hearts as it is to our stomachs. So I read with some amusement references to the strawberry and durian generations.

Apparently the strawberry generation comprise of people born after 1981 who bruise easily because they cannot withstand the stresses that their parents could.

The tweet below is a short Twitter exchange I had with @tucksoon who shared what someone wrote about the durian generation.

While the strawberry and durian are very different fruit, the people they refer to share the same traits. The durian generation are mollycoddled and protected because of their parents. They are the soft flesh encased by the tough, thick, and armoured skin that is their parents.

Durian  - King of Fruits by YIM Hafiz, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  YIM Hafiz 

Teachers feel the brunt of the durian when they meet such unreasonable and/or aggressive parents. I am not about to defend such parents, but there is often more than one side of the story.

What if a teacher is meets a few durian parents and think that the rest are like that? It is very easy to focus on the negative after all. Then every other meeting or conversation becomes tense because the teacher is sensitised or defensive.

What if a teacher has unrealistic expectations that parents will behave like they did when they were generally less educated, less well-to-do, and less entitled?

What if a teacher mishandles a situation and gets feedback from a parent that they do not agree with and the situation escalates?

If there are some durian parents, then there could be some grape generation teachers. They are sweet inside, but they have very thin skins.

Last month a parent wondered out loud in Facebook why her daughter’s English teacher had marked wrong what seemed to be perfectly good English. It made the news [archive]!

The teacher was roundly criticised in social media circles, but the parent handled that by following up with the school, the teacher, and the social commentators.

Was the parent the durian skin protecting her seed? What if the teacher or school authorities behaved like thin-skinned grapes and took offence?

Such labels are not helpful because they encourage us to judge people before we have met them or get to know them. If we do, we end up looking really daft with egg on our faces.

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