Kids say the darndest things

Kids say the darnedest things

Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia 1981-2003

Posting “You know you’re a TCK when…” last week jogged a memory loose. It was the line, “You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera” that did it. My story doesn’t involve language, but an unexpected knowledge of international politics.

When Younger Daughter was 7 or 8 years old, we watched the movie “Zoolander.” (We’ll have a discussion about my fitness as a parent some other time.) “Zoolander” is one of those movies you know perfectly well is utterly ridiculous, but you catch yourself laughing all the same. This is why I can never be a film snob.

The plot is unimportant — it’s really just an excuse for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson to mug for the camera — but it involves a wackadoodle plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The four of us had pretty much lost interest in the action by the time the assassination attempt took place, but Younger Daughter suddenly sat bolt upright and pointed at the television.

“Wait a minute!” she said, surprised. “That guy’s not the Prime Minister of Malaysia!”

Chef Boyardee and I stared at her in disbelief. “Who’s the Prime Minister of Canada?” I quickly asked her, thinking that perhaps I’d been underestimating her genius all these years. She shrugged “I dunno,” and went back to watching the TV with one eye and playing Super Mario with the other. So much for my “mother of the wunderkind” fantasy.

She’s 15 now, and when I researched this post by asking if she knew the name of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, she shook her head absently and continued texting while simultaneously juggling several Facebook chats, listening to her iPod, watching YouTube videos and doing her homework. I reminded her about the “Zoolander” comment, and she laughed. “We lived in Southeast Asia then,” she said. “His photo was probably on the news a lot.”

So maybe she doesn’t read the international section before the comics, like those TCKs in my previous post. There’s still time for that. For now, I’ll content myself with the fact that at least she knows where Malaysia is. And I’m happy to report that these days, she knows the name of Canada’s Prime Minister as well.

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About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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6 Responses to Kids say the darndest things

  1. It IS interesting that at that young age she’d seen the PM enough in the news that she knew an imposter when she say him. Go with the wunderkind premise and tell others that her international diplomacy phase was in her younger years and now she’s leaning toward being a communications consultant 😉

  2. Veronique says:

    Good post! It reminds me when my older daughter sang the American anthem in front of the TV set for the last Winter Olympic games (in Canada) when an American athlete competed but was unable to sing the French one! Arghhh!

    • Maria says:

      It’s not just the kids, either. When my elder daughter was at the Canadian school in Singapore, she came home very confused one day because her (Canadian) teacher had told the class the Prime Minister of Canada was Jean Cretien. Unfortunately, he’d been out of office for almost a year by then. Epic fail!

      • Sine says:

        Same happened to my gr 10 son – they were talking about all the leaders of the G-8 (or is it G-9 by now – so much for MY wunderkind credentials), and they had Sylvio Berlusconi on the list to study for some test. My son pointed out that it was now Mario Monti, the power transfer had just been on the news that week. Fat chance the school would have known of that so quickly! I was very impressed – we are neither Italian nor have we ever lived in Italy, so it was just my son staying up-to-date during those endless computer sessions where I always suspect he’s up to no good…

      • Maria says:

        Kids! Sometimes they surprise us in GOOD ways.

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