Culture Education Lifestyle Weirdness

WALAU! School kids EVERYWHERE… how to avoid!? We ask Sun Tzu.

(Note: This article was originally published in December 2014)

School holidays are here again! Do we hear a collective woohoo?


That’s because it’s been drowned out by screechy children and noisy tweens on holiday.

While children make most of us go “awwwww” at their cuteness and energy, sometimes there’s just too much of a good thing and all you want is some peace and quiet.


But the problem is that unless you maroon yourself at home, there’s pretty much no way you can avoid kids during school holidays.

Or is there?

You may have heard of this guy named Sun Tzu, a famous Chinese military general from the olden days who wrote a little book called The Art of War. It’s not about battlefield artwork, but rather military strategies that have been used all around the world – not just in war, but other fields like sports, business, and law.


Image from MrLovenstein.

So we kinda wondered if this great general’s strategies apply to something as specific as avoiding kids on school holiday? Well… we looked up some of his advice and devised some battle tactics based on them. So here are eight selections of military advice from Sun Tzu, and how to apply them, starting with…



1. “All warfare is based on deception” – Sun Tzu

How it can be used:

1417061138_Sun-Tzu-Art-of-War copy-picsay

Thanks to our Asian parenting, most Malaysians have been brought up with a fear of authority figures like policemen. 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.


Here are some templates to get you started. Original images from

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 X-Men, fire that eyeball laser at them and watch as they quietly slink into submission (Source: writer’s mother was a teacher).


Educational Cyclops fires stern beams of shaddap. Image from


2.  “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness” –  Sun Tzu

How it can be used:


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.

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 by getting rid of the wifi connection.


Not sure if legal or not. Image from

Because jamming wifi signals and/or disabling other devices from joining the network might be illegal, we’re not going to elaborate on this further. Or put links that you can check out. Ahem.


3. “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles” – Sun Tzu

How it can be used:


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 crowd of chatty schoolkids.


Ugh. Image from

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

How it can be used:


Unedited image from

This one’s quite simple… just go back to your teenage years and think of three places you’ll never go to.

If it’s too far back for you to recall (cough), here are three that we got from some of the younger CILISOS writers:

  1. Healthy/organic/salad cafes – Kids are like ants.. if there ain’t sugar, they ain’t attracted.
  2. 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, a normal coffeeshop would be cheap but not nice to take selfies in. So bottom line is, avoid coffee chains in shopping malls.
  3. 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?

Nah. 3 in 1 salad book cafe. WIN! Click to link


Why did the govt hide the Lost World of Sabah for 50 years?

5.  “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” – Sun Tzu, maybe

How it can be used:

1417061777_suntzu (1)-picsay

Despite how counter-productive it might sound, one of the best places for you to hang out is 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.


Something like this. Image credit:

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

How it can be used:

1417062721_Sun-Tzu El arte de la Guerra wonalixia-picsay

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 have 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.


Image from


7.  “Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move” – Sun Tzu

How it can be used:


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.


Okay maybe not.

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.


Images like these, x3000. Image from

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

How it can be used:


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 or a moving bus.

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. 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.


Image from

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.

It doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

You might think this article is quite mengada but trust us, when you’re trying to relax after a hard day’s work and there are a bunch of noisy kids next to you, the best defense is a good offense.






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