Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Singapore an Education Hub. Really?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Singapore media, a government mouthpiece, claims Singapore to be education hub. That fact alone, should debunk their claim that Singapore is an education hub. The fact is, it is not. And it can never aspire to be one.

Education is supposed to make a person wise. This is obvious. To be wise is not just knowing facts and figures, history and geography, the sciences and the arts. To gain wisdom is to become a better human being. A human with a conscience. A man with a sense of right and wrong. That is the first purpose of an education. All the rest in sciences and facts and figures can come later. The primary purpose of a teacher or a parent is to instil integrity in a child. The virtues of scout's honor, integrity, courage and the need to speak the truth. In Singapore, both parents and teachers are afraid and unwilling to do this. Therefore there is no avenue for education in Singapore.

Teachers are afraid of their government. They teach their curriculum. Beyond this, they do no more. If there had been even one single brave student, angered at the treatment of Dr. Chee by the authorities, for instance, wanted to stage a sit in, he would be immediately dissuaded by the teacher. The teacher has to protect her job. If she permitted sit ins, Lee and his son, will have her terminated. The student will be told that protests of this nature are bad. Perhaps also told that Dr. Chee was a bad man. The student is told that the best thing is to mind his own business and work hard at his studies.

Parents are afraid of their government. They are afraid for their jobs. They must be seen to be towing the Lee Kuan Yew line. They are careful to see that their children do not think too much beyond their school syllabus. They are told by their parents just to concentrate on their school books, and not to think of such things as freedom of speech, which does not concern them. They are told that such things as thinking, should be left to Lee Kuan Yew and his son.

Almost all students from primary to tertiary education are not taught anything about their rights. They do not know that the country has such a thing as a constitution. When I was a boy and a young man in Singapore, I had no idea that such a document existed or what it meant. The teachers, the parents, the media and the government deliberately keep the students unaware of their rights or the lack of it.

We have had one or two generations who have been completely de-politicised. This de-politicisation continues to the next generation through the teachers and parents. In a situation like this children and students grow up with a set of book learning. Beyond that they have nothing more. They leave their schools trained only to do a particular job, their job, and nothing more. They have no desire to worry about whether they have their fundamental rights, like free speech. They may not even know what it is. What the Lee regime has done to is to deliberately educate students so narrowly that they only know what they learn. They have no aspirations for anything more, not to change society, not to advance anything, other than their daily bread and how to stay out of trouble.

Education should embolden people into seeking the truth. Otherwise it is pointless. A person who is afraid to publicly state the truth is not educated. It is wasted on him, if he was given one. The average Singaporean is not educated. If he was, he would be prepared to seek the truth.

Surely you can see this. There has not been a single protest or demonstration on the streets for many years, except for those recently organized by Dr. Chee. Are you saying then that everyone has had no complaint whatsoever for the last 40 years! Has everyone been living in a perfect society? The answer is that they are afraid to complain. For fear of their jobs, their careers and livelihood. Can you then call these people educated? Can they possibly educate their children?

Some Indonesians and Koreans are sending their children to Singapore for an education. I am sure that had they known the extent of education their children will receive, they will repatriate them on the next plane home. There are some students, mediocre mainly from India who attend Singapore universities. They are not the best students. The best will go to countries where they get a real education, like Australia. Where they will not be arrested and kicked out of university for protesting outside John Howard's office for taking Australia into Iraq.

We should ask Lee Kuan Yew and his son to stop the pipe dream of turning Singapore into an education hub. Parents and teachers in Singapore have not been "educated" in the true spirit of the word. How do they expect their children then to be educated. Forget the idea of turning it into an education hub. Try some other hub. In fact, I think it serves the few remaining thinking discerning parents in Singapore well to send their children abroad for an education. They will not get any in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, through the poor terrified miserable meek souls inside the classrooms who call themselves "teachers". A "teaching robot" will be no different.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, California 94538
Email: gopalnair@us-immigrationlaw.com
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I went to college in the US after suffering in the stifling Singapore education system. Students in Singapore are so soaked in the "don't ask" atmosphere that any attempt to discuss things outside of "bread-and-butter" issues was mocked as arrogance. My own parents would mock my idealism. Singaporeans think they can treat education as a purely money-churning enterprise. They think anything else would be a drag on efficiency. Well I think those crazy idealistic Americans across the pond will have the last laugh. No scientist ever invented something useful in order to earn money. They invent things because they are dreamers. All that talk of creativity in the classroom and whatnot is just bullshit as long as people are still afraid to have dreams.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and that was wonderful. It is happy to see that some one is observing the real facts and shows the courage to bring it up. In Singapore this type of scenario is not only in the case of education but also in other areas of life. When I landed in Singapore I had a notion that this is a developed country and a professional could come up in his career as well as in his life. But I soon realized that all was just a bull shit and every thing a show business .As an Indian I had to face many difficulties in company including extended working hours and mental torture. When we had to work two hour extra uneducated sheep from this country that are professionally incompetent were having greater pay and lesser working hours .But Ministry of Manpower (MOM) boasts that every one get equal opportunity there. Once an employee approach ministry of manpower for complaining against ill treatment he will be in trouble. One of my friends had this kind of worse experience in Singapore .When he approached M.O.M (ministry of manpower) for justice they straight away handed over him to police, later police handed over him to company owner and his paid thugs(can u believe that!). He was shut up in some closed building and was released only on the day of his flight. Later I came to know that this is usual practice for many employers in Singapore. I heard that if a foreign employee approached M.O.M immediately the news goes to the employer before any action have been taken and he will be framed for some bogus mistakes. As you mentioned the average education is below standard and all of them are like frog in well, thinking that they are the great. It is not possible to bring all the experience in this blog. Once an employee arrived in Singapore for construction or manufacturing job, employers will immediately confiscate the passport and keep with them. I can’t believe if MOM claims that they don’t know about this practice. Even if no one has complained about this practice (mainly because of fear) it is their duty to be aware of what is happening around and take necessary action. But I think they are also acting ignorant for the benefit of employers. In my opinion workers from other countries (especially from neighboring developing countries) are deprived of all their humanitarian rights and are made to work as slaves. Now they proudly announce that Singapore is turning from a labor centered economy in to international education hub!!!!(with this kind of attitude!!!) What bull shit is that?? We can find a better environment else where in Asia in the case of education or any thing. When I worked in Australia and Europe I never faced one percent of the problem what I faced in Singapore!!!!!!!!!!!.
I am surprised how they can boast to be international education hub and they claim that aims to be hub for knowledge and market intelligence on india(by singapore education minister)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!