Friday, June 1, 2007

Singapore, Lee's First World Country denies it's children an education!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lee as you know daily tells us Singapore is a first world country. We are told everyday by the State Controlled press that Singapore's economy is improving, the foreign reserves are swelling at the brim, the infra structure is being improved, the MRT is the best in the world, so is the airport, the people have become the second richest in Asia after Japan. In other words, according to him, and his state controlled press, Singapore is wallowing in money, more money than they know what to do with. According to him, we should all be happy and contented since Lee has taken so good care of us, but instead he has found Singaporeans to be ungrateful for emigrating from Singapore in record numbers, in spite of the good life that he claims he has given us!

One of those who are unhappy with Lee, despite all that Lee claims that he has done for the people, which is a whole load of hogwash, is See Chee Wee. See had written to the Straits Times, May 29, 2007 "A B and E but no place in local universities"bitterly hurt with Lee's paradise because the government refuses to give See's daughter an education. Now imagine that. Singapore which claims to have the second highest standard of living in Asia, with huge financial reserves, refuses to provide education to his child.

The facts are these. Mr. See's daughter had passed the A Levels with grades A, B, C (General Paper) and an E. She is also and excellent sportswoman. Good grades all around. But most importantly, she passed her A Levels. She is therefore entitled, as of right, to go to University, by virtue of her passing. But it appears that her application to all the universities were refused allegedly because there was no space available!

My questions to Lee and his first world government are these? Do you not have a duty to provide an education to your children, since you claim that you are first world and you have more money than you know what to do with? Is the provision of education not your legal responsibility and obligation? If there are not enough college places, is that not strange for a country with so much money and resources? Should you not start building more colleges immediately to educate the daughter of Mr. See immediately? In any case, why was this not done before?

And the fundamental point is this. Mr. See's daughter has passed, and that alone is reason enough for the government to have to provide her a place at college. It is not a case of discretion here. Her passing entitles her a place in college. Repeat, she has passed. She need not have got the excellent grades that she in fact received. It is sufficient that she passed. It is her right to receive a tertiary education. What sort of a government are you, when you deny your children an education, in spite of the fact that you can financially afford to provide the college places for her.

And what is worse is this. Mr. See and his daughter are Singaporeans. They should have the first right, first before any foreigner to be educated. Yet we notice that you not only provide places in Singapore colleges for foreigners, you dish out hundreds of scholarships for foreigners, while you deny a Singaporean like See's daughter, a place in college, even though she has passed!

And when you behave with such cruelty and disregard to your own people, are you surprised that thousands of Singaporeans from your paradise island are leaving your country in disgust never to look back.

I feel very sorry for Mr. See's daughter. I think most people reading his letter would say this refusal to provide her an education is outrageous. Totally unacceptable.

I do not know what goes on in the heads of Lee and his multi million dollar ministers, but I will say this. See's daughter has done well. She has passed. She deserves a place in college. Not referring to her case, let me say this. Children develop at different levels at different times. A child who had been slow in education when young would perhaps change when older. What matters is the child's desire and ambition. A country would do well when it recognizes a child's aspirations and helps the child to achieve it.

Mr. See's daughter may want to be a helicopter pilot. A scuba diver. An anthropologist. A whatever. It is the duty of the government to help the child achieve these aspirations. If a child was a weak student when young, you give the child another chance. A hundred chances. A thousand chances! That way everyone becomes what they want they want to be. Instead Lee Kuan Yew and his government feel that only a child who consistently does well should have tertiary education. If the child fails when young, either through mischief or frivolity, the child should be condemned to not receiving a tertiary education. This is the thinking of these so called million dollar ministers!

Mr. See's daughter may have great aspirations. She may want to be a brain doctor, a scientist or an astronaut. And I am sure she will if she puts her heart to it. But she must be given a chance. She may not have done as well as she wanted, but the fact is, she has passed. What more do you want! In any case, there should be no reason why she would not be the top student of her class, if she is given a chance in university this year. What right do you have to condemn her to mediocrity just because she has not done as well as expected. She has passed for Heaven's sake!

And Lee's government in refusing to provide an education to her seems even more disgusting, more cruel, even criminal, because Singapore is financially able to provide that education. According to them, they can afford to pay their Ministers millions of dollars and their government reserves have more money than any other country in the region.

In Europe, country like Germany pay their students to study, resulting in Germans spending many years in education, enabling their countries to retain their best. This is because the Germans love their country for what it does for them, and when they are educated, they remain in Germany doing their best for their country. Germans love their country because their country loves them. In Singapore it is the exact opposite. The government has no interest in educating their children and their children instead hate their government. In a recent survey in Singapore, as many as 47% of young people said they would emigrate if given a chance.

I do not think Mr. See should take thing lying down. I think he should stand up and go the Ministry of Education in Kay Siang Road and demand that his daughter be given a place forthwith and refuse to leave unless he receives a satisfactory answer.

Dr. Chee and others should assemble sufficient good parents and children and protest publicly that this crass disregard of their children's interests has to stop immediately.

And someone should tell these Million dollar ministers a simple truth. Children are not machines. They cannot be programmed to consistently get high scores in school all the time. Not being machines, we sometimes do well, sometimes not so well. So everyone should be given a chance to catch up, not only when they are young but even in later part of their lives. A man might be merely a mechanic but in his 30s, he may want to go to university to become an engineer. And why not? He may turn out to be the best engineer the country had ever produced.

In a way, Lee and his PAP are doing the opposition a great deal of good. They keep shooting themselves in the foot every time by these heartless cruel policies which consistently tend to push more and more Singaporeans to hate their government. So perhaps, in the not too distant future, resulting from their penchant for self destruction, perhaps the people will revolt after all. Well we can only hope so.

Please read my related posting in this blog "Singapore. The art of keeping people subservient" Dec 29, 2006.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914


Anonymous said...

I realized sometimes you speak blindly ! For example

"In a recent survey in Singapore, as many as 47% of young people said they would emigrate if given a chance.",
Since the press that survey is gov controlled as well, you should have mentioned 47 X 2 = 94% want to leave. The six percent comprise of Lee's relative, offspring, cronies, prata presidents, elite, scholars, etc.

Please do report the truth rather than the truth by ST.

ST always tell lies, and we know better to reverse everything ST say is the truth !

If they are the truth, it will not be called ST (Shit Truth)

Thought Provoker said...

You have been away for quite some time and I thought you would like to know that the MOE has relocated to Buona Vista (map) a few years ago. The building at Kay Siang Road was initially used by Temasek Polytechnic temporarily before the ill-fated UNSWA used it as its initial campus.

Thank you and all the best.

Anonymous said...


For the first minute while I read your blog post, I was nodding my head in agreement at what I thought was a show of sarcasm. And then it hit me - you were actually being serious.

Well, I do agree with many of your points. Singapore could, and SHOULD indeed, spend much more on education than it has - setting up new universities and schools so that in the future, no one is denied a place, is an excellent idea. And granted, too, there aren't enough ready opportunities for midlifers who have never had the chance, to enter into a tertiary education. That is something that should be improved too.

However, one fundamental argument in your post is flawed. Just passing her A levels does NOT give Mr See's daughter the right to enter university. Of course, entrance into all universities in Singapore, I believe, requires that one has two (or more) A level credits, with the additional AO credits, etc etc. However, that does not mean that ALL who meet that requirement automatically are ensured a place. That is, in logical terms, everyone who ever enters a Singaporean university requires at least these grades; but not everyone who obtains such grades is automatically granted a place. To equivocate both would be to commit a serious mistake.

Furthermore, the very idea that just obtaining a passing mark in the A's is enough to ensure a university place reduces the entire idea of a junior college education to nothing more than a stepping stone to university. Of course, I might be off the mark about your views here, but that's how I take it. I think it's much more than that - it's a place where a myriad of lifeskills and also, content-based lessons, are transferred to students. To imply that A's are just a stepping stone is just to stereotype JC education - something that you have asked the government not to do to students.

To my knowledge, a grade of E, E and E (A levels) and perhaps C (AO levels) would be a passing grade, too. Now my question is: would you also argue so hard for See's daughter (and indeed, would he have) if she had gotten these grades?

All things said, though, as I mentioned, I agree with you that more universities could be built, and more chances could be given. But right now, with the limited supply of places? I'm afraid I can't agree with you that just passing alone entitles her to it. An American kid might pass his SATs, and all, and be refused a place at Harvard because his grades didn't meet the mark. You, and the whole world, would agree with this. So why the whole hoo-ha? See's daughter might not have met the mark. And yet the American kid gets to go to some other college not of his first choice. Now THAT is because they've got enough colleges, and we don't. THAT, and not some mistaken view about her entitlement to tertiary education solely because of her passing grades, is what we want to quabble about.


Gopalan Nair said...

Hello Anonymous,

The fact that after writing such a detailed and reasoned repsonse to my post, you wish to remain "anonymous", does explain a lot! In any case, I think most parents and students in the rest of the world would probably not agree with you, especially in the light of the fact that Singapore Government pays its ministers millions of dollars and they claim to have one of the highest financial reservers in the world! However, that is your opinion, wishing to remain "anonymous", and it will be published.

Thanks you.

Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

spore is really singapore inc. it is run as an economic entity first and foremost and all other dimensions are secondary.

in the case of education, the govt must get a return from its investment and it therefore wants the best to enter its universities. which is why sporeans now have to compete with highly qualified foreigners for uni places.

and it's not just about uni admission. the type of courses offered is also determined with the economic benefit in mind. so those liberal arts courses which train and challenge students to analyse and critique issues, question morality, ethics, values and other human qualities are not given much funding.

and i need to remain anonymous, of course, because i've not made it to america!

Gopalan Nair said...

Dear Anonymous,

What you have said is true. Going by your writing, you are a person with some ability. I have no doubt that you can make it to America or anywhere else if you wanted to.

Thank you.
Gopalan Nair