dear singapore

By • Dec 16th, 2012 • Category: Lead Story

Dear Singapore,

I’m sorry but this lesbian of a Singaporean is staying put. Before your ego starts swelling, let me lay it all down for you.

I have many reasons to hate you.

Let’s start with the first – I’m the byproduct of a fucked up education system that treasures a good memory over practical intelligence. I topped every marketing project in school, I aced my Business Law examinations between parties and hangovers, and yet, I could not make it to be the top 5% in my polytechnic to enter a local university at a citizen-friendly rate. All because I chose to have a life beyond school. And admittedly, the complete lack of discipline. I could not afford to get a single warning letter to qualify to be the top 5%, and unfortunately I had incurred a significant amount of disciplinary warning letters. Significant enough to observe a progressive change in corporate identity in the three years.

But of course, I could have scoot off to London to study or something. I had a lovely invite from a top-notch university in London telling me I’ve made it through their doors. A natural choice if my parents weren’t hawkers toiling over 14 hours a day for the past 3 decades just to be able to call a miserable 3-bedroom HDB their home. I wasn’t prepared to send my parents to credit hell, and have the bank own their asses for the next decade to come.

The sense of self-entitlement running through the veins of the generation of today wasn’t a big thing then. I didn’t think it was my divine right to send my folks into debt for my fancy piece of paper. 300gsm or not.

Now comes the second – your warped concept of promoting culture in the same manner you run the country like a corporation. Listen, I get your need to run Singapore like a corporation. I understand Capitalism. I don’t have the Chihuahua syndrome – I’m very mindful of how small this country is compared to the world. But dude, you’re 47 years old. Cut yourself some slack. France had a couple of hundred of years to get to where they are now, for fucksakes. And a very self-indulgent king, if I may add. Instead of trying to find the next chest-beating headline of being “the world’s best whatever” or “Asia’s arts hub” with foreign arts shows to justify your minions’ salaries, maybe you should pay a little more attention to the locals? Or do we need to wait til we’re dead before you celebrate us?

I know you have KPIs, but culture is more than a half-page coverage on The Straits Times bragging about 100,000 visits to an art exhibition at Marina Bay Sands. Culture is more than a $300 ticket to a dance performance residents of River Valley and Sentosa Cove attend. Culture is certainly more than just a bunch of local artists struggling to fill in a fuckload of paperwork so that you can claim that you’ve given out $2 million dollars to them.

Yes perhaps at this point, I should state the obvious – my sexuality isn’t quite calibrated with my nationality. Financially, I can afford to pay the down payment for a typical brand new 3-bedroom HDB on my own right now. But I can’t, because I’m not thirty-five years of age yet, and I’m not about to marry a cock to do so. It is my entitlement you say, to buy a public housing (hence the name, I assume?) as a Singaporean, but get married or wait. How does that reconcile with you wanting us to be young budding entrepreneurs? Yes, Singapore, saying “Hi, I’m Pat, the CEO of the company you’re supposed to spend a million dollars with, and by the way, I live with my parents” is actually a little embarrassing.

I love children and I would like to have a couple on my own. But again, I’m not about to marry a cock to do so. I can’t have my children love a lie, and whilst its not scientifically proven, I’ve very sure by doing so, there is a chance my children will end up emotionally or psychologically screwed up.

Hi kids! By the way, your mummy doesn’t love Daddy that way. She just made use of him for his sperm so that she could have you both. Yes, go ahead and make use of people that way too! Marry for money and status but never love ok?

It’s not impossible for me to have children on my own (adoption, sperm bank, whatnot), but damn Singapore, you sure know how to make it hard for single mothers. In short, we pay the same rate for education and medical bills as a foreigner but yet if we have sons, they have to serve National Service? How are they Singaporeans if they are not given Singaporean privileges? I’m lucky I run my own business because I’m entitled to less maternity leave than a mother with a husband if I was an employee. Isn’t that a little ironic, Singapore? Don’t you think a single mother without a husband for support would need more maternity leave instead? Why can’t you reimburse companies for that one extra month of maternity for their single mum employees? Because you need more fireworks at the next National Day Parade?

So why am I staying put if I hate you so much, I hear you ask.

By circumstance, I was born a Singaporean. By choice, I shall remain a Singaporean. Like family, I didn’t choose you. Romantic as it sounds, it was Fate.  Like my parents, I know you’re not perfect, and yes, I have many things I find annoying about you, but above all, I know you love me unconditionally. And guess what? I love you unconditionally too.

I’ve never depended on you to make my life better, in the same way I didn’t expect my parents to be paying for my education in London. I do demand of you to keep my neighbourhood safe from robbery, murder and rape, but I don’t demand for you to pay for the rent of my gorgeous walk-up apartment. I don’t know, it sounds a little arrogant to me to make such a demand.

I’ve never depended on you for my high-flying career, so no, you may not take any credit for it, but I am thankful of the meritocracy system you’ve built this country upon. I don’t have royal blood so it’s nice when my promotion comes not because I’m who’s-who’s daughter, but because I’ve just singled-handedly launched a new product across 9 markets in Asia, exceeding billings by $500,000. I’m glad my dad didn’t need to pass any money under the table to ensure my career growth because god knows he hasn’t got any.

I laugh at your attempt to create culture, but I know you’re at least trying. Your need to brag about your efforts is off-putting but my local artists and I are too busy doing our own thing than to care how insecure you are. I like that you’re trying to reach out to us but surprise! Before you got here, we’ve already been earning a decent living from various international brands. Singapore, before you came along, the Americans, British, Japanese and Koreans have already been financially feeding us for our work. I trust you understand why you’re not about to get a friendly Singaporean-rate for our services. We need to respect the Americans, British, Japanese and Koreans who believed in us before you did.

You’re not the best to the gay community, but you’re not the worst either. I know you’re treading carefully in the Pacific Rim (sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun) amongst the more conservative countries, but I know you have my best interest at heart.  I’m as gay as it looks and I haven’t been gang raped by men thinking they should show me what I’m missing. Thank you for your Laws and keeping the streets safe. I haven’t been fired from any job for being out and about. Thank you for giving me a governing body that I could go to for any form of discrimination. I was once rejected of a job because my hair was too short, but that’s ok. I know it’d be difficult for you to govern ignorance and besides, I’m quite happy not to work for such an imbecile.

I could go on til my battery goes flat on why I’m staying put but I reckon it all boils down to this.

You’re my country. You’re responsible for me as I am responsible for you too. Protect me as I protect you for the next generation to come. You have a duty to me, as I have a duty to you too.

Because that’s what real patriotism is. It’s not selective. It’s certainly not about the person. It’s about the people.

It’s not about the 20 year old individual who somehow could find it in himself/ herself to whine about not being able to be himself/ herself in Singapore. I’m sorry but you’re just fucking 20 years old. And a bloody Singaporean. It’s a little hard to convince me of your motherfucking hardship living here in Singapore when you’re not even done growing pubes.

Meanwhile, I’m reading painfully about 15 million children dying of famine in Africa every year, innocent kids being shot by some teenager with access to guns in US, Chinese dissidents being jailed for criticizing their country’s polices (has it occurred to you the irony of your blog post about freedom of speech and that you’ve not been put away?), and an actual Bill that makes it ok to kill gays for being gay in Uganda.

Gotta love the self-inflicted first world problems created by these kids. I’m amused by how many they demand of their country, and offer nothing in return. Singapore, I think you screwed up with your parenting. Shouldn’t have told them they are the future of Singapore without saying the future depends on them too.

Singapore, I’m staying put for as long as I feel I can play a part for the future of our country. You will make mistakes like I will make mistakes too. But the love remains unconditional. This country is ours to build together. This country is ours to protect and to serve. We are Singapore. We are Singaporeans.

And I promise you I’d always try to help my country with action, before complaining and whining on your Facebook pages or on my blog.

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86 Responses »

  1. (y)

  2. Pat, GREAT article from an American looking to become Singaporean. Great stuff.

    You get it. I just wish more Singaporeans understood how lucky they are. Nothing is perfect but its just a question of choosing your compromises.

  3. You just put my sentiments into words. :)

  4. Hey, Pat Law. I have been amused, entertained, galvanised, moved, and impressed by your writing – all at the same time. You have my respect… (sincerely, from another offspring of a hawker family.)

  5. [...] – blankanvas: dear singapore [...]

  6. That last line summed everything up nicely. Thanks for your contribution to Singapore's intelligent discourse (rather than just name-calling and complaining).

  7. Nice work

  8. Def a good read.

  9. This is brilliant.. Kudos to you..

    I’m happy to see a fellow “true” Singaporean.. All the best to you..

  10. Well written. Respect.

  11. Thank you for penning this down, and for wanting to play your part in being a citizen of this country. I’m just so tired of reading angry rants from people who expect the Govt to lend a helping hand without putting in equivalent effort on their part or even bothering to change their situation. This place sure isn’t perfect but I hope more of us can be proud to call Singapore home.

  12. i’d marry a girl like you. lesbian or not.

  13. word

  14. Thanks, Pat Law…I’m coming up to a crossroad in my life & reading this means so much to me. It has re-affirmed some of my thoughts. Greatly appreciate this. :)

  15. Totally agree with you and would love to share this on my FB. But I'll prob be crucified by a fair number of my friends who refuse to believe their FWPs are self-inflicted :(
    Nevertheless, thanks for this well-written blog post!

  16. Sentiments exactly. Sometimes we lose trust and belief in our leaders but we should always believe in our country. For better or worse, we are tied to this land. I abhor all those who romanticise the fantasy of living elsewhere because they are clearly naive and petulant given their limited and laughable worldview. Every country has their own problems. Its better to work with what we have as we strive to break ground (hopefully) than to leave and become someone lost in transition.

    Though i am but a 23-year-old who has done nothing of worth yet. lol.

  17. Thank you for writing this brilliant piece.

    we are the country.

  18. [...] refreshing to hear someone say unabashedly that they see that they have something to give, something to do for singapore. a [...]

  19. Yea, you're not alone on this.

  20. Love the article! It’s not a perfect country, but too often, we hear too much of the bad and not enough of the good. Thanks for the great read.

    *snigger* pacific rim….

  21. I think no one is disputing the fact that Singapore remains one of the better places in the world to live in, no famine, no access to firearms. It is like you said, Singapore is “not the best,.., but…not the worst”.

    It is inevitable that some percentage of the population find that another country out there is more aligned with their personality/interest/culture, and wish to migrate there. It is the same in these other countries, that they too, have people leaving, to countries like Singapore.

    It is thus not quite right to insult anyone’s youth or their lack of pubes, for their mentality and their choice to decide which country suits them best, no matter the reason that they give. The lack of compelling reason (experiencing ‘hardship’ when they are living a comparatively good life here), is not the issue. As long as it is not a widespread mentality, such minor migrant movements and decisions of individuals are natural.

    It seems that you have not touched on the real issue here in Singapore; perhaps it is not the focus of your piece. The majority of Singaporeans (like me, even though I complain all the time), are fiercely proud to be Singaporeans, and we love our land.

    The real issue is, our love for our land is ridiculed by the ruling party’s love for money and anything foreign. Can you, Miss Pat, find a way to reconcile our love for our country and our marginalisation in our own country? Can we still love Singapore even though Singapore no longer loves us?

  22. http://youdonthavetoagree.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/letter-to-singapore/ is not singaporean. SHE INDONESIAN. duh.

  23. respect.

  24. Respect. thanks for the piece.

  25. "Marry for money and status but never love ok?" oh how many times I see this nowadays.

    "And I promise you I’d always try to help my country with action, before complaining and whining on your Facebook pages or on my blog." WORD. thank you

  26. Good writing. Didn’t know universities rejects folks on disciplinary issue.
    However, Singapore needs the diversity that you have naturally cultivated.

    Good stuph!

  27. You won't literally be crucified, so write and say what you believe in. It may even open up their minds.

  28. my fave line : "You’re my country. You’re responsible for me as I am responsible for you too. Protect me as I protect you for the next generation to come. You have a duty to me, as I have a duty to you too."

    *goosebumps*

  29. my fave line : "You’re my country. You’re responsible for me as I am responsible for you too. Protect me as I protect you for the next generation to come. You have a duty to me, as I have a duty to you too."

    *goosebumps*

  30. This was beautiful, thank you. I'm glad I read all the way to the end.

  31. This was beautiful, thank you. I'm glad I read all the way to the end.

  32. Very well written article, but did not generate much FB LIKES, i wonder why…

  33. WORD

  34. On the off chance that you are as intelligent you claim to be, it seems like your laziness was your undoing. You shouldn't blame the education system if you don't want to work hard. You need to have a good memory and good discipline if you want to do well in a university.
    Besides, I doubt a 'top-notch' university will accept you if you are rejected by all 3 universities in Singapore. If they accept a reject from all Singapore universities, it is quite evident that it is not a 'top-notch' university. Unless the 'university' is really desperate for your money.
    I'm sorry that you did not make it into a local university. You can make all the excuses you want, but the truth is that your university spot was given to someone who deserves it more than you. Perhaps you are not the academic type and will do much better in the working world. Good luck.

  35. I wonder why too…

    Maybecause Unbashing is not mainstream, not cool enough to gain likes? Hahaha..

  36. you sir, are fucking retarded. You might wanna consider checking out statistics from the various JCs offering IBs, and see how many students rejected by schools like NUS Law, Med and other courses have landed spots in Oxford, cambridge, yale and the likes.

    Don't talk like a renegade or rebel just for the fuck of it. You make yourself sound like a pompus dickwad.

  37. Curious that you would pick on a single minor point, one which is only peripheral to her statement, to loose three paragraphs of passive-aggressive criticism whose veiled arguments border on trolling. What exactly offended you about the article – assuming, of course, that you overcame your sense of offense sufficiently to read past that first point? (I could list a few things that will rub sensitive readers raw, but maybe you have something else in mind.)

  38. Beautiful.

  39. Preach on sista. The world needs more of you.

  40. Kenny Hubbahubbahubba Ng You sir, are completely missing the point. She's from a polytechnic, so she should have known that there's a low chance of her getting into a university by choosing that route. She's not from a JC offering IBs. She couldn't get into any local university, and not just NUS Law and Med. I don't believe that people who can land spots in Oxford/Cambridge can't secure spots in less-competitive courses in Singapore.

    She chose to go to a polytechnic, she knew the risks, and according to the article she chose to party instead of study. So instead of blaming the "fucked up education system", perhaps it's time to do some self-reflection.

    Besides, judging from your abusive language, you're the one talking like a punk.

  41. Most top-notch universities outside Singapore value the ability to think independently and creatively, as well as a well-rounded personality (eg. sociable, active in extracurricular activities, interested in global affairs, have a social conscience, etc) way over "good memory and good discipline." By your standards, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg would all have been Spore university rejects, but I guess if they were unlucky enough to be born there, they'd never have achieved what they have now.

    For your info, I spent my high school days going to pop concerts, reading martial arts and pulp romance novels and skiving off school to watch film noir and 6th generation movies from China. I still got into Oxford. I continued to make friends and have fun at college, and in my second year received a college prize as well as exhibition (equivalent to a scholarship) for my papers.

    Pat Law is a bright maverick whose attitude alone can give Spore the shakeup it needs. The fact that she didn't want to burden her parents to pay for expensive overseas education, and still went on to become a successful entrepreneur through her own efforts already serves as a role model to the pampered yet pressured young generation.

  42. Mendel Yap Wei Xuan you are an idiot.

  43. well written.

  44. Marcus Samuel Tan Yeah, an idiot.

  45. RESPECT.

  46. JC and Poly topic again… jerk from SMU?

  47. Focusing on a minor (if not completely unrelated) point of the article, disregarding the author's bigger message, to somehow attack her personal choices and character is not cool dude.

  48. >dont want to work hard
    You do realise she's angry about the fact why isn't the education system isn't encouraging us to THINK using INTELLIGENCE,instead of just doing rote-learning.She wants the education system to be more LOGICAL and CRITICAL-THINKING oriented rather than memorising notes and textbooks before you enter the working world and reality hits you and you realise that WORKING ISNT ABOUT MEMORISING.The point here is that our education system HARDLY prepares us for the working world at all.You're pretty misinformed aren't you?well now for something more personal,you seem like the cocky,stuck up pompous type,who thinks that going into a JC and university sets you for life.Quite typical really.If you haven't noticed ,your academics DO NOT RESERVE you a good job in the working world.Blah blah pardon my bad english im 17 and i suck.Just my personal view on this.

  49. Peng Hng Etsuko – I love it! Maybe he feels that because he entered a local university, he is a better person compared to others who did not make the cut and gained the right to pass judgement upon them – calling them unintelligent or lazy! :(

  50. Kenny, It's quite obvious that this fella is feeling pretty smug about being from a local U. Perhaps he forgot he's just one of the +- 24,000 local grads that S'pore mints out every year.

  51. Mendel Yap Wei Xuan You silly, silly person. Of course if I wanted to, I could have replied you in half-ass passive-aggressive manner very much like your comment. I'm choosing not to because quite frankly, I'm not a fan of pompous dickwads like you and I don't quite enjoy the whole passive-aggression business that you do. You might be into the whole mean-girls-esque "omg-i-like-you-so-much-but-no-I-actually-don't + roll-eyes", but I'm not.

    And of course the double irony of you actually using "missing the point," given that:
    1) you chose to harp on what is the smallest peripheral point of the entire article
    2) your comeback to my reply was actually "she's from poly she's not from a JC offering IB." Are you pretending to be retarded or are you ACTUALLY retarded. I mean, really?! The premise to your assertion that "I doubt a top uni will accept you" was the fact that local universities didn't accept her. My response to that was that "acceptance by local universities" is by no means whatsoever even a legitimate gauge of whether someone will be accepted by a top foreign college. THAT, my silly friend, is the point. IB and blah blahs were just examples used to substantiate my point. Your response is like, I'm trying to explain to you the fallacy "Cows are mammals, but not all mammals are cows." and you're just throwing a tantrum and screaming "BUT WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT COWS." THAT, my silly friend, is missing the point.

    And oh, you said "She's from a polytechnic, so she should have known that there's a low chance of her getting into a university by choosing that route." SEE? SEE? Do you actually even realize how retarded you sound right now? THAT, was EXACTLY the point she was making. The fact that the system is such that being from a polytechnic automatically disadvantages her is what's fucked up. The fact that grades are THE thing to qualify you for a spot in uni is what's fucked up. THAT exactly was the point she was trying to make that you completely missed and yet you…………… OH, the irony. 3 strikes and you're out.

    and oh last thing, given your own background and personal performance in SMU right now, good lord, HOW on earth did you ever ever get that unjustified air of arrogance?

  52. There are three disagreements I have with this article:

    1) “… but above all, I know you love me unconditionally. And guess what? I love you unconditionally too.”.

    That’s completely nebulous, and my experience with Singapore is pretty far from this description. But then again, I’m not Chinese, nor female. I grew up feeling happy & proud to be half Singaporean – unconditionally. Then came the conditions from above: you must serve in the army, with requirements until age 40. You must renounce your other citizenship. You will always be viewed as an ang-mo outsider, regardless. If you disagree, you will go to jail. Or if you leave, you’ll never come home to see your family ever again… You exist in the shadow of your forebearers. That’s not “unconditional love”. That’s a manipulative relationship dictated by the state.

    2) “… that’s what real patriotism is. It’s not selective. It’s certainly not about the person. It’s about the people.”

    This is true, but that doesn’t mean that patriotism/nationalism is inherently inclusive, either. Those who are marginalized by that society – for instance, the gay community, the opposition politicians, or those who disagree with conscription, corporal/capital punishment, etc, – will always be made to feel ‘guilty’ for not agreeing with the majority. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Blame the ’others’ for not being patriotic. Couldn’t it be argued that you yourself are, in fact, being unpatriotic by “choosing” to be gay, thereby contravening the stated goals of the Ministry of Social and Family Development and their definition of “the family unit” and the gay “lifestyle”? Wasn’t last National Day marked by a ridiculous music video about having sex to make babies as a civic duty or something like this? Also – if you try and raise awareness of gay rights, aren’t you technically a subversive according to current laws? My mistake: these particular laws “aren’t enforced”… unless it comes down to whether a speech or gathering is granted a permit by the police. Is this current environment really worth sacrificing so much for? As someone who values individual autonomy highly, I do not believe so. I am not willing to take up arms for a country that does not afford you the equal protection and rights you deserve as a human being. Plain & simple. Does that make me unpatriotic?

    3) “I’m staying put for as long as I feel I can play a part for the future of our country.”

    I am reminded of the quote, ““Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start”. That’s what, due to Singapore’s environment, I was compelled to do. And I have been able to grow from that difficult decision – like a plant, moving from a safe flower pot to a spacious (albeit more dangerous) garden. It is typical to view other’s criticism as “complaining and whining”, as you’ve written, but I think the bulk of your article is full of sound criticisms against Singapore’s current culture and social environment. Others (not me) might dismiss your criticisms as the irrelevant grumbling of a sexual minority. At certain point, in an unchanging environment, it might be worth asking yourself, “Why stay? Who and what do I really owe?”. You only have one life, and to spend it wondering “What if?” is not a healthy thing. “How far can my talent & education go?”, “What if I could start a family, find love, and have a legally recognized marriage elsewhere?”, “What if I could adopt children without living a lie?”. These are all intensely personal questions, and my apologies for bringing them up. I just feel that success and happiness elsewhere is also a big statement one can make at this point in time to hasten change in Singapore, if that’s what one desires. Singaporeans who chose to stay put need to make the best of things, and strive for change, for sure. But they should NOT jeer those other Singaporeans who recognize how short life is, and are willing to escape the bullshit in order to live a fulfilled & happy life on their own terms.

  53. @Mendel Yap, I think you missed the point entirely. You obviously can't discern between sarcasm and the poignant points she wanted to make. Instead of getting the essence of the posting – "no matter how fucked up the system is and where you come from, you still can likewise succeed by your own means and definition", you chose to focus on the minutiae. Seriously, take a chill pill, get out there, breathe some fresh air and get off your high horse. Stop missing the forest for the trees. I wonder how you ever survived your AS modules.

  54. OMG..this is dam good speech bro! I fully whole heartedly support whatever u said..I Wong go ard marrying a dick to get a house..I and my gf is gg overseas and getting married so stupid Singapore is not gonna earn alot of money instead losing to other countries(:

  55. RESPECT AND SALUTE!those tat says he's like a retard pls man u dun look good yourself.. u are just jealous of her able to express what ppl wanna say and hear which is majority idiot. HAHAHA the @kenny hubabababa ng whatever shit man..shut the fuck up man..

  56. U guys are idiots asshole that feels jealous over ppl tat have freedom of speech..HAHAHA whoever says tat she's retarded is absolutely retards yourself.. OMG cannot believe tat guys is actually getting jealous over this..I also won't marry a dick to buy flat HAHAHA I read all this comments makes me laugh so loud.. no wonder not many gals now wanna be with sisi with dicks.. lesbians always have those beautiful and Secy gals…argh…

  57. Especially the guys dunno what names…Kenny hubabababa ng whatever shit.. he's a retard.. pardon me guys I just really disagree with his cock comments(:

  58. Awesome, having lived on & off in Singapore for 10-15 years this is really what it's about. Well said

  59. Kimo, you might want to check who was Kenny replying to. He was actually replying to someone who had misunderstood the posting, not Pat. And for the record, read the 'he' and 'she' properly.

  60. @Mendel… perhaps it's time you do some self-reflection before you become another one of those "Why am I not hired? I have a high GPA!!" type of people. SMU is like a elitist bubble, don't get sucked into it too much.. or awake hard once you graduate.

  61. Alright.. Thanks (: so he's actually replying to the mendel guy? (:

  62. Kimo Relzy – Yes. He was not flaming Pat/the author/the lesbian we all love as much as you.

  63. @Benjamin loh Thanks(:

  64. Kimo Relzy o_O okay…………. I'm afraid you're terribly, terribly mistaken. You're looking at a thread in response to Mendel Yap Wei Xuan's groundless and inflammatory comments about Pat Law. I think the vast majority of posters here acknowledges what Pat says…?

    good lord, why am i even explaining this

  65. Ya @Kenny bababa ng ya I know I mistaken u alrd.. (: Benjamin loh explained tat to me chill man(:

  66. whoa. that was excessive

  67. HAHAHA HAHAHA yea man! (: I love lesbians as I'm a les myself(: always stands up for them(: Thanks guys btw

  68. I agree with the general stand of the article. I think it is really positive and as Singaporeans we need to learn from it. But I commented because I didn't agree with the first point she made. That the education system is "fucked up". I chose to pick on that point because it's a common misconception, especially among those that don't even try to apply for local universities because they think that their grades are too lousy.

    Is the education system really as bad as you say it is? There are a few things that you are putting forward that aren't exactly fair.
    1) You don't need to be intelligent to excel in your studies. Memorizing the whole textbook definitely won't get you straight As. You, like many others, might think that you are extremely intelligent but just cannot do well in examinations. So you claim that intelligence is not required to do well in examinations. I understand the the need to believe so, although it is misguided. Intelligence does not guarantee you an A. Intelligence combined with hard work, creativity,good memory and good character will get you good grades, be it in a polytechnic or a JC. You might disagree and think that intelligence and creativity should be the main criteria, but I believe a good memory and character are also important aspects in order to excel in your workplace or university. I think the education system is screwed up the day they force everyone to take IQ tests and judge people solely on that.
    2) The universities admission criteria is totally screwed up because they only look at your grades. There are discretionary admissions in every course in Singapore that has a lower grade benchmark for people that excel in other areas of life. They reserve those slots and many of my friends who didn't do well academically managed to get through because of other achievements. Grades isn't the only determining factor. SMU also interviews most of its applicants and looks at things like eloquence, clarity of thought and character. So I think it is unfair to criticize our local universities for not looking at things other than grades.
    3) Universities overseas demand lower grades than Singapore universities. True, but only to a certain extent. They also require good grades, although many might be lower than ours despite having an equal international standing. Setting a higher benchmark than universities overseas will improve the standing of our local universities. However, there are plans to expand our universities and lower the benchmark to allow more of the population to enter universities.

    I just disagree with the way she criticized the education system. She's saying, like many others, that she's brilliant and the system is screwed up to not recognize that. Yes, she really might be brilliant, but having a personal vendetta just because you didn't make the cut will only make your view overly-biased. Like I said, there are now many platforms to demonstrate your non-academic brilliance to the universities. But a proper balance needs to be attained. Having too many non-academically brilliant people in a university might lower the quality of the university. After all, how can you differentiate charlatans and the non-academically brilliant people? There is no accurate measure of this and it is still more practical to still depend largely on grades.
    Criticisms are necessary in order to improve the education system, but too many extreme criticisms will actually do the opposite. I fear that the government will cave in to populist sentiments, which tends to be overly critical, and enact a complete overhaul of the system. The system still has its merits.

    Besides, I would like to repeat again that I do not disagree with the main points of her article. I just disagree with her overly-critical view of the education system which might spread if left unaddressed.

  69. OK..now it sounds more sensible serious..guess it's a misconceptions dude(: I get ur point(: @Mendel

  70. Mendel Yap Wei Xuan just FYI, your original comment and its contents were not even remotely close in intent nor tone to your latest post. While it might or might not have been your intention, regardless the first post was a noxious mix of personal attack, fallacious arguments and arrogance.

    Had you started off with an objective and balanced comment quite like your latest one, I think any reasonable person would be hard pressed to find fault with it. just sayin

  71. I am not extremely intelligent.I of anyone else should know that.And firstly,I never said you grades are PURE memorization.It's MORE of memorization,not purely.Sure,you definitely have to be logical and smart to do subjects like math.Also,before you say that I dislike the education system – I don't really dislike it , It's more of how simplified it is that people can just "mug" and get good grades.They hardly have to think.On more than a couple of occasions I have scored better than the top grades in my class from not studying at all.Is it because Im intelligent?No.It's because i actually UNDERSTAND the content and not "face book and study".But Singapore's Education system is so plain it just requires you to just do that. For example – For O Level's Humanities subjects, we are given a format on how to answer questions,we are told we MUST use the said format to answer questions in the O Levels.Strangely,one of my teachers admitted that it was not the Cambridge markers who came up with this,it was Singapore that standardized it.They said that the markers themselves complained once ,absolutely astounded formats were created for students all over Singapore.Note the word "complain", they were really against it,but we continued anyway.They created a format and just let us fill in the blanks from memorization.We arent even required to think about how we want to format our essay answers.Also,I must add,I was feeling rather rebellious during the O's.I did not follow the format, handed it up, got an A.Well,of course,I had to study for it to get actual content,but definitely less than others – I only got a tutor 1 month before and actually started studying then. Im not saying singapore's education system is bad – I recognize it as one of the top systems in the world as compared to other countries.But what im saying here (FINALLY THE CONCLUSION!) The system is way too RIGID.Everything is RIGID and BORING,because of the fact of how non-thinking oriented it is.Currently studying in a private academy, and was studying in a Polytechnic before,and I can tell you how much more interesting and work-oriented it is as compared to before.Again,I apologize if my english is bad

  72. By the way,might want to look up on Dunning-Kruger effect,you're probably a victim of it.And if you say I might be the one suffering from it,I can assure you I'm not because I always place myself at the lowest and be humble in my arguments.Just my point of view~

  73. Mendel Yap Wei Xuan The fact you dismissed Kenny saying he had abusive language so quickly and keep this facade of intelligence and superiority,I'll probably say you are pretty insecure about yourself aren't you?If you were firm on your point,you would have probably clarified his doubts.Secondly,that just shows how much of a superiority complex you have,you act all high and all,but you lack substance.Should really look up Dunning-Kruger effect.

  74. Kenny Hubbahubbahubba Ng I still stand by my view that top universities in the UK probably won't accept a reject from all 3 Singapore universities though. I have seen many apply before and got rejected straight without an interview despite outstanding cca results because of a single B/C. Of course, it depends on how broad is your definition of 'top universities'.
    I don't know, but I believe the Singapore admission system isn't that screwed up to reject an Oxford/Cambridge graduate. Maybe Law/Med courses will reject Oxford graduates because of the difficulty of differentiating people at the top. There are many interviews to Law/Med and people with straight As don't necessarily get in. You might still get into good or decent universities in UK/US because of the lower entrance criteria

    And @Peng Hng. Of course, I know that having a good gpa won't guarantee you anything. I know that, and most graduates or undergraduates know that. You need the 'whole package' to succeed. But what the 'whole package' is will never truly be agreed on. Different jobs require different personalities and way of thinking.
    About the rigidity of the system, I believe it's mostly the teachers who are guilty of it. They tend to fall into regular patterns of teaching. Personally I disagree with it, although it does produce results. However, there are teachers out there that teach creatively, such as my GP teacher in JC. He encouraged discussions in class and taught us to think critically. He gave us the freedom to choose our own formats and drilled grammar into us by correcting us immediately when we speak up. But not all teachers can be like him. It's going to be difficult to change this part of the system, as you really need to change and retrain the teachers. After all, many teachers think rigidity also has its own merits.

  75. Peng Hng Etsuko Lol I disregarded his abusive language because being abusive doesn't get you anywhere. I didn't dismiss his points, I disagreed with it and gave reasons as to why I disagreed with it. I was firm on my point and will clarify his doubts, although I don't have all the time in the world to do that.
    I don't act high and mighty, I'm trying to adopt an objective approach by not condescending to throwing vulgarities and insults.
    Yes I'm insecure, as I believe we all are to a certain extent. Everyone has their insecurities, so what's your point?

  76. Mendel Yap Wei Xuan Point being don't state something if youre so insecure about it,and don't talk so highly and overly confident about something you don't know about.Let's just make this a friendly discussion.However your previous statements were rather condescending and came off as rude,which is why everyone was so against it.

  77. Hi Mendal: I did not graduate from one of our "local" universities in fact I studied part time to get my degree while I was working. However I am now the senior Vice President of a public listed company that has 4600 employees.

  78. Exactly the words we need in a generation of increasingly-pampered and demanding young Singaporeans. Wonderfully written. We don't choose family, but we choose either to stick by them or abandon them.

  79. I would disagree with Mendel too. But I don't disagree with his disagreement. Let's put it this way, our education system is definitely NOT perfect. The use of standardised tests that are based on but a few modes of intelligence assessment definitely will NOT be able to fairly assess the strengths of every individual. I don't believe there could be a perfect mainstream system so there will ultimately be those who benefit from it and those who don't. I agree with Pat's points but for Mendel, who probably benefited from this system, his perspective of this matter would certainly differ. I think what should be debated about is whether our education system offers sufficient alternatives for people like Pat, who are intelligent in their own way (she sure sounds intelligent by what she claims to have achieved) yet are passed over by mainstream educational institutions due to limited capabilities in assessment.I would say that Mendel, who does not seem to struggle with that, would not be able to fully comprehend the exasperation of those who feel the need to conform to certain molds in order to pursue higher education. After all, isn't education supposed to be for all regardless if one is a hardworking type or the intelligent party-goer type? I guess the issue really isn't about how our mainstream system should be but what alternatives and how accessible those alternatives are. For Pat, those alternatives did not seem available or even if they did, they came at a high cost. I agree with that and I would perceive such limitations as those of our education system. For someone who did not go through such an experience (I'm assuming Mendel did not), he would certainly not be able to fully comprehend the point Pat was making. I'd sum up my point here that as a whole, our education is definitely lacking. Apart from rigid mainstream systems that do not fully assess the full range of intelligence, our peripheral systems are also not in place to support the learning needs of those who do not fit the requirements of mainstream systems.

  80. Love this. Love your attitude.

  81. Everyone's entitled to their opinions but I personally wouldn't call someone a motherfucker for being 20 years old and being jaded about Singapore.

  82. Word. Thanks for a mature take on the whole i love / hate Singapore debate. Before Singaporeans complain, maybe they should ask themselves what they have done to make things better.

  83. Some of the comments are hilarious though, had me in stitches!

  84. That was amazing. Respect to you, my friend.

  85. Youri Ivan Koh I saw some funny ones, but in stitches.. that's lol

  86. But then on the other hand, the system is kinda implemented already as our government started out. I think citizens should love their own country. For the first point, most countries have their own set of requirements for citizenship, and it is simply that Singapore's are stricter. There is a need, after all, to maintain a very legal-based system in Singapore. If a certain law needs to be challenged but has not been touched yet, it is either because there is a need for the law or some kind of other reasons. People need to be active and challenge/fight for what they think is right.
    For point 2, loving the people is not loving the government or any other stunts they pull (although I do agree it is for the perceived good of Singapore). Going against the laws must be sufficiently justified. the nation is shaped by the people right? If people agree to a certain concept then the nation will change too! We take up arms to protect our family, not for the government or any other system or whatnot. And for those publicity stunts, I think most people try to fit the system (Baby bonus = money) but we also have brains to decide what is right or wrong, self-serving or not.
    I agree with the last point though. There are some people who really just want to get away from Singapore and be free. Apparently our culture is very oppressive for most. :D

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