Tuesday, May 3, 2011

These Spurs We Don't Need

Yesterday Ng Eng Hen told the PAP crowd, some of which were fed and bussed there by RC activists, that the education sector takes a long time to build and is "not amenable to sloganeering or quick fixes." He was obviously trying to "fix" SDP's plans for the educational system. Trouble is, his credibility is jaundiced by one of the first pronouncements made earlier in his ministerial career, challenging the prescient findings of academics that more new jobs created had gone to foreigners instead of local born and bred.

We don't know who he interviewed, but the parents he claims "appreciate the competition from foreign students", despite concerns that they making school life miserable for their own wards must have answered under duress, mouthing the politically correct reply on cue. When the pupils themselves were asked whether they were scared of the competition, they kept quiet. Kids are less intimidated. You know the minister is stretching the truth again when he said the kids told him the foreigners spur them to work harder.

School teachers and principals, like the disgraced Dr Ong of ACS(I), spent large sums of taxpayers' monies to traverse the length and breadth of the Middle Kingdom to pick and import in these "spurs". They are provided free tuition, books, board and lodging, plus pocket money of the order of $400 a month, when there are scores of Singaporeans who can't stay back for remedial lessons don't have lunch money. Why not spend these money, our money, on Singaporean kids instead? Invest in our own, who will be serving NS to defend our country, instead of the foreigners who openly abuse our system as a springboard for greener pastures. Prepare the young to compete, yes, but on foreign shores, in the international market. Our 720 sq km is just too small for a battleground - let's hope our desktop generals know that much.

There was a letter to the press a few months back, lamenting that someone who had A,B(H2) and E(H1) grades could not gain admission to a local university. Parents are mortgaging or downgrading their houses, scaling back their non-Swiss standard of living, in order to send their kids abroad for the important university degree, while precious places are given away generously to foreigners. Ng claims foreigners make up less than 10 per cent of the enrolment in primary and secondary schools, and about 20% in universities. He justified the latter larger number by quoting "benefits from foreign inputs in research." What the fish is that? Even he must have sensed his words will not be believed so easily this time, hence he added the qualifier, "There's a trade-off. We have to calibrate it." Yeah, just like the way "population czar" Wong Kan Seng calibrated the influx of foreigners to squeeze out the natives.

Okay, Mr Tan Jee Say, we need you in parliament to push through your plans for a more equitable solution for our educational system.


  1. The potentially sad outcome is that good people like Tan Jee Say may not make it to parliament while the Kate Spade girl made it through the back door of the GRC.

  2. My son had to go to Australia to get a degree and in the meantime we are feeding and housing foreigners. This is one country where the govt doesn't care about its people. We have to vote the hen out.

  3. The MOE is giving scholarships to new citizens (ex PRCs) to study Chinese Studies, very ironic right? Of course they will pay hands down our locals in this aspect. Tell me who will welcome the unfair competition. And it is very obvious that the PRCs will take up citizenship for the money, it also pays for annual visits to China. Life has never been better for foreigners in S'pore

  4. All you need to do is go to the speeches archived on the MOE website to see how often quick fixes are implemented. The JC/Upper Secondary Education Review took 6 months and implementation took just one year after that. We can do many things very very quickly; whether they are wise or not, only time will tell. In some cases, time has already told.

  5. Mind you. Not just the students. The local Singaporean academia have been facing the same situation. They are not given the tenure and ask to retire early and yet those foreigners are given the tenure. Many of those local academia are as good as if not better than the foreign ones. Those have to go are surely not in the inner circle. The local institutions have done this to get high ranking.

    When political power is successfully changed, it will be the time to open the book to investigate for social justice.

  6. @Anon 12:16,

    If MM Lee still controls 2/3 seats after this election, he may well tinker with the current 1-person-1-vote system. The current winner-takes-all GRC system is very unstable. Any further tinkering will only make it worse.

  7. I think that A, B and E was a combination that would allow one to get into a local university in the past back in 1997, but things have CHANGED SO MUCH such that we have been hoodwinked into this idea that a degree means you can advance up the social ladder. But there are also jobless PhDs in Singapore, whether or not we like to admit it, and there is something very flawed with our system essentially to eject our own talents en masse and to import so many foreigners(a large part of whom might not even be that "talented" or qualified). Until the government can redress its own policies handed down over the last decade, I seriously think we are going to be in this serious tunnel vision that will only shortchange itself.

  8. When our PAP leaders lied to us that foreigners are needed to provide jobs for locals, maybe it would have been more convincing if they had explained that new immigrants are needed to provide the additional precious vote to counter the rising tide of Singaporeans' discontentment and anger towards PAP. They must have seen it coming.

    But what kind of foreign talent is it when the majority of such new Indian/PRC/Filipino immigrants ended up working as NTUC cashiers, DBS Bank Tellers, Singtel Customer Service Officer, Hospital nurses, etc, etc.

    Has our PAP leaders even bothered to explain why there are so many new immigrants ended working in such jobs ? And for example how many DBS Bank teller jobs are newly created for Singaporeans in the process ?

  9. @ Alan Wong, I agree with you for the most part, considering the hard hand that the incumbent PAP party is meting out on its citizens, with all these various amendments of boundaries so as to guarantee their maximum chances of winning an election every time, as well as all the gerrymandering of votes by techniques such as carrots (upgrading, economic progress etc.), and also candies (Growth and Share packages and anything that falls within that category). I do notice though that Singaporeans, aside from those who are indeed concerned with the sentiments on the ground and want life to improve without any bad policymaking by PAP, do exist, there are ALSO apathetic or uninformed Singaporeans who are actually of that opinion that PAP has made Singapore so gloriously good compared to its neighbours. It's disturbing especially that when given a choice between shopping for Kate Spade shoes and boutique clothes, and reading up more simply on politics and formulating how to evaluate policies for themselves aside from the mainstream media's "persuasion", many Singaporeans--especially the girls in their 20's and 30's--are more fixated with that. As I read from a poster here before, Somerset Maugham--a British author-- said something like this before: ""If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom;
    and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." This is very true, much like the Biblical parable of the talent: the man who does not even know how to develop that coin/talent, and use it well, and hordes it for himself, loses even it in the end and whatever else he has. I hope and pray that Singaporeans will not end up in that situation where one day, they will not just only lose their belongings and their assets, but even all that stood dear to them. The stakes are too high here, because the FT policy is now eroding our country's inherent national identity, and ministers among the incumbent have been making efforts to say that Singapore is "not a nation" but a "work in progress". That is tantamount to saying that they can mould our national identities as and when they please, according to their whims, when it is not true at all.

  10. If your kids cannot get into local Uni, I tell you better you uproot the whole family and go to Australia. Get your kids to study in their ITE (TAFE) and focus on the mining and natural resources industries. That's where the money is for the next 20 years. Bloomberg already reported that 20-yr-old ITE grads in Oz are earning AUD200K a year in the mining industry, and still going higher.

    Even if you have to become blue-collar worker, drive bus or drive garbage truck, your next generation will be much better off. As a blue-collar worker, you will still be able to afford a freehold landed property in the suburbs and buy 2 cars. Your kids, with just a little bit of effort and in the right industries, will live a quality of life equivalent to the top 10% in Singapore.

  11. Anon May 3, 2011 4:34 PM.

    The highest paying blue collar job in Australia is not that earning AUD200K (=SGD300K) in the mining industry. It is the laundry assistant working on off-shore oil rig and they are paid AUD450K (=SGD585K) just to help washing cloths (not require ITE or TAFE qualification) for the oil rig workers. You just have to work 4-5 years to be millionaire (after tax). Freehold landed property costs less than a HDB flat and you can own 3 cars for the money you pay for one car in Singapore. Quality foods are generally cheaper than that of Singapore. Of course, eat out and services are more expensive. That is why DIY is popular there.

    In fact, in Australia and other advanced economies, skilled blue collar workers earn more than white collars if they operate their own business that is small business encouraged by the government.

  12. Heard that the PAP is supremely confident of victory. With the exception of Aljunied, they have put down the deposits for the victory celebrations of yet another 5 good years !

    In the off chance than George and Co somehow survive, they have even made contingency plans for extra tables at the Marine Parade celebration.

  13. What "foreign inputs in research"? These are undergraduate courses leh, research my asss!

    #1. it is not uncommon to come across parents who have to scrap to send their children to overseas university after being denied admission, just so that foreigners can get a place.

    #2. It is also common to come across foreigners who are here on a scholarship at a local university. The PAP farking justification of a 6-year bond to contribute to the local economy is hogwash - the foreign "scholars" know it is not possible for PAP to enforce this and many plan to leave for their homeland when they are offered better opportunities 3 or 4 years after graduating. Btw, when they return home after this short period of time, many have already saved up sufficiently to BUY their FIRST PROPERTY.

    #3. PAP is not interested in developing Singaporeans' potential. For years, they are harping on the fact that there are not enough doctors, and yet they refused to increase the enrolment at the NUS. Instead they prefer to source for foreign doctors from india, china and the philippines. All these "ready-made" doctors will contribute to GDP growth immmediately, while saving PAP millions to develop our local talents. Moreover these foreigners are often ill qualified to serve the local population because of cultural differences, language barriers and substandard training.

    VOTE OUT PAPigs.

  14. This GE2011 outcome will be 87:0 clean sweep by PAP. Hahaha...
    Singaporeans deserve this because they have been silent when GRC was introduce 20+ years ago. They were also silent when NMP and NCMP were introduced. The Constitution has been changed upside down already. There is no way to reverse lah.

  15. Much can be said about the quality of education in our schools when parents need to send their kids for the whole suite of additional tuition classes like English, Math and arts classes like music, art, dance etc on top of their regular school curriculum in school.

    Also, how is it that people with immoral or unethical beliefs (paedophile tendencies and affinity for sex with underaged girls for example) fall through the cracks of the so-called stringent selection criteria of MOE scholars?

    Are there plans to review the suitability of current teachers in schools? Are there steps taken to highlight abuse of internet in schools ?

  16. About 12 years ago, I conducted a two months student enrichment course for one secondary school.

    I noticed that there is great difference in class size between the special stream and express stream classes. The class size for special stream is about 25 but for express stream the class size is about 40 plus.

    It seems that our education system allocates much more resources to the gifted and special streams students than the express and normal streams students.

    I felt that this is not right (not fair) and related this to my friends, one of them told me that his daughter was in gifted class and her class size is only 13 !

  17. Lol...you want to know what takes the cake?

    I am a Masters Student. I met a friend from Germany who told be that the Government paid all expenses (relocation costs from GERMANY, rent, university tuition, allowance) for her sister to study in NUS. Guess how all that costs?

    Now she is working in Singapore, in a bulge bracket and she sits opposite a local friend that I have known for years. Small world huh?