Friday, August 5, 2011

Your Study Or Your Money

Since the outing of a certain heir's CV, talk has touched on why some need two, or more, scholarships. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines a scholarship as an award of financial aid for a student to further his or her education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.

Keywords are "purposes of the donor or founder of the award". True altruism aside, there exists a mercantile business element, for want of a better word, described as reciprocal altruism. A favour done today - food offered, shelter given - brings a return favour tomorrow. On a higher moral plane, scholarships are generally recognised in many flavours:
  • Merit based - to recognise academic, artistic , athletic or other abilities. Most common merit-based scholarships recognize academic records or high scores on standardized tests.
  • Need-based - to sponsor a student's financial needs, in due consideration of the expected family contribution and cost of attendance at the intended institute of learning.
  • Student-specific - scholarships which quality applicants by gender, race, religion, family and medical history. More commonly meant to assist targeted minorities, like aboriginal groups in Australia or Canada.
  • Career-specific - given to students pursuing careers in high-need areas such as education or nursing, or by private corporations as recruitment incentives.
Whatever the basis of award, the financial package is a reflector of the value of the scholarship. The status accorded and recognition associated have their own intrinsic contribution in social stratification. Somehow, a bursary fails to carry the same weight in padding a resume, even if was was similarly earned through academic, artistic or athletic excellence. For some, the money seem to factor most.
"The other two boys - Ho Ching's children - are both bright. One has taken a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The other doesn't want a scholarship even though he could easily get one... It's a different world because his father can pay, and so that is not important.

If I were the father, I'd say, no, you better take that scholarship and come back. Why should I spend $300,000 or $400,000 for nothing? I can put down half the payment for a house for you! "
(page 421, "Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going")


  1. Basically it means that another true blue S'porean was deprived of a 300K/400K scholarship that he/she would not have been able to afford even if he/she had done acedemically well. I thought Philip Yeo said he would have given prference to HDB dwellers?

  2. Poor Singaporean8/05/2011 11:01 AM

    Goodness, what a greedy SOB !

  3. Meritocracy does NOT equal Egalitarianism if the playing field is NOT level.

    If playing field is NOT level, then Meritocracy equals Plutocracy.

  4. The elite take very good care of themselves while they extol the virtues of trickle down wealth...which sorta trickles down in drips...

  5. Also from HT "Lee says he himself came from humbler stock. Chinese scholars worked out his genealogy. They gave me my genetic table of my family in Dapu. The only outstanding ancestor was 6 steps up. He was the military governor of Guangxi. They underlined him. Only one".
    Asked if it disproved his theory "Ya, but Chinese go by only the male line. Somewhere along the line, some female passed it on to me. My mother? I don't know.

    Goes to show. If it's bad,must be his father. If it's good must be his mother.
    Of course, since the Chinese fixation with the male is mistaken, and they don't trace the female remains uncontested, some 'probably' right. Given his own fixation on eugenics, surprised he haven't done the DNA to prove this BS theory!

  6. why so exceptional re PAtrick Tan. did he win any nobel prize despite the two scholarships he had deprived of other poor kids their chances?

    Here's the real dirt facts on melioidosis
    - 4 pple died of melioidosis over 7yrs period (1987-1994). Compared to
    - 23 pile NS men/women died in random accidents in their service to the country over 10yrs (2000-2010).

    Fortunately for Patrick Tan, he is not one of those 23 who perished as he's managed to defer his way out of his whitehorsemanship.

  7. @ Angst Lee

    PAP definitely practices "trickle down" economics and policies (meritocracy).

    Also called "horse and sparrow" theory.

    If you feed the (white) horse enough oats, some will pass through onto the road for the sparrows.

    This Presidential Election is a referendum on whether Singaporeans support PAP policies.
    Vote wisely.

  8. Has anyone noticed that whenever a public scholarship is awarded to a Malay student or the son/daughter of a taxi driver/hawker, they will have it splashed in the headlines ?

    On the other hand, the sons/daughters of our Ministers and elite are often awarded public scholarships in the most discreet manner to avoid public scrutiny and often appear in the news only for the wrong reasons ?

    Isn't that hypocrisy of the tallest order that our PAP leaders are so morally proud of ?

  9. @ Alan Wong,

    That's the hard truth! Now try swallow that.