Not all schools in Singapore are created equal. Neighborhood establishments are typically at the bottom of the food chain. The "brand name" ones seem to have a monopoly of the best-of-the-best infrastructure, and some claim, also calibre of teaching staff. One in particular boasts of:
- 12 lecture halls that can accommodate 3,209 students. That's equivalent to the seating capacity of 6 Airbus A380s. Or the seating capacity of 38 single-decker buses. Forget about MRT trains, they are still breaking down.
- A boarding school with 522 dormitories, 5 times the number of rooms in Raffles Hotel, which has only 103.
- Sprawling campus grounds taking up 18 hectares of space in land scarce Singapore. That's enough spread for the water catchment area of 3 Lower Pierce Reservoirs. Or the land area taken up by 6 Esplanades. Or 25 soccer fields.
Is it any wonder why every year, parents will resort to extreme measures like moving house just to be within 1 kilometer of the choicest educational monolith? Goh Keng Swee liked to tell the story of how his son would ask him to drop him off a few metres away from the school gate. Junior was too shy to be disembarking from his beat up jalopy - rumoured to have a gaping hole in the floor board - as his classmates were chauffeured in exotic European makes (this was way before ministers paid themselves millions). Things have moved on, although progress may not be the right word to use. Think Porsches, Ferrris and Mercedes convertibles. No wonder the schools need a bit of sprucing up.