Friday, October 18, 2013

Wet Blanket

Minister for Law K Shanmugam was first to cheer the announcement that SIM University (UniSIM) was chosen to host Singapore's third law school. Earlier in May this year, he had welcomed the recommendations of the 4th Committee on the Supply of Lawyers to establish a new law school. On his Facebook pages, Shanmugam expressed delight that "we have today reached another milestone".

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat was just as effusive, "Many new university sector learning opportunities are in the making, to better cater to the diverse aspirations of our young." During Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) sessions, Heng had asked students what they want to be when they grow up, and was confounded with answers "involving terms which I am completely unfamiliar with." He concluded, "Unless we are able to create opportunities, many of our young people are going to be disappointed."

Parents are just relieved that their kids with qualifying grades can have a better chance of studying in a local university, instead of being displaced by foreigners admitted with shady academic records. And having to downgrade their accommodation to finance the expense of an overseas university education.

So what was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinking of when he said tertiary education should not only be about increasing university places? He even put a damper on the success of the National University of Singapore (NUS) being ranked as the top university in Asia according  to the latest global rankings from higher education information provider Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), by saying "universities here should not be measured solely by their international rankings." A wet blanket is defined as a dull or depressing person who spoils other people's enjoyment.

He quoted South Korea where, we are told, 70 percent of each cohort attend university but unemployment among university graduates is higher than that among graduates of vocational schools. And in Denmark, over a quarter are unable to find a job a year after graduation. He is worried about delivering what a good government promises - jobs for its own people.

So when the future generation ends up being crane operators and domestic helps, the people have themselves to be blamed. Unless you subscribe to the spin that these are skills that are relevant to the future (of Singapore). Or are able to put up with the logic of Khaw Boon Wan:
"You own a degree, but so what? You can't eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless."


  1. Once, not that long ago, an Ll. B. degree from the UOL became not recognized as a qualification for legal practice because the ass in charge then said that doing so would create more lawyers thus leading to a more litigious society. I was not able to go to law school locally full time as I was a working adult putting food on the table for my family.

    What happened now? They are actually trying to produce more lawyers. What about the litigious society that this asshole was alluding to then? Like the stop at two policy, this is another abrupt about turn. It seems that they never think through a policy and see its effect years down the road.

    1. Did the same asshole said no casinos except over his dead body?

    2. I think he also said the optimum population size for Singapore is five to 5.5 million.

    3. Absolutely, maybe they think we have forgotten. Maybe it is they who have forgotten. First they thought we would have to many people, so stop at two. Wrong. Then they thought we would have too many doctors, so limit that. Wrong. Then they were afraid of too many lawyers. Wrong. Now they are afraid too many graduates. If Singapore has a talent shortage how can there be too many graduates ? Why import graduates to work here. Does India , Myanmar and Philippines have better universities ? Screwed up, seriously.

  2. They are talking about places / seats for the foreigners lah, and not for local Singaporeans. If you are well connected, maybe you have a chance to attend lah.

  3. Large pieces of the pie for themselves...smaller slices for their pets to be target boards or controllers of the rest who can only subsist on bits of crumbs if any is left at all.... shows the true personalities or characters of the supposely "responsible" and "wise" people in charge...

    I say....are these really human beings and are really part of the human race?

    No wonder mother earth just sits by and let these "humans in charge" get rid of ourselves with un-substainable self inflicted "policies" which damages the climate/environment/ in poisoning your own ONLY living space with seen and unseens fatal poisions of varied types self created of course. 2017...should be very interesting times...

    But i won't leave a finger to do my part...i dun clear up those idiots in charge mistakes...let's die together then.

    Let the dying begin.

  4. See what happens when "pragmatists" are in charge? Chopping and changing even before the ink dries. The easiest way to govern.

  5. all this is called far-sightedness, thinking years down the road.

    of cos, the definition of ''years'' varies. do u look 10 years ahead when you are bringing in 1 million pple and say, hey ,
    the infrastructure needs to be beefed up majorly, or do u
    look 2 yrs down the road and say, hmmm got a couple of hundred extra hdb flats still for sale, so all ok.

    so much for scholarship and thinking. or should it be, so much for boasting and wildly exaggerating?

  6. Either or both of following could be true:

    1. pinkie now sees good in a dumbed-down society where everyone's favourite hobby is to watch american idol and 99% cannot go beyond first page of stomp - like unca sam land where the majority cannot understand what PRISM means.

    2. Otherwise most likely he is trying to cover his ass knowing the garmen statistics on graduate unemployment rate will soon turn ugly or will soon be exposed by some international agency as a mirage created around "goal-seek" function in excel.

  7. Wah, let us relive what LHL has said about his government has no 20/20 foresight awhile ago.

    A few days later, his team under his charge launched the shoddy PWP and said they have the foresight to bring us into a sustainable country with 6.9 million.

    His govt said of those 6.9m they expect singapore residents (PR + Locals + Foreigners lah) will fill 2/3 of the PMET jobs. They sounded so reassuring that your job security should be a concern and now, he is retracing his steps to say there might not be enough jobs to fill up our own graduate degree-holders?

    Why? Is it because he intend to import more?
    Today, out of 3.82m residents (PR+locals) , 79% are PMETs.
    That translate to 3.017m are PMETs.
    And of those 3.017m, 52% or 1.5m are degree holders.

    67% or 998,300 are permit holders (EP/Spass/WPH)
    And 21% or 209,600 are PMETs.

    So if you look at those figures today, is no brainer where the government has the leverages to pull right?

    1) reduce the Non-residents & PRs dependency and backfill these with our own SG graduates

    2) another 48% of non-degree PMETs can be phased out (of course, you hope ideally they know is from those fickle and non-committed PR pools).

    So, what exactly do you think his hidden message are?
    We have had enough of this Rich party paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame the poor people. After 10 years, you realized the stuff trickling down on you isn't money, but more woes and ladders to climb while the rest are busy toothpicking their golden tooth courtesy of Din Tai Fong.

    Plus the fact that the new framework has explicitly tell Singaporeans is NOT about Singaporeans first. But fair consideration!!! In your own damn country that you are born and bred to protect, pay and serve unconditionally.

    Most people are quietly asking if the first daughter & albino son from the PM's first wife will be asking Mdm Ho Ching, to please give them a fair consideration too. Not because they came first, but because the son was born with a distinct disadvantage (or a clever politician will say is a privilege reserved for him) and the daughter who have both lost the instinctual protection from their birth mother, thus their birth right to be fairly considered. Imagine the insult if your own children were to ask their stepmother for fair consideration? Some people need to do some serious soul-searching.

    Here's one new campaign slogan for their 2016, FOC

    PAP 2016 : Keeping millions of foreign talents in their jobs to put millions of local talents out of jobs.

    Don't have to thank me. When people are old and eating cat food, they can thank PAP.

    1. must be grateful to gahment who are giving you ladder to climb meh..previously they only give rope you know..some use it to hang themselves because they never pass their ippt leh..

      must be grateful ah...kum siah kum siah

  8. Broken Record10/18/2013 3:40 PM

    But if we want a superior quality of people we'll have to pay, either in public respect or money or preferably both. "

    - and there was me thinking respect was something one earned, rather than someone else bought. And I would have thought "superior quality" implied a person who could not be bought. Precisely the problem we have now, is that we have allowed money upon money to be thrown at the job, with the result that it is exactly the greedy and corruptible who are attracted to it.

  9. Elitism in education is not to be confused with excellence. Elitism is about privilege: it's about focusing attention on elite groups, and the educational institutions that cater for them, at the expense of the rest. Elitism neglects the education system as a whole and worries primarily about the most able.

    An elitist approach has long plagued our education system, with dire consequences to our society which we are all witnessing today ie. the general disdain for O or ITE or diploma holders; the social immobility among the poor/rich kids; tutors and help for upper and middle class children; the uneven playing field of good schools vs non-good schools etc

    By almost every measure you choose, it has hit - rather than enhanced - our overall educational outcomes, and contributed to a long tail of underperformance at the lower end of the ability range. Only MOE has the statistics, and they are not telling and sharing.

    I remember post-16 education, elitism used to be epitomised by traditionalists who promote 'A' levels as the "gold standard" and reject the ITE/diplomas. But now, a Degree has become the new gold standard. In another 10 years, Masters and PHD will be the newer gold gold standard.

    Elitism is reflected in a lack of commitment to apprenticeships and a general disdain for vocational education of all kinds, including the important new foundation degree, developed in partnership with employers. This anti-vocationalism is damaging to our economy, where we need a range of intermediate and high-level skills for which traditional academic education does not cater.

    Indeed, all this hoo-ha about universities with high ranking or diversity rate is nonsense. It is just PAP's new way of trying to look non-elitist, rather than genuinely believing about apprenticeship. Go ask them where are the new jobs in 5-20 years where these jobs will be when they graduate? In switzerland, there is an entire cottage industry where one can count on the watch-makers who has made our switzerland famous for. In Italy, you still have people who go to modern and high end tailor, furniture makers and designers that are very well respected and in demand worldwide today. In UK, those be-spoke shoe-makers of 100 over years that remain very well sought-after. Not to mention other european nations that have a very thriving apprenticeship and craftmenship environment that are passed down from one generation to next. Look around you today. Where do you find your world class carpenter, watch maker, furniture designer etc? NONE. Not when your Labor MP who keep sprouting "cheaper, faster, better" or else ....we'll bring them in by the truckload from our developing neighbors. There is no respect for this group of specialists, nor the desire to promote or carve out this industry. What you see, is a whole lot of recycled experienced PMETs or even the pioneer generations getting washed out to be Property, Insurance or Taxi drivers. When new technology will replace them such as social media selling or driverless cars etc, you have to wonder what will happen to these groups when the time comes. Just get PAP to show you the figures on how they create new jobs for the 45-70 groups, and you will see how pathetic they have fared.

    Well, since no one has rejected elitism back then, the same group have become a very helpful lot of keyboard warriors and activists like Gilbert Goh to topple the elitist monster that has become the byproduct of its failed policy in education.

    Once you recognize all that patterns behind their failed policies, you will understand why all that fierce back-paddling now.

  10. "You own a degree, but so what? You can't eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless."

    But a degree does offer a good life - in the freaking civil service! And most of all, in the admin service!! The day the civil service stops selecting its best-paid officers from only degree holders, that will be the day I believe there is hope for vocational trades. Industrial policy is based on paying MNCs to come and set up shop with tax holidays and grants to score browny points and boost GDP which never trickle down, economic policy is based on "anglo saxon" financialization model based on debt and more debt and importing more FTs to suppress wages, innovation and productivity. Education policy is based on rote learning and scoring the highest in International olympiad or some PISA scores. And Ngiam is wondering why red dot never skill up? They have jobs for the ITEs, but they will never create any depth, trust them to mess it up with yet another round of improvisation - maybe they will start sending graduates to the "country-side" like Mao did in 1950s, but we won't rise up the technological ladder as long as you have pen pushing scholars with law or PPE from ivy league running the show.

    1. Funnily, didn't some powerful international monetary group just awarded our Finance Minister the most brilliant award for turning our economy into a productivity based economy? What a paradox. Where are all the years of result gone to?

  11. Let's give ourselves a real education.
    Let's vote in an Opposition government.
    Then we'll get to see our country's account books.
    No need to wait 56 man-years.

    1. I am all for change. Unfortunately, even without the constant and determined import of "new citizens", the electoral math does not favour an opposition garmen in 2016 which might make some badly needed changes to the current hopeless education, economic and social policies in place. Of the approx 2m who voted in 2011, they had 60%, about 1.2m supporters. Opposition had 0.8m votes approx (assuming no uncontested seats). Given the erosion of support of about 10% over last 2 elections, a maximum of another 100k of their 1.2m voters might switch to opposition, making it 1.1m vs 0.9m (assuming very negligible organic population growth - but this is more than diluted from "new citizens of about 30k each year, most supporting incumbents). The GRC system could be further "refined" to prevent any proportionate loss in seats, so the 2/3rd majority in seats could be preserved to change laws if needed. Of course the 60% could all decide to wake up in 2016, I very much doubt it. Too many rent seekers in long queues grabbing new property launches tell me their supporter base is enriching, thriving while the rest languish, eventually fall off the register of voters - exactly like America and Europe, where most young people no longer bother to vote.

  12. As a local graduate, we have read LHL's message not to study hard because this govt has already planned ahead to deliver our job to 3rd world FT with fake degree. I can't believe what I am hearing from a leader who has broken his promise or should I say can't deliver any of them after crying apology to Singaporeans. He has to go.

  13. Who can forget Pinky who rise GST in 2006 claiming budget deficit, only to give themselves millions salary after GST raise ? Now we know there has never been a budget deficit but creative accounting, biased reporting through shitty time and media, and transferring of monies to other ministries to make it look like short For...

    F****K the PAP

  14. Nothing displays the ineptitude of the current administration more than this. The PMs messages is. " to be happy, aim lower". He lacks his father's ability to deliver painful messages but energizing the people nevertheless. We pay millions for this ? In the meantime opportunities go to foreign companies and foreigners on our soil. Do you feel sold out ?

    1. "A single feat of daring can alter the whole conception of what is possible"
      Graham Greene
      and the brave voters of Aljunied GRC in GE 2011.

    2. He will exceed his father's 'ability to deliver painful messages as well as energising the people' because there is a pair of gold plated knuckle dusters waiting to be handed down from father to son when the time comes. Satisfied. Now go do your NS.