Friday, February 10, 2012

Money Makes The Academic World Go Round

Dorothy Rowe is an internationally renowned psychologist whose book, "Why We Lie", has many lessons worthy of contemplation. In both private and public life, says the notes on the cover jacket, we damage our selves with our lies, and damage other people. Lies destroy mutual trust, and fragment our sense of who we are.

In 2008 Rowe was invited to become an honorary professor at London Metropolitan University (LMU), and the staff who invited her made sure she was paid for her work. However, by May 2010 the university was in financial straits, something to do with their awarding the Dalai Lama an honorary degree, and there was no money to pay her. Rowe agreed to work for free. Needless to say, the staff at NUS are of a different persuasion. There, the credo seems to be, no money, no teach.

The National University of Singapore is asking permission from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to increase university tuition fees for the new academic year 2012-2013. While the details of their submission are not available to the public, two justifications have come to light.

The politically correct pitch goes like this:
The money would serve to increase financial aid for needy students. Targeting students from the bottom 20% of households in terms of average income per family member, bursary funding for needy students will be increased from $5 million to $9.5 million, starting from academic year 2012-2013.

The word from the horse's mouth is like this:
We quote the NUS Provost, Professor Tan Eng Chye: “I think all of us, when we work in a company, we all yearn to see some salary adjustments every year. So do all the faculty staff.” 70% of NUS’ budget is spent on the salaries of the faculty staff.

And we thought the focus of the tertiary institution was to teach. Why is the academic institution involved in charitable causes, when we have a national budget to address the needs of the poor? NKF's TT Durai tried to get rich that way, and look what happened to him. Perhaps the recent instance of how the Public Service Division made many civil servants happy with a mere stroke of the pen has triggered a wave of self justifying entitlements. That plus how the Ministers can still afford their bungalow, cars and domestic helps inspite of a purported wage cut. Monkey see, monkey do.


  1. You're right that the recent salary increase for civil servants have triggered similar actions by GLCs, universities (which are suppose to be autonomous), and various specialised stat boards and govt agencies which are also supposed to be autonomous. These organisations are already independent and autonomous in setting their salaries, and are already higher than the normal civil servants pay scale. But when they see their Ah Kong increasing pay, they also want to jack up their own salaries. I bet many hot-shots in places like Mount Elizabeth, Thomson Medical, Drew & Napier, KPMG, PWC, Allen & Gledhill etc etc will quote the Public Service Division and demand at least 20% "pay adjustment" in addition to their usual 10% annual salary increment.

  2. Hey.
    If we can afford to spend $870 million dollars on 3 dinosaur skeletons.
    And another $370 million dollars to set up the exhibition for the 3 dinosaurs.

    So why not spend some more for the poor starving professors at NUS?

    Singapore seems to have become the land of the living dinosaurs.
    And that's the hard truth.

    As for the rest of you daft Sinkies.
    Do you know how your tax dollars are being spent?
    Vote wisely and find out.

    1. The link you provided did not get the facts right. The dinosaurs purchase was reportedly S$8 million and was wholly funded by private donations.

      Setting up the exhibition will cost abt S$2million

    2. My link includes the cost of the land the museum sits on.

      Your link does not.

  3. This is the problem with our society. When we want to ask for pay increase, we are to embarass to do so. So, we come up with some crap reasons like, Oh, we will need more fund and part of it will benefit more students. And mind you this time round they are politically correct to say the additional fund will benefit Singaporeans. What is their logic for fee increase? More pay for staff or helping the poorer Singaporeans?

  4. When our Ministers see it relevant to increase the pay of civil servants again but yet insist an outright NO to a min wage for other lowly paid workers, what more can we say about our PAP leaders especially LKY & son ?

    Cant' help giving us the impression that for our lowly paid workers they die their business & yet our PAP MPs just doesn't give a damn ?

  5. Woaza - 70% of budget is spent on salaries..and how much is spent on herman miller chairs and designer fittings? Then how much is left for the needy local students vis a vis scholarships for foreign students?

    That's like politicians saying their salary is only X , but bonus is Y , and together they are Zillion dollars...nice try!

  6. It felt disturbing to me to get so little for $50 today compared to 10 years back and the aunty clearing the tables still earn peanuts of about $700 per month of dirty cleaning up work.
    Singapore? Where is my old Singapore?

  7. Don't worry, next year govt will increase GST to 9% by saying that the extra money will go to help the poor and elderly. Govt will tell you that 9% is still cheap compared to other developed countries where their GST is 15% to 25%. If you still not happy, govt will just tell you to go ahead and leave S'pore. They have 1,000 FTs lining up to take your place.

  8. surpise surprise ! lots of their stuff are PRC and india indians !

  9. and when GST is 9%, see if you still want to ask for min. wage and bigger safety net for the bottom quartile to give them an excuse to further hike GST.

  10. Talking nonsense - on the one hand, said about increasing aid to the poor student,on the other hand talking about staff needing salary adjustment every year ! Increasing aid to the poor student? In reality, their criteria to be qualified as a poor student is so strict that all this so-called aid does not happen at all.

    On the one hand, you have university education getting more and more expensive, on the other hand, it is not more guarantee that being a university graduate, you will be able to get a well-paid job.

    One fine day, people will start to question - do we necessary need to go to the university?

    Feel Sad, Angry & Helpless

  11. Just vote Opposition.

    And you no longer have to listen to PAP bullshit anymore.

  12. salaries??? disingenuous

  13. I say it makes our PM goes round the world (at Davos) and sprouting more nonsense 'effortlessly'.

    Watch at 16mins on salaries - insisting that the pay adjustment is for Ministers only, not civil servants. Well, true that is isn't it. Everyone starts with some chips in life..just like casino. And is still the best place to be poor in the entire world....Looks like the call for reform won't be the last time Zakaria would be asking, again.


    Sorry link here

  15. Polys fee is going up too.

    Sound familiar, right. After GE, fees and charges are going up one after the other. Yet, your salary (except civil servants and ministers) will be either go down or stay the same. Ask yourself what living standard you have in 10 years time.

    Daft Singaporeans still do not know the importance of having a fully accountable and totally transparent government.

  16. Haha...

    just dont understand why Singaporeans bully Singaporeans.
    Singaporeans jeering at Singaporeans.
    Only the bullies stand to gain from the fragmented