10/24/2006 11:31:00 PM
Photo Exhibition: Chiam See Tong's 6th Electoral Victory
Venue: The Substation Gallery, 45 Armenian Street
Date: 25 - 30 October 2006
Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This is a photo exhibition on Chiam See Tong's 6th Electoral Win at Substation gallery from 24th -29th October. I got to know about this through from reading popagandhi & ~ a little fish finding her way in the world ~
Chiam See Tong, one the most well-recognised and popular; i.e in Potong Pasir, politician and public figure in Singapore. Though I myself do not kinda agree with some of his erratic statements and policies, but I have to salute him for his courage in battling the entire PAP political machinery. It's never been more difficult being an opposition politician in a fear-ridden Singapore. And to think that he has survived waves after waves of onslaught from the PAP at every election and to emerge victorious is something to be noted.
Do check out the exhibition if you are free. the map of where the exhibit is being held is below;
10/22/2006 09:13:00 PM
Future of Singapore: Epsiode 4 (Do we have a Future?)
Did i hear the wrong things or did i see it wrongly? I couldn't believe that anyone of any social position would have made such a childish, ridiculous remark. For one, I did not forsee it coming from not someone who had been through the Gifted Elite Program; one of Singapore's brightest prospect.
Though, I got to admit that Ms Wee does indeed have a rather terrific command of the english language. I certainly pale in comparison with her in this aspect, but that's besides the point.
More importantly, I was utterly disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted by Ms Wee's remark.
Oh God, save me.
I will now respond directly to her reply to a fellow blogger in the aftermath of the saga . . .
"i apologise if i have distressed you with my tendency to rant. while i will not dispute some of the points you make in response to what i have written, i would like to bring to your attention the fact that the post in question was never meant to be a cogent response to the specific points raised in derek wee’s article. it is, quite obviously, a rant in the heat of the moment. in addition, i don’t believe that my blog has the wide readership of derek wee’s, or even your own, and my intention was more to vent my own frustrations than public denouncement.i’d also like to clarify my use of the word “elite”. while i understand how misinterpretation may have arose, i intended to use it in irony, as a label that people assume i enjoy, and not one that i take particular pleasure in.finally, i admit that i was harsher than i should have been, although the the crux of my belief in self-improvement and self-determination has not changed. once again, i apologise if my words have unintentionally offended you - i was under the rather naive impression that nobody reads my blog."
Do you think that by labeling your comments as "a rant in the heat of moment" will help to cover up your mistakes/ irresponsible remark?
Where's the respect for the diversity of views made by different individuals?
Where's the tolerance that you have shown for a different view proposed to you; a view that is potentially a total disagreement with your core values? In the first place, shoudn't respect, tolerance, diversity of views, human dignity be part of your value system?
Though i do understand that we should give you the benefit of the doubt. As it was put across in http://mysingaporenews.blogspot.com/,
"Before I proceed further, please forgive her. She is a child. She knows not what she was speaking. I will be really angry if that kind of views come from an adult or someone making policies and decisions affecting the people. What we see in her is the tip of a smelly iceberg. It transcends from the little spoilt brat that demands the maid to do everything for 'it' to the peanut people among the elite. Not all elite are in the same shitty mindset. Thank god."But this only superficially diminish your responsibility in this saga. I'm sure that you are much brighter, much more nimble in your ideas and strong in your arguments. The system has put its trust in you becuase you have proved yourself to possess capabilities much higher than the rest of us, including me. You are training for leadership and management positions in future. I'm sure such statements wasn't made in the heat of the moment. I 'm also sure that you fully understood the repercusions of your statements. You are old enough to make your own decisions and to plot your future. No excuse at all.
Once again, I would like to question the effectiveness of the education system in Singapore? Are we giving up the nurturing of our student's moral values and upbringing for the sake of economic robustness. In fact, are we trying too hard to keep the Singapore economic machinery churning at the expense of Singaporeans' core values?
I believed it's time that we re-examine the education system once again. we have to decentralised the system, from an elitist mindset and system to one where each work and study for the benefits of each other. Not forgetting the focus on generating a strong Singapore identity. (Who says that Singapore with its diverse races and cultures will be unable to develop and infuse a national culture in the body politic?)
If a student from the GEP can make such a horrendous remark, maybe the system that breeds arrogance and superiority within a minority is starting to show signs of decay?More importantly, taxpayers out there are financing the education of such students who will in no time assume the title of a scholar. Why should Singaporeans finance the scholarships of these people? Is it really worth it ?
I have expressed what I wanted to. I would like to hear from you. Do you agree with what I said? Or do you think that I have no basis for my words? Share it with me. I would like to know about your views on this saga.
10/22/2006 08:52:00 PM
Future of Singapore: Epsiode 3 (Climax)
Before we continue, I would like to give you a short introduction on Miss Wee, one of the brightest student in Singapore.Ms Wee shares the same surname as Derek. Her academic achievements are impressive. She was from the elite gifted program at RGS who went on to top Singapore in the GCE ‘O’-levels in 2004. She also won the Prime Minister’s Book Prize for purportedly being effectively bilingual in Chinese and English (even though she often expresses her disdain for the Chinese language). And she is fluent in French. Hers is a highly affluent and privileged background. And without doubt too, hers is the perfect pedigree for joining the ranks of the highest echelons of the government.
From Ms Wee’s blog:http://www.suchvividnothing.blogspot.com/
Thursday, October 19, 2006mom’s friend sent her some blog post by some bleeding stupid 40-year old singaporean called derek wee (WHY do all the idiots have my surname why?!) whining about how singapore is such an insecure place, how old ppl (ie, 40 and above) fear for their jobs, how the pool of foreign “talent” (dismissively chucked between inverted commas) is really a tsunami that will consume us all (no actually he didn’t say that, he probably said Fouren Talern Bery Bad.), how the reason why no one wants kids is that they’re a liability in this world of fragile ricebowls, how the government really needs to save us from inevitable doom but they aren’t because they are stick-shoved-up-ass elites who have no idea how the world works, yadayadayadayada.
i am inclined - too much, perhaps - to dismiss such people as crackpots. stupid crackpots. the sadder class. too often singaporeans - both the neighborhood poor and the red-taloned socialites - kid themselves into believing that our society, like most others, is compartmentalized by breeding. ridiculous. we are a tyranny of the capable and the clever, and the only other class is the complement.
sad derek attracted more than 50 comments praising him for his poignant views, joining him in a chorus of complaints that climax at the accusation of lack of press freedom because his all-too-true views had been rejected by the straits times forum. while i tend to gripe about how we only have one functioning newspaper too, i think the main reason for its lack of publication was that his incensed diatribe was written in pathetic little scraps that passed off as sentences, with poor spelling and no grammar.
derek, derek, derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron ricebowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?
if you’re not good enough, life will kick you in the balls. that’s just how things go. there’s no point in lambasting the government for making our society one that is, i quote, “far too survival of fittest”. it’s the same everywhere. yes discrimination exists, and it is sad, but most of the time if people would prefer hiring other people over you, it’s because they’re better. it’s so sad when people like old derek lament the kind of world that singapore will be if we make it so uncertain. go be friggin communist, if uncertainty of success offends you so much - you will certainly be poor and miserable. unless you are an arm-twisting commie bully, which, given your whiny middle-class undereducated penchant, i doubt.
then again, it’s easy for me to say. my future isn’t certain but i guess right now it’s a lot brighter than most people’s. derek will read this and brand me as an 18-year old elite, one of the sinners who will inherit the country and run his stock to the gutter. go ahead. the world is about winners and losers. it’s only sad when people who could be winners are marginalised and oppressed. is dear derek starving? has dear derek been denied an education? has dear derek been forced into child prostitution? has dear derek had his clan massacred by the government?
i should think not. dear derek is one of many wretched, undermotivated, overassuming leeches in our country, and in this world. one of those who would prefer to be unemployed and wax lyrical about how his myriad talents are being abandoned for the foreigner’s, instead of earning a decent, stable living as a sales assistant. it’s not even about being a road sweeper. these shitbags don’t want anything without “manager” and a name card.
please, get out of my elite uncaring face.
posted at 12:08 PM
*******************************Disgusted and Disappointed ~ In the last Epsiode, I will provide my own personal opinion on the statements made by Ms Wee.
10/22/2006 08:35:00 PM
Future of Singapore: Epsiode 2 (Lights on, Cameras Rolling)
By Derek Wee
October 12, 2006
When I read the Straits Times article (dated 24 Sep) on PM Lee calling the young to be committed and make a difference to Singapore, I have so much thought about the issue.
I am 35 years old, graduated from University and gainfully employed in a multinational company. But I cannot help but feel insecure over the future of Singapore. Lets face it, it’s not uncommon to hear, “when you are above 40, you are over the hill”.
The government has been stressing on re-training, skills upgrading and re-adapt. The fact is, no matter how well qualified or adaptable one is, once you hit the magical 40, employers will say, “you are simply too old”.
We have been focusing our resources and problem solving on low unskilled labour. But in reality, our managerial positions and skilled labour force are actually fast losing its competitiveness.
I travel around the region frequently for the past 10 years. It didn’t take me long to realise how far our neighbours have come over the past decade.
They have quality skilled workers, and are less expensive. When I work with them, their analytical skills are equally good, if not better than us.
It’s not new anymore. Taxi drivers are fast becoming “too early to retire, too old to work” segment of the society. I like to talk to taxi drivers whenever I am heading for the airport.
There was this driver. Eloquent and well read. He was an export manager for 12 years with an MNC. Retrenched at 40 years old. He had been searching for a job since his retrenchment.
Although he was willing to lower his pay expectations, employers were not willing to lower their prejudice. He was deemed too old. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another No. 1; having the most highly educated taxi drivers in the world.
On PM Lee calling the young to be committed and make a difference. Look around us. How dedicated can we be to Singapore when we can visualise what’s in store for us after we turned 40? Then again, how committed are employers to us? But we can’t blame them. They have bottom lines & shareholders’ gain to answer to.
Onus is really on the government to revamp the society. A society that is not a pressure cooker. A society that does not mirror so perfectly, what survival of the fittest is.
But a society, where it’s people can be committed, do their best and not having to fear whether they will still wake up employed tomorrow. Sadly, Singapore does not offer such luxuries and security anymore.
On the issue of babies. The government encourages us to pro-create. The next generation is essential in sustaining our competitive edge. Then again, the current market condition is such that our future has become uncertain. There is no more joy in having babies anymore; they have become more of a liability. It’s really a chicken and egg issue.
Many of my peers, bright and well educated have packed up and left. It’s what MM Goh called “quitters”. It’s sad but true, Singapore no longer is a place where one can hope to work hard their lives and retire graciously. It’s really the push factor.
A future is something we sweat it out, build and call our own. Unfortunately, people like me, mid 30’s going on 40’s, staying put by choice or otherwise, we can’t help but feel what lies ahead is really a gamble.
To PM Lee and the Ministers, we are on a different platform. Until you truly understand our insecurity, the future of Singapore to me remains a question mark.All may seems calm and responsible till now; a concerned citizen voicing out his opinions on the PM's appeal to the young. However, what you are gonna see next in Epsiode 3 is the comments made by a student from the Gifted Elite Program (GEP) in RGS, now a student in RJC, a particular Miss Wee.Looking at her comments, I believed if her comments was made public, it is almost certain to create a huge huge wrangle and possibly a painful backlash.
10/22/2006 08:27:00 PM
Future of Singapore: Epsiode 1 (Background to a saga)
Below is a press report in the Straits Times on PM Lee Heisn Loong's appeal to the younger generation.The Straits Times, September 24, 2006
PM to young: Help make S'pore better
By Peh Shing Huei
THEY told Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong they wanted to engage the Government, to contribute and be heard.
But the question that several young Singaporeans had at a dialogue with him yesterday was how. A youth parliament perhaps? Or internships with ministers, through blogs, or more such dialogues?
Mr Lee listened intently, interacting with the 220 in the audience at the Supreme Court auditorium, and gave this assurance: His Government recognises and encourages them to be a part of the process here.
What was important, he said, was not so much the medium used.
'What you really need is also not just the medium but to be on the same wavelength as the young people, to know what the young people are concerned about and to be able to talk to them so that they connect, their concerns, their issues,' he said.
He told the audience that included students, civil servants, representatives from the media, youth and voluntary organisations that their generation 'had been prepared to the best of our ability'.
Picking up a point from one participant who noted a recent survey which said youths wanted to migrate, he said they must ask themselves about their obligations to Singapore.
Reminding them of the seriousness of his pledge to engage them, he said: 'We're looking for a young generation to come along and take the team forward. And if you go to another country...will you be heard? What will be your impact on public life on the community in a country with a few hundred million people?'
They must, instead, stay and make a difference.
'If I say I don't like this, I'm fed up, let's go, I think that's a great pity. We would have lost somebody in whom we've put a lot of hope, and I think Singapore will be worse off.
'But if we say this is not good, I'm going to make a nuisance of myself until I fix it, that's different. Then I think there's hope for Singapore. You stand your ground and you make it better.
What is it you are unhappy with, let's get that changed...You must have the optimal degree of unhappiness - just right, and the conviction to make a change.What is to unfold next in epsiode 2, is a gentleman's (Mr Derek Wee) reply in the Straits Times Forum to the above appeal made by PM Lee, which was not published in the mainstream media.
10/16/2006 01:11:00 PM
Excuse me ~
This is what I meant when i say that the PAP does need people from all spectrum of the political divide to guide them in their thinking and consideration. The PAP aren't that careful either, looking at the way they speak and comment on various phenomenons and policies. Essentially, no one party has the monopoly of great ideas. Creative and capable initiatives can also be found outside the circle of PAP ministers and policymakers.Lim Boon Heng, 03 May 2006
"PAP aims to win at least 80% of votes in Ang Mo Kio GRC."Irene Ng, 4 May 2006
"Let me ask you - do you think the ministers will listen more carefully to a PAP MP than to an opposition MP out to make trouble?"Lee Hsien Loong, 03 May 2006
"Right now we have Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Steve Chia. We can deal with them. Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I'm going to spend all my time thinking what's the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week's problem and forget about next year's challenges?"Lee Bee Wah, 2006
"WP's young team are donkeys"Lim Boon Heng, warned Chua Chu kang residents before Polling Day on May 6th, 2006
"If you elect Steve Chia, I'm sorry, he's not (in) my party. If he comes to me and says he's got somebody who is jobless, well, I'll tell him (he's) got to find somebody to help him."Kausikan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 May 2006
"There was a limit to how much older workers can be re-trained...and they are not going to conveniently die off..."Ms Denise Phua, 24 May 2006
"I know that something has gone wrong when more than 85 per cent (of the traffic) writes negatively about the PAP...This is something that the PAP would do well to take into account ... and to manage this channel of communication."
10/15/2006 07:49:00 PM
Now whose being Opportunistic here ? ?
Singaporeans have been more than patient. Fourteen years on, what progress has been made?
How many more years should Singaporeans endure the haze? (Read about the Workers' Party Press Release on the Haze Problem)
Miss Sylvia Lim, Chairman of the Workers' Party, 13 October 2006.
In response to Sylvia Lim's press release to the media on the haze problem, this is what Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim replied.
"It is always very easy and opportunistic to criticise the Government and once you criticise, it gets reported in the media you score some political points and then what happens after that? (Yaccob Ibrahim's reply can also be found in the Sunday Times of 15th October 2006, Page 19)
It is of deepest regret that I write this post. Why do the government think that the Workers' Party was trying to be opportunistic? What good do the Workers' Party stand to gain from highlighting a persistent hazard to Singaporeans? More Votes at the ballot boxes? Unlikely.
Be it PAP or WP, both parties are pro-Singapore. WP is Pro-Singapore and believes national interest should precede party interest. Essentially, the Workers' Party like all Singaporeans is worried and tired of seeing the haze year in year out. i believed that was the entire motive behind the press release; to once again remind the government that the recurring haze is a big problem, and Singaporeans are getting increasingly disappointed with seeing the haze problem recurring again.
Do you think that the Government would have said what it said in its reply if the same words was commented by a resident living in Tampines GRC? Seriously , I doubt so. Essentially, there would be greater impact and pressure of the ruling party if the problem is highlighted by an opposition party who understand the mechanisms of governance.
The Workers' Party, by issuing the press release, serves to pressure the government more effectively and this would have more of an effect on the "urgency and firmness" on the part of the government to tackle and eventually solve the problem. What Sylvia Lim was trying to do is this. To move the entire issue back from the back-burner and into the forefront. To bring the entire matter into focus and urging the government to exercise more urgency and firmness in tackling the issue.
I believed that the PAP or otherwise, have the interests of Singapore at heart and contrary to what Yaccob Ibrahim had mentioned, it's definitely not a case of "Look here, I can do this better than you, woeful PAP !"; essentially political tic-for-tat. The PAP must recognised that the viewpoints of the opposition is worth listening to and taken seriously into consideration. The basis of the viewpoint of a credible opposition party like the Workers' Party is based on grievances of the people. I believed this aspect is crucial enough for the government to sit up and take notice.
As a matter of fact, the people gave this existing government the mandate to rule and essentially, this government is the people's servant and the government owes it to every single citizen for its position in power.
Contrary to what the PAP would like us to believe, the ruling party and the opposition parties are coalition partners in advancing, promoting and sustaining the interests of the people. The PAP do not have the monopoly of ideas and policies.
In my viewpoint, the Workers' Party do realised the problem and knows that it is rather diffcult to eradicate the problem and Sylvia Lim is definitely not trying to accuse the government of failure in tackling the problem. Why then did Yaacob Ibrahim attempt to politicise the entire issue and hoping for a response from the party and thereafter using the entire media machinery to discredit the Workers' Party? Another case of overreaction or the PAP being opportunistic?
Once again, the PAP-knows-everything-you-shut-up-listen-and-follow attitude is prevailing again. "I'm glad that she has come to this realisation, it's something that we have known for a very long time." Not only Sylvia Lim knows the problem. Every Singaporeans does!
And it's truly time for real action !
10/06/2006 06:21:00 PM
The Big Divide
In my previous article entitled, "The Young and Restless"
, I observed the phenonmenon of a increasing divide between the PAP and the young. And if nothing was done to bridge this divide, the young will become increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the ruling party and they might well expressed this cold hard truth to the PAP at the next General Election, whereby more than half of the electorate would be citizens born after 1965, or to put it in the lingo of the PAP, "P65 citizens". P65 MP to cater for the needs, desires and wants of this batch of "P65 citizens".It's no secret that the PAP are busily courting the young. If that's so, I would appreciate the fact that the PAP might as well admit it.
When asked to comment on the hip-hop performance at the upcoming Chingay Parade, this was what Mr. Teo Ser Luck, Parliamentary Secretary, Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry said. "The whole process was very enjoyable because the Post-65 MPs, the P-65 team, are very close, so we had a lot of fun doing it. It's more because of the closeness that we have and learning a new dance skills that we're coming forward to also participate in the Chingay."
There's no point in hiding the political agenda that you had in mind: I want to win them over to my side, the PAP's side.
In fact, the battle for the hearts and minds of young Singaporeans began earnestly since 2004. Just to name a few of the tactics and strategies adopted by the ruling party to influence the thinkings and ideas of the youths:a. Young PAP's 18th Anniversary Celebration @ Zouk: PAP Rocks !
PM Lee in the Groove ~ !
b. The launch of STOMP
c. Celebrating Youth Day with a Youth Month
d. George Yeo started blogging
e. Chingay 2007 Hip Hop Performance: Report + Video
f. Not forgetting their lastest initiative ~
Seriously, how desperate can the PAP get in their attempt to bridge the divide?
My open letter to all fellow young Singaporeans,
Do not be taken in by such initiatives of the government. At the end of the day, they are coming to you because of your electoral muscle; You hold the key to the PAP winning their 13th consecutive GE. Simply said, they want your vote. While I do not discouraged you from participating from such events and activities, (Personally, I was a volunteer for SHINE during the youth month, a blogger myself, visits STOMP and P65 on a regular basis) you must look at everything with an eye on the bigger issue. Everything was done, huge amount of money was spent for their own personal electoral gain.
Certainly, I'm not saying that the PAP should never use such tactics and initiatives to win over our hearts and minds. It is definitely legitimate. This, as you can see is the benefit of incumbency and having the entire national propaganda machinery behind them. What I'm trying to show is that we got to be more conscious of the hidden political agenda behind their every move and action. There is no way the PAP can claim that it's just for the fun of it. If you are observant enough, ever since the conclusion of the last GE, focus has significantly being shifted to us (I am again not to trying accuse the government of neglecting the other important and vital segements of the populace.) We, as future owners of Singapore, got to be more critical and observant to any attempt to win us over. Again, I would like to say this again. If the government's initiative is sound, just, effective and beneficial, young Singaporeans would certainly back it. But do not expect us to conform to everything you say, especially flawed policies.
Bernard Chen Jiaxi
In fact, this is in sync with the pragamtic nature of the ruling PAP government. Since young Singaporeans is going to form more than half of the electorate in the next GE, emphasis would have to be given to them, as the young is going to affect their continued success at the ballot box. The young is the key to their continued staying power. I can truly understand this. But I would again urge the government not to neglect the welfare of other Singaporeans, especially the aging segement and lower income workers. No matter what, the PAP government has the responsibilty of addressing the needs of each segement in the population.
More importantly, how successful can this divide be bridged?
Humility is key. Maybe the PAP would like to have a look at my previous article on humility. It's high time that the PAP shed their aloof stance, elitist mindset, arrogant with their seemingly I-know-everything-you-just-keep-quiet-and-follow-me attitude. Do not argue with me, I warn you again.
Lo and behold, humility could just be the key to unlocking a more personal and engaging relationship with the youths. There's no need for any "artificially cool" initiatives. That means, do not try to act cool in front of young Singaporeans. This might backfire on you. I would urge the PAP not to expose their weakness in front of us. I remember my A level history teacher telling me this. "In order to do well in an examination, always seek to display your abounding strengths and try your very best to hide your weaknesses" This is my message to the PAP. Take Care and have fun, P65 MPs.
10/05/2006 04:02:00 PM
I didn't know we had a racist government !
"One evening, I drove to Little India and it was pitch dark, not because there was no light, but becuase there were too many Indians around"
PAP's MP Choo Wee Khiang (Jalan Besar GRC), speaking in Parliament in March 1992, arguing for greater control over the number of foreign workers
He later apologised for that remark
Let's look at the response of then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong,
"People make mistakes from time to time."
Interesting isn't it, that a statement like this was uttered by a PAP minister. Statements that might caused immense tension and uproar between the different races in Singapore. To put it in the words of Malaysian PM, Dr Abdullah Badawi,"Such an unfortunate remark is uncalled for and not appreciated"Maybe it's high time to revamp our policies with regard to the teaching of national education and history. As exemplified by MP Choo Wee Khiang, it is something that Singaporeans are lacking, which if nothing is properly done about it, it would in the long term, severely threaten the body politic of Singapore, unravelling all the effort of our past leaders.
10/05/2006 03:33:00 PM
Dark Side of Nationalism
After viewing the video, do consider this initiative that the Workers' Party proposed in its 2006 Manifesto,
"The curriculum content of the National Education should be reviewed to incorporate the teaching of our Constitution, the political system of Parliamentary Democracy, the rights and obligations of being a citizen and the meaning and spirit of our national symbols such as the national flag and national pledge"
This is exactly not a bad policy after all. Hmmm.. Maybe our wise PAP government might consider adopting it?
Do not forget to award credit when credit is due ~
10/05/2006 03:21:00 PM
Appearance of Prosperity?
This is a rather observant opinion on the cost of living in Singapore and the apparent appearance of prosperity in Singapore.
What is the government led by the PAP going to do about the rising cost of living in Singapore?
10/05/2006 02:14:00 PM
Giving credit when credit is due
Recently at the workplan seminar of the Education ministry, Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made sweeping changes to the primary school education by replacing streaming with subject-based learning."The people who were calling for doing away with EM3 were also calling for doing away with ability-based education. In other words, everyone studies the same thing. It doesn't look nice to be studying a simpler subject and so on, so forth."
"We think it is fair, and the most decent thing to do is to give a student, who is struggling in a subject, something more fundamental to work on, consolidate his learning and progress from there. And that is why the foundation subjects have their place."
"What we are doing is moving from a fixed menu to an ala carte menu - choose the subjects you are strong in, for the subjects you are weak in, consolidate your learning at a foundation level."
Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 28th September 2006
As a Singaporean who underwent his education under the previous streaming system, I got to applaud the Education Ministry for adopting a beneficial, effective and less discriminatory methodology of teaching in primary schools. Kudos for the initiative of the Education Minister.
However, to my surprise, I was shocked to realise that the education ministry took exactly 18 years to consider and formulate a policy that was beneficial to all Singaporean students.
"There should not be "ability" streaming as practised in the present educational system. An American educationalist called Dominick Esposito writing in the 1973 Review of Educational Research at pp 163-179 reviewed research into streaming in the United States during the 1960s and early 1970s and concluded that streaming aggravates social and economic differences between children and is of no demonstrable value in the teaching and learning process."
Workers' Party 1988 Manifesto
"The current system of streaming is based on aggregate points of subjects obtained at an examination and is used as the basis for segregating students. This does not really measure the potential ability of students. In addition, the social stigma of streaming far outweighs its usefulness as a convenient way to segregate the students based on academic results."
"WP welcomes the launch of the subject-based pilot classrooms plan. Further customisation of the education and learning process by re-organising the class system based on subject and module should be looked into. "
"Each student should be allowed to advance in different subjects at his pace."
Workers' Party 2006 Manifesto
Way back in 1988, the opposition had already suggested that the government led by the PAP looked into the system of streaming students, replacing it with subject/module based learning, customising the learning of each student according to their competency in each subject. The point was reiterated in the Workers' Party 1994 and 2006 manifestos.
I have 2 questions that I would like the Education Minister to address:
a. Why did the Education Ministry took 18 years to consider & recognise the positive benefits that subject-based learning would give to our students?
b. Why did the Education Ministry took the idea of the Workers' Party and treated it as their own brainchild? Why isn't credit given when it is long overdue?
At this critical juncture of a new leadership in Singapore, I would like to urge the government led by PM Lee Heisn Loong to refrain from being elitist and idealistic, thinking that only the PAP possessed the talents and ideas that would bring the country forward. It's high time for the PAP leadership to practise more circumspection and prudence. The fact is no one single party has the monopoly of talents and ideas influencing the populace in Singapore.
By recognising that the Workers' Party had a strategic role in the implementation of national policies would only give them more credibility and send out the signal to Singaporeans that the Workers' Party and the opposition in general possess creative and capable leadership with ideas that would propel Singapore forward, contrary to what the PAP would like Singaporeans to believe. In politics, It's all about credibility. It's all about telling the truth.
If that's that case, the PAP should have admitted that the Workers' Party had in 1988 and subsquently in 1994 and 2006, been proposing for such a change in the education policy and they have overlooked it. The PAP should recognised that they certainly looked forward to co-operating with the leadership within the opposition to better formulate effective and beneficial policies for all Singaporeans. Where's the humility?Every political party was formed to stand up for what they believe in, putting the interests of the country before anything else. No one political party was formed to enhance its own interest at the expense of national interests. Not for own personal electoral gain, but for the progress of the country. The PAP must urgently realised this flaw within their goverance.
The final message that I would like to convey is this: When the PAP government suggests a good initiative, the oppostion would certainly back it, and vice-versa. Only with 2 way communication can the country porgress and move forward.