Thoughts about Life in Singapore

I realized I am blogging lesser about Web 2.o these days, but I am still reading and keeping track of trends and ideas, its just that there's not much i can contribute or add value to curent literature out there. My friend, Vinod, is learning loads though in Silicon Valley and you should check out his blog about the event he's co-organizing. Just wish he could blog more and share about what he learnt.

Had a brainwave yesterday on some social and web trends, interesting concept tjhat might revolutionize the Web 2.0 world. Will keep working on that for now first.

I was replying to an email from a friend studying in NYC and thought I might as well put this out on the blogosphere for the sake of improving my local society. The government is on the right track in evolving lil' Singapore to become a global city but there's only so much the public sector can do. Alot of it has to come from grassroots, privately-initiated action. Plus, there's a certain level of scepticism and doubt plus credibility concerns over something emanating from a civil servants' office.

Rehashing an idea i always gripe about over beers with my friends — "The Conveyor-Belt Social System of Singapore"

You jump on board maybe in kindergarten at a PAP one (PAP is the local ruling party since the borth of this country), then the primary school, secondary school, JC/ Poly/ NUS. At the end of each education/ production stage, (there are major examinations such as the PSLE, O levels, A levels by the UK's Cambridge University GCE system), there is a Quality Inspection by the Singapore QA team, they filter the better students from the average ones and segregate them from the rest, filtering into the sub-belts such as neighborhood, gifted programme, SAP schools.. Top10… further nurturing them and pumping more money on developing their strengths.

Amidst this efficient filtering and quality selection is an inherent fear of those on the belt not to fall off the tracks and get derailed… For there is not much hope and encouragement offered to those that fall off, nor much attractive choices beyond a plain-vanilla academic syllabus of sciences and math and alil' bit of art… Hence, a mentality is seared into them to obey and conform over a period of 10 years. The main goal is to find talents to feed the Spore machinery at the government level – the elite to govern the next generation. Then they have the scholar class, who have their own conveyor belt all the way to the top of Spore society. Those who dun make it to the scholar class get disillusioned and join another track — the mainstream society, another conveyor belt, where u graduate from NUS/ NTU, find a husband/ wife, find a job, get married, start a family, buy a HDB flat or whatever, slog the rest of ur life struggling to pay bills for cars, houses, then wait for the day to draw CPF (the public pension system) and finally die.

i hate this life. Its a black and white world where there's not much happiness in being gray. And this is social engineering at its best and why Singapore is filled with so many people persistently unhappy and always yearning for a life beyond their current mundane existence. I see that in alot of pple of my age and generation. The yearning does not turn into reality because there is a huge mental block, a fear of treading into the unknown, a fear that has never been overcome due to a lifetime of teaching not to question and experiment/ innovate…. UNTIL u leave this country. Things are changing in Singapore, but it will take a long time to effect change.

How can we change? I think we need courage, and it is in every one of these disillusioned young people of my generation. Find out what we really want and dare to voice out to your superiors at work. Change is hard, but our own lives and society, the country will be all the better for it when everyone loves what they are doing and perform at their maximum capacities. Idealistic you might think of me, but hey, i am young and 24. The world beckons ahead of me.

For Steve Jobs's 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech, click here.

Related article: What Drives you?

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts about Life in Singapore

  1. It takes a dream to change the world and make a difference. Just stay put and make your life meaningful.

    Hope that all are well.

    yours sincerely,
    BL

  2. Hi, there!..b9fb330a67bd6769a08d38b6758d4d27

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