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ad Londinum! March 25, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Diu Augusta Treverorum non defui.  Nunc ad Londinum eo eamque urbem expugno!

-Holidays ’til 1st April. Reachable via MSN.


quando felix sum? March 22, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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When will I be happy?

It’s a question that people don’t ask anymore. It’s a question which is deemed as wasting time, so carry on with your job or your paper chase, do your best, and hope for it as well. Shut up and study hard. Shut up and go to school. Shut up and get into a good university. Shut up and get a good job. Shut up and get married. Shut up and have kids. Then what?

We are unhappy because we are profoundly aware of something we lack – we lack perfection, we lack immortality; we lack wisdom, we lack freedom; we lack money, we lack the few marks which my friend got and we didn’t. But we always hope, à priori, that Things Will Be Better. Will they? We always dream for a better future, a future where we have good marks, more money; a future where we are free and wise; a future where we are immortal (in God or in medicine, that’s really your choice), a future where we are perfect.

But will we ever be? Good marks and money are attainable; Freedom and wisdom is too, but to a smaller extent. Immortality and perfection, we will never attain.  And it is this awareness of what we lack which pushes us on to hope that one day, someday, we will be happy.

But be it out of force of habit, or plain competition, we push this aside; happiness is always beyond our reach. We attain a goal and are happy – then the illusion is shattered.  There is more lying in wait – as my parents said when i was still in school: ‘your results can always be better.’ Perfection is always the standard against which we measure results – but the further we go up the scale, the fuzzier perfection becomes. It’s easy to say that 100% at every test is perfect. So what’s the perfect amount of money? And even more, what is the perfect idea of perfection?

Quando felix sum? Quando felicies sumus?

Politicians Biting People – A States’ Times Letter March 17, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Dear Editor,

I read lately that some SDP politicians kena arrested again during a protest for consumer rights. Wah lao eh, they also got rights mah…but then again, SDP always like to do this kind of bang balls thing. Not that we don’t support them…they sometimes kind of thing we see liao also wish we got the lum par to do. Too bad lah. Anyway, more importantly i saw in the States Times that Chee Siok Chin bit a policewoman!

Unbelievable sia! But then i don’t think she want to bite one lah. Probably is kena possessed by some Spirit of Righteousness. So hor, i think next time SDP got this kind of thing again, police should be smarter. Wah lao eh, kena bitten also must say…police damn not rambo enough. So nua how to have confidence? But never mind. Nua is okay…must use brains.

I think next time police should bring one of those temple mediums. You know those 乩童 u go and see when u need advice from tua peh gong…yah that type. Maybe they can help to exorcise the SDP protesters so they won’t bite people anymore. You know kena possessed sibei jia lat one. So of course must help to reform the evil spirits so they don’t bite. Must tell them ‘tolong, here is Singapore, you also not above the law one. Our Great Leader soon will go down and sue you for defamation you know?’ Maybe the spirit will tio stun and run away…cos down there got inflation also. The fambly members here burn money until pok kai then can pay the defamation lawsuit i tell you.

In fact, i have know a very good tang ki…you can try the one at the tua peh gong temple in Geylang there. He only charges ministerial $alarie$…lately his area also tio upgrading, so bo pian lah. Call him lei! +65-EXORCISM. He say you pay enough next elections confirm PAP will get strong mandate! Got tua peh gong protect…still need wad?

A Concerned Citizen

Examination Eugenics March 16, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

Whenever the A- or O-Level results are released, you always see the same stories in the newspapers – students in the elite schools praying in trepidation although for exam results, there really isn’t a deus ex machina, and then their jubilant faces as they receive, their straight A’s.  All’s dandy in RJC, and even the weeping students who have a B or a C which tarnished their oh-so-perfect results admit that they did relatively well.  So why are there weepers?  Because of the fear that you can’t get into medical school/some famous overseas uni/that you may end up in FASS (gasp!) with a low-paying job and no future.

And once again, the age-old question resurfaces: is perfection that important? Why do our students, and many parents too, believe that the only way to success is perfect results-scholarship-governmental job?  OR how about landing a place in medical or law school? As a people, we have come to equate good results with a good job.  But how many people with good results in the A Levels are struggling to cope with university overseas on a governmental scholarship? In Singapore, i think, you can talk about academic eugenics – condemnation comes with flunking one examination at any particular stage of your schooling time.  It’s a form of elimination and it’s very clear – fail this examination and your future is screwed.

And because the definition of ‘your future is screwed’ is a very subjective one (well to most students belonging to any one JC, it seems objective), students do their darndest to get a perfect score to avoid this Apocalyptic situation.  And for the overwhelming majority of students, there is only one success formula (which has been tried and tested since God-knows-when): cramming. The other alternative is learning out of interest, but then again, most students would think that this is actually very nice in theory, but practically useless.  There is always this risk of getting carried away on one subject and neglecting the rest, you know. And what’s more, why study everything when the bare minimum will do?

That’s only too common in Singapore – the bare minimum. Like to survive the academic eugenics programme which is the Singaporean education system, the bare minimum is required, just like in biological evolution – a single mutation which confers benefits will ensure the survival of the mutant.  There are no further mutations until necessary.  It’s always the bare minimum.  Little students are interested of whatever is outside the classroom except their CCAs.  And guess what the CCAs are for!  It’s to give the impression of a ‘balanced schooling life,’ when school life is not balanced at all.  More often than not, you are in school all day, coming back exhausted in the evenings and then scrambling to finish your homework.  This is a ‘perfect’ student – this is perhaps the indoctrination into working life which the Gahmen wants.  As such, students probably only care enough to do the bare minimum which secures them an advantage and nothing more.

I have friends in the UK who just want to finish university and start work.  And because they, too, are MOE scholars (i’m not saying who), i’m pretty sure that this cycle will carry on.  Do the bare minimum, get your perfect results and get into a good university.  In the meantime, let me make sure my bonus is a big and fat one.  As a whole, the Singaporean education system has catastrophically failed to instil a passion for learning in the students, no matter whatever credo a teacher goes by.  Parents and students alike only want one thing – to do well.  To get a good future.  Nothing more.  Why bother, say, reading up on Aristotle? He’s not relevant! When i try to talk to some MOE friends (there are others who will argue with me into the wee hours), they just go, ‘that’s too deep for me: i’d rather remain innocent and happy.’  Passion? What passion?

The academic eugenics system is, thus, good at showing you those who are willing to work hard, not those who have passion.  True, you need the workers.  But you also need the passionate few who are willing to engage themselves and think of new ideas.  Who will lead the workers? The PAP? Did you know that inbreeding is very dangerous?  As Elia Diodati says, this is a perfect storm brewing:

I can envision a perfect storm waiting to happen: when all these people are so obsessed with their perfect educational credentials that they can’t bear to set them aside to actually learn things in school, and cling on to the delusions that a perfect transcript will give them any kind of competitive edge in graduate school or the job market, or even help them become a better entrepreneur.

There are, in Singapore, certain markers for success: Either you’re a doctor, or a lawyer, or a civil servant on scholarship.  These are the three markers for success in Singapore.  And every uni student will tell you that they are studying out of passion, but how many are studying it to fit in with society’s image of ‘successful’?  And to rationalise it, because it isn’t very nice to study with a cold, pragmatic aim in sight, they explain away their choice of subject with ‘passion.’  You can’t read a person’s mind, can you?  That person who is reading up always could be doing it to put himself forward in the eugenics race, not necessarily because he is passionate!

After all, he’s probably from an elite institute – go figure.

面子 March 7, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Today the ‘A’ Level results were released.  And my students are not pleased.  Honestly, i was surprised, because i believed most of them to do better, excepting a certain few who i shall not name.

Either way, what i want to write about is the ‘face’ problem.  A student of mine who was at HCJC feels horribly guilty now because her teacher came up to her and said ‘our school expected you to get an A for German.’ And she feels guilty.  I told her that that particular teacher could fuck off and if he had a problem, he could come lick my ass.

Why? That’s also a reason why i left TCHS (another very compelling reason was German at NJC.)  Why, oh why, would i leave a ‘premium instutute’ for one which was populated by the plebians, the elite amongst you would ask.  The reason is very simple:  I do not want to be a slave for anyone’s glory.  The pride and glory a particular school has as a ‘premium instutition’ makes it focus on nothing more but attaining more pride and more glory.

Which is, in my high opinion, extremely fucked up.

It’s only by chance that in Singapore, good results = glory, more students, and definitely more money for the Board of Directors to embezzle development of the students in an ‘all-rounded’ manner.  But what is all-rounded?  All-rounded is leadership, having an elite education (means in essence that you can cram) and a good Co-Curricular Activity record, which means that you’ll have no problems getting into a good university in the future.  At the same time, ‘all-rounded’ is an adjective used to wow the masses into sending their children into a school as such.

So no, students, you DO NOT owe a responsibility to your school.  You are only responsible to YOURSELF.  If you’re satisfied, then so be it – everyone else can kiss your ass.  If you’re not, then you have to answer to yourself and yourself only, and the other deus ex machina forces (like other students spoiling the market, etc.)  But these are out of your hands.  If you’re unhappy, pick yourself up and learn from it – there is nothing to be guilty about by failing your alma mater, if only because you’ve made them lose face.

A school’s first responsibility is to its students, not to its glory.  But with glory being pegged to the teachers’ year-end bonuses, i can see why.

Great Singapore Manhunt! March 4, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Don’t play-play! Faster call police, don’t kay kiang gek hero, heroes die first, understand?  Best is if can get the phone number of Can’t Sing…maybe can help him to save some of his face if you call him and whisper where he is…i mean, his bonus is important right?  But then hor, wait he turn around sabo you back then you know.  Charge you for donno what harbouring a terrorist or some lan cheow shit like that.  So i think call police can liao.