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I am Singaporean V – 2nd Class Scholar? September 24, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

So there has been a recent discussion about scholarships with bonds (cfr. The Sun Chair Critic and Tribolum.com) and the question is: why do more and more people take up bond-free scholarships?  Personally, i wish sometimes that my scholarship was bond-free, because i am happier in Germany than i am in Singapore.  But that’s besides the point.  Lucian Teo says that scholarships and bonds are, essentially, different, and that there is nothing wrong with taking up a bond-free scholarship if you can give back to society.  I agree, although society should be seen as Mankind as a whole, and not a partisan kind of Mankind, which is how a bond is seen as.

My German friends are already asking if i will ever come back to Germany and they find it strange that i have a bond to serve (albeit a not very long one.)  But let’s put it this way.  A bond is a transaction.  You give me some, so you get some from me.  It is, at its most simplistic level, a barter, and nothing more.  I signed on the dotted line, and read the fine print, and i have nothing against giving back what the Gahmen thinks i owe them.  It’s just too bad that the Gahmen likes to remain especially limited here, and thus slaps us with a bond saying ‘you have to serve US, and damned be to the rest of Mankind.’  Which i can understand, because ultimately, it’s always good if we make it and you don’t.  The bond also benefits me – i get teaching experience which may be of use to me if/when i should become a professor of anything (hopefully Philosophy though.)

The Sun Chair Critic, however, saw a more interesting development – the comments of his article said that he should just drop his idealism and accept the hard facts.  That i am not a SAFOS/PSC scholar means that i am a 2nd-grade scholar, and only 2nd-grade people are offered 2nd-grade scholarships.  The hard truth which the Sun Chair Critic refuses to accept is this: Governments objectify people, because governments are elected by the people to represent them, to provide an ‘objective’ perspective on the millions of subjective views.  Thus, we have 1st-grade scholarships like PSC, SAFOS, etc., and 2nd-grade scholarships, like those which are offered by the stat boards.  You can see the difference in that PSC also sends people overseas for teaching scholarships.

How are people objectified?  Grades, CCA, appointments in NS.  The interview is a formality and more often than not you already know beforehand if you have it or not.  They don’t have the time or the interest in knowing what you’re really good at.  However, i feel that the comments made that 2nd-grade scholarships are offered to 2nd-grade people are just pure MALARKEY.  I mean, that that is the Singaporean SYSTEM’s way of judging a person’s worth doesn’t mean that it is objectively universally true.  The only objective fact in judging a person’s worth is the fact that people are human, nothing else.  People are human – they live, get educated, do their dues and die.  The ‘objective’ judging criterion measures how much use you are to the system within a particular period of time, and it doesn’t matter if YOU gain something from it.

It hurts to be seen as a 2nd-class scholar/person, but what can you do about it?  Be an Ancient Roman homo novus?  Not very likely.  You’re cut off from that anyway, since you probably didn’t receive a so-called first-class scholarship, and furthermore, you’re not the son of some minister.  The only ideal you can hold onto is the very limitation of your humanity.  You, a 1st-grade scholar, LKY, Bush – they are ALL HUMAN.  And they can only do so much.  That they are judged to be worth more doesn’t mean that they necessarily are.  It’s a well-known belief in Singapore that many 1st-grade scholars produce textbook policies which fail spectacularly in praxis or that they aren’t the people we think we can invest our trust in.  1st-grade scholar does not mean 1st-grade person.  And that is what life is about.

For, what happiness does it bring when you know that you have riches and power, but everyone is just kissing your ass because you happen to have these?  Does it mean that you are wise?  Does it mean that people will like you?  Granted that you may do the right thing because you can see things ‘objectively’ due to your separation from the hoi polloi doesn’t mean that you are doing the BEST thing.  And at the very end, you don’t have to face anyone but yourself.  So yes, i am a 2nd-grade scholar.  The system can equate that with me being a 2nd-grade person.  But only in utilitarian terms.  I can be a first-grade person in my own eyes, i can try to be a first-grade person according to what i define as first-grade, and what society defines as first-grade.

Singapore is bigger than the PAP, and it would do well for you to remember that.



1. The Sun Chair Critic - September 25, 2008

You’ve misread my article and my comments. I did not deny that there are different grades of scholarships and some scholars will ultimately be treated better than others.

My comments in reply to the anonymous poster was objecting to his classifying of people as 2nd and 3rd grade people, which I find extremely disrespectful.

Anyway, my article was to highlight the plight of SOME scholars, and that those who took up bond free scholarships should not be deterred by taunts by some people.

2. crypt_hitherto - September 25, 2008

Yeah, I think you’ve definitely misread his post.

3. The Truth - September 25, 2008

What i said is perhaps my own limited perspective, but my point remains: even if it is disrespectful and even if we don’t want to see it, isn’t it true that this still happens, that that’s what the stat board/Gahmen sees? Personally i think it’s a smart move to accept a bond-free scholarship, and i probably would have done that, despite the taunts. But as long as the Government remains the largest hirer of people per se, government scholarships are still going to have prestige and bond-free ones will still be ‘stigmatised.’

What’s more, i was specifically referring to your comments…

crypt_hitherto: Thanks for the one-liner, care to elaborate?

4. The Sun Chair Critic - September 25, 2008

Same for the comments.. You see, in my comments, I have NEVER denied that there are different classes of scholarships. Also, I do not dispute that the government classify people into different grades as well.

What I was pissed was that the original comment by anonymous was really disrepectful. First by calling people 2nd and 3rd class and then calling people losers. If you care to read the comment again, you will see that it reeks of a holier-than-thou attitude. Frankly, anyone could have mistaken that to be written by Wee Shu Min.

5. guojun - September 25, 2008

Who knows…you have a John/Jane Doe who could very well be exercising his/her elitism anyway. hehheh.

6. xinyuan - September 27, 2008

You know, in RGS you’d think people would be chastised by the Wee Shu Min saga, but now it’s more of a touchy issue; a lot of people are still elitist, just better at hiding it. And unashamed of their elitism, yes.

Just a thought.

7. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 12, 2008

Whoever who’s deluded and deny that people who accept/apply for 2nd and 3rd rate overseas scholarships eg PUB, LTA, SIA, or some two bit healthcare or teaching award (who the f wants to be a PUB “scholar”?!) are 2nd and 3rd rate are living in lalaland and should see a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

People who got some stupid bursary that the 3 dumb local universities insist on calling ‘scholarships’ are also not scholars.

8. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 12, 2008

The writer of the above diatribe is just jealous because he is a 3rd rate scholar, as he had admitted haha. This blog post is nothing but a rant from him with the sole purpose of SELF CONSOLATION.

9. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 12, 2008


“So yes, i am a 2nd-grade scholar”


“You, a 1st-grade scholar, LKY, Bush – they are ALL HUMAN. And they can only do so much. That they are judged to be worth more doesn’t mean that they necessarily are.”

And this! Ha!

“It’s a well-known belief in Singapore that many 1st-grade scholars produce textbook policies which fail spectacularly in praxis or that they aren’t the people we think we can invest our trust in.”

Then who do we invest you? YOU, the 3rd rate person?

10. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 12, 2008

““It’s a well-known belief in Singapore that many 1st-grade scholars produce textbook policies which fail spectacularly in praxis or that they aren’t the people we think we can invest our trust in.”

Prove this. Especially the former because it’s a tangible and provable charge (can adduce evidence). The latter is just unsubstantial jealous rant. Prove it, 3rd rate.

11. hehehe - November 12, 2008

People who will never get to formulate policies (hehehe!) of course make jealous comments about people who formulate policies.

12. The Truth - November 12, 2008

What do you think? After all, 1st class, i’m sure you can confidently refute what i say, since you ARE 1st class and we should bow down to your wisdom. Come on, prove that we’re right in investing in YOU. I am only a 3rd-class who doesn’t know much. Prove that you’re not all rhetoric.

But please do explain why our scholars allowed the minibond saga to escalate, why attempts to contact Singaporeans overseas result in people coming for the food only, and also explain how associative mating works. Also explain why taxes were raised when the signs of an economic downturn were clear, and how the Gahmen made a huge profit despite having predicted a net loss. Lastly, i want to know how 1st rate scholars can cheat death.

You call yourself the bringer of truth and light when you result to ad hominem arguments and jealousy. You’d make great 1st rate material. Have you been hired?

13. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 13, 2008

I am not part of it and neither am I one of these 1st rate top notch people as I am in the private sector. Being a neutral bystander, I am see jealousy and SOUR GRAPES for what they are. SOUR GRAPES!! SOUR GRAPES!! SOUR GRAPES!! SOUR GRAPES!!

The minibond saga has nothing to do with the government. Now now you must be one of those whiney losers who would blame the govt if your stocks, properties or vibrator devalued. It is not the govt’s job to legislate and control financial products in a free market. The products were sold by private companies, like the one I work for, to people who sign on the dotted line and have to take responsibility for their stupid lives.

In any case, losers like you who are not good enough to know the difference between your ass and brain, (or maybe because there is no difference between the two) can go on and on and on about what YOU THINK are less than “perfect” decisions made by people you will NEVER become, in places you will NEVER reach. It means squat, because you are squat. They don’t even care to entertain you. And frankly I do not, if not for the mild amusement I get out of yanking your chain.

You are nothing but a 3rd rate calibre person who needs to desperately feel artificial vindication.

Too bad 1st rate people can’t cheat death but that’s fine since none of us can. The thing is, the limitations of 3rd rate people do not go away just because 1st rate people are not Gods. And you don’t get that cos you are jealous plus not smart enough.

Now I know why you were not good enough to be 1st rate. Because you are simply too dumb.

14. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 13, 2008

In case (likelihood is high) you do not get the crux of all this, here is it.

“The limitations of 3rd rate people do not go away just because 1st rate people do not live forever.”

And you don’t get that cos you are jealous plus not smart enough.

15. Bringer of Truth and Light - November 13, 2008

I just realised (took me this long because I’m not first rate calibre stock) your illogical argument is exactly the same as an idiot telling Einstein if you dun live forever, I am teh same as you. It’s the same as a pauper telling Donald Trump, if you are not as rich as Warren Buffett or hey if you are not immortal, I AM AS GOOD and AS RICH as you!

We would have the same net worth and same bank account as long as I can talk some rubbish out of my ass like” you’re not as rich as someone else that I can never be anyway.” and hey, I win! Hey I suddenly become as good as you and level our playing field!!! As long as I can talk outta my ass!

You remind me of those losers in forums- those random nobodies who have nothing to their names and nothing in their futures saying they’re better or as good as some president’s scholar, minister, the prime minister, a tycoon, Olympiad winner, Olympic athlete because those people (insert the name of anyone you’re jealous of) are not a Warren Buffett or the Pope or Bill Gates who dropped out of Harvard. (Gates WILLINGLY dropped out of Harvard on his own ACCORD. He qualified for Harvard. Do you/they? =D)

The thing you should ask yourself and what I always tell these people is : Are YOU Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or The Pope? *smirks

16. The Truth - November 13, 2008

It’s so good to know that there are people who have risen above who decide to call all 3rd rates stupid, dumb, etc, because they must be so if they’re not first-rate.

So you are trying to say that it is not equal so we should shut up and accept the bad choices we make, or at least not whine about it. Who said i was whining? YOU interpreted it as whining, i interpreted it as saying that there should be a reminder of being human. It doesn’t mean that we’re equal but at the very end we are. Your generalisation of what i claim is faulty. Absolutely we are equal in that we must live and die, relatively we may not be.

So be it, if your truism is that all people are equal but some are more equal than others. And yes if the escape into the non-material is what we normal people have because we can’t have material goods, it is a kind of sour grapes by assuming moral superiority. I don’t claim to be good as x, but then again, whose criteria are you using? You use examples and examples but you don’t define what is ‘first-class’. So what IS first-rate? Lastly you only refuted one example. And can you fully blame the people who signed on the dotted line? So the old must be idiots because they allowed themselves to be conned into signing. Is that your view? What about the other things I named? Care to refute them?

You actually remind me of someone called Diogenes from Sinope. Go wikipedia him if you don’t know who he is. Still even if you’re a cynic you don’t have to say that everyone else who has an ideal is stupid.

Lastly, you wouldn’t be wasting verbal verbiage on someone who is too stupid to understand you (but you thought again and added another post, and then another), and since you are yanking my crank, you can use all the insults you want, because what you say still doesn’t convince. The man who insults insults as a last resort.

As such if i can’t get anything out of you but a reminder of what i don’t know (seriously you seem to know everything, whereas i know that i don’t know everything) and since you always feel i should reflect and ask myself if i am great which i am not, then it’s not very fun responding since i have nothing to build on. It will be entertaining though if you keep on ranting. After all, since you insist i am stupid, i probably am stupid for you. But i don’t think you’re very bright too, since you rely on insults and incomplete arguments to attempt to refute me. That’s my 3rd rate truth…

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