Friday, November 10, 2006

Elitism 301 : Transforming Meritocracy to Elitism.

Elitism 201 is found here

Steps for transforming Meritocracy to Elitism:

1. Merit was assessed in one-off fashion, rather than continuously. An individual, once labelled inadequate, has little opportunity whereas opportunity is redirected to those labeled as bright . It also meant that membership of the elite came with lifetime tenure. Under that system, the chosen could relax and coast over long period, while the less fortunate were condemned for life. With the scholarship, come the job, with the job comes the career, with the career comes the superscale pay. After all that a select group get to the tea sessions & interviews for selection to represent the people.

2. Merit was defined narrowly. (e.g. an IQ test or exam scores) The gifted artist or sportsman might not do well on other measures of talent. This compounded the lack of second chances.
3. Socio-economic background as a confounding factor. Tests do not measure intrinsic potential, but its manifestation at the time of testing. The child of wealthy parents has access to the best tutors, expensive schools and maybe even a chauffeur so she can spend an extra 2 hours a day studying rather than sitting on public transport. The exact same child, if raised in a disadvantaged background, will probably do less well. Today a primary one student has to know English, write essays and take oral exams, the starting line has been shifted to favor the wealthy who can afford the prepartory courses, the tuition and Montissori. In another country, they will ask these over-zealous parents to go fly a kite and start teaching from foundation up.
4. Those adjudged to have merit became a social class without room for others. This new social elite sought only to reproduce themselves, building further barriers to entry. Old boys club, power elite relations & connections etc ensure doors are shut to others who are just as able.
5. Lack of social obligation. The elite were not particularly concerned about helping those less well off. If called to serve they have to be compensated due to their overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Some even have the nerve to take $1M paychecks for public service. Others working part time as people's representatives take back $13K in allowance and want to keep their full time jobs. As elitism take root fewer people are willing to serve unless they are over-compensated due to their overdeveloped sense of entitlement...basically greed.
Once selected (not elected) to represent the people. They perpetuate the system that puts them on top. It is necessary to project empathy and care for the people to avoid criticism. The govt can even claim that vast sums are set aside for the poor and underprivilege but quietly put in high barriers and regulation so that they face humiliation and distress when they try to access it. The discussion of helping the poor to level the playing field goes on forever without the situation ever improving because there is no real intent to move away from pro-business policies but merely to allay the fears of the ordinary citizen. As they talk, the income gap grows and then they talk somemore. Real solutions such as a safety real social net, minimum wages and empowerment of low skilled workers will never materialise because the plan to keep the current system going - business as usual.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that shows its care and concern. Everyday when I get home, I can't wait to get my hands on the Straits Times to read the kind words of our PAP MPs whose outpouring of sympathy for the poor appears so genuine. Every year they have to pour out more and more sympathy because there seem to be more Singaporeans to sympathise with as our GINI index increases. Some people propose simplistic ideas like a social safety net or unemployment benefits or minimum wage to solve the problem. ....but I totally disagree with such approaches because once they are put in place our MPs will not get a chance to show that they care. BTW, US is raising its minimum wage again and economists say it will have little negative impact on the economy....they have implemented minimum wages for decades anyway. In Singapore the govt works on an even more powerful reverse idea minimising wages instead of minimum wages - this is done by opening the floodgates to foreign imported labor from 3rd world countries who are willing to work for pittance because once they get back to their home countries they are kings with whatever pay they get here. See how smart our govt is at minimising the wages of our low income laborers......woa so smart instead of minimum wage...they go for minimising wages.


Anonymous said...

i always read your blog as religiously as i read the straits times...and this time i am the first one to post comment!

yes, we see how elite (wsk) spawns little elite (wsm)...this means that unless you are from the elite lineage, you can never be an elite...that's bad...that's no meritocracy

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite some time now and I enjoyed very much your older posts. However, I must say that nowadays your commentary sounds more and more forced, and much less funny. Sometimes I was even wondering whether you were outrightly criticising the government without trying to hide it behind sarcasm.

I say, bring back the sarcasm and subtlety! It's no fun if your criticisms become too direct.

LuckySingaporean said...


older posts? You mean those written last week or 2 weeks ago? I forget 'older' in Internet time is like 1-2 weeks.

I see you like my writing when I'm truly inspired by the great thoughts of our esteemed govt. This inspiration is neverending because our great govt never runs out of good ideas like the one to modify illegal gathering act....

I do get serious when those throbbing migrane headaches come and I'm out of blue pills. But don't worry there is an endless supply from my neighbor doctor to help with those migranes not to mention the soothing effect of the blue dolpin fountain near my house.

In the meantime you can enjoy nearly 200+ articles already in this blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, even good authors lose it at times. I can understand.

freemason said...

We should be thankful that elitism has been perpuated in place, over & over again thru time imemorial.
We must be grateful that the 'system' has conformed to the expectation of the world order since the hidden ruling began.
We can rest assured, that history is being comfortingly repeated, so that we can trudge along in our daily slavery, in peace & conformity. Just be ignorant & oblivious !

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I really appreciate your insight, thank you very much :)

Anonymous said...

Back to basic....."Its who you know and not what you know" in time of "survival" period.

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