Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekend Thoughts...

I haven't updated the blog because I've spent the last week pouring through economic and market data generated by the current financial crisis. There was enormous upheavals in the financial markets that threatened to spillover into the real economy and take us to a double dip recession at fast and furious speed. These events show that we are living in an unstable world no thanks to the high level of debt that has built up in the system. Life in Europe changed within weeks as govts put together austerity measures and tighten belts. If you're poor and Greek, nobody will blame you for taking to streets and demanding justice. The ruling elites in Greece embarked on a irresponsible spending spree at the expense of ordinary folks. It was found that the Greek govt awarded construction contracts to their cronies during the 2002 Olympics that cost 5 times that of what the same type of buildings cost in the China Olympics. Late last year, sensing trouble, rich Greeks shifted most of their money to Switzerland and London to avoid the financial mess and increased taxes. The Greek tragedy holds many lessons one of which is there is no substitute for transparency and citizens actively scrutinising what govt does. The small handouts to buy their votes and social programs account for only a small part of the $300B Euros. Most of it is due to corruption, tax evasion and govt waste. They have voted in a socialist govt to fix the entire system but to-date no body in the previous govt has faced any criminal charges and that is one of the main reason for unhappiness among ordinary Greeks.

The passing of Dr. Goh Keng Swee was greeted with much sadness among Singaporeans. I saw a news clip yesterday of people attending the state funeral. Any few of them had actually received help directly from Dr. Goh when he was their MP something like 40 years ago and they did not forget. The newspapers had plenty of coverage of Dr. Goh's achievements when he was in govt. He contributions were quite wide ranging - from defense to education to economic development. He is credited for being Singapore's economic architect and was a visionary when he worked out a development strategy tapping FDI (Foreign Direct Investments). Building Jurong Industial Estate was a big bet he made to attract foreign investments and it was highly successful. Today his vision is a known formula used in developing countries i.e. Vietnam, China and India and they compete with us using cheap labor. We really need a new economic vision going forward.....we need a Dr. Goh of our generation.

Last week a group of Singaporeans protested against the changing of weightage for mother tongue for PSLE. I was not very good with languages but managed to survive the system by putting in the extra effort. Language skills like mathematics is an inborn talent...probably not genetically inherited. My siblings didn't have problems with 2 languages and went on to pick up a 3rd language. I think Dr. Eng was thinking along the lines that a person only needs one language to survive economically so the 2nd one is not really need...just good to have. However, there is an emotive aspect to this whole issue because our 1st language is one we adopted from our colonial masters, the British and our connection to our cultural roots is through learning our 2nd language. Coming from an English speaking school, I have seen many Eurasian kids and people who have less talent in languages struggle with the mother tongue. This affected them throughout their education. Their weakness in Chinese will affect their entry to good secondary schools. The richer kids even have exit plans to go for higher studies in Australia or USA because of 2nd language issues. We have created this unique problem because of our bilingual policies which places great emphasis on a 2nd language. MM Lee recently admitted that he realised the underlying assumption that anyone can just master a 2nd language with reasonable effort is wrong. However, to fix this policy now is difficult because many will view it as a move away from our cultural roots in a society that is seen by many as already too westernised. The approach to solve this is perhaps a more inclusive criteria that will emphasise one's strength and strengthen one's weaknesses. Allow those who are weak in 2nd language to enter based on a separate criteria that excludes the 2nd language but require them to take up additional lessons throughout their secondary school education to improve their 2nd language. This is similar to the NUS Chinese camps conducted for those who entered NUS without passing their Chinese.

This weekend a protest will be organised against the exorbitant fees charged for World Cup 2010 by our telcos. It goes that show that when people are faced with a situation that they feel is unjust, they are will to make the effort to fight against it. If they do nothing, they will face the same situation 4 years from now in the 2014 World Cup. The organisers hope to attract 100,000 people[Link]. This protests says something about Singaporeans - when they are passionate enough about something, say World Cup soccer matches, they will protest if they are affected by it. Why can't anyone get 100,000 people protest for greater democracy? Why can't you get 100,000 to protest against CPF Life? What about mandatory death penalty for drug offenses? When its somebody else's problem and they are not affected by it, life goes on ...its hard for Singaporeans to get angry over somebody else's problem.


Anonymous said...

I am against subscribing the World Cup programme!!
Pure profiteering, esp S*ngT*l.

Anonymous said...

Goh Keng Swee started from swamps and kampongs. So the achievement can be more easily seen.

Today Singapore is so rich and well developed. How to achieve more? So forget about future Goh Keng Swees.

And one more thing. Unlike the Greeks and the Thais who will riot when things are not right for them, don't expect Singaporeans to do this. And for a long, long time.

This is why we are not only prosperous but also very peaceful and stable. A great blessing for the country and the gahmen.

Singapore is a great place to live, if you know how.

Chinese inferior to English, Math Science? said...

"Language skills like mathematics is an inborn talent."

I am glad you realised this. So, will you propose reducing the weightage of Math in PSLE so as not to hold back students who are good in everything except Math?

Nah, I don't think so.

Firstly, only Chinese is expendable, because it is an inferior language and an inferior culture (since language and culture are inseparable. If you dont want to study the language, it means you don't wnat to study the culture and vice versa), compared to Ang moh. It is an unimportant subject compared to Math and Science. So only its weightage can be reduced, but not English Math or Science.

Secondly, only the small 1% of fake ang moh who are poor in Chinese language need be helped. The 80% who received a grade of A (read carefully: not just passed, but A!!!!) in Chinese in PSLE, but who received B, C, D or even F in English (English was, is and will be for a long time, the worst performing subject at PSLE, with passing rate of 50+ only recently and <50 barely 10 years ago. read carefully: now it's passing rate we are talking abt, no longer the % who get grade A), will not be allowed to have weightage of English reduced so that they won't be held back.

So, here's the gist: for the <1% who can get into secondary school, but just not the best sec sch, we will do everything to pander to them. For the 80% who got A in Chinese and are worse off in English, we will no nothing even though they may be streamed to normal technical stream! Right?

Did I miss anything? Nah!

(Oh, and pls everyone, don't start a Dialect versus Mandarin debate since this is about CHINESE versus ENGLISH. Attempt to create internal disunity among various CHinese language is a well known ploy used by people whenever we have a Chinese vs English debate. lol)

Chinese < English Math Science said...

SDP issued a nonsensical media release recently expousing what you said about language weightage.

Anonymous said...

> The richer kids even have exit plans to go for higher studies in Australia or USA because of 2nd language issues.

...and because they are frogs in wells who do not know that top USA universities require the study of a 2nd language (they call it foreign language) while in university part of graduation requirement!

and the International Baccalaureate (IB) which is the gold standard required for admission to european universities require a pass in a 2nd language before the IB diploma can be given,

and that even in UK, all high school students study TWO languages - French and English.

Anonymous said...

Another storm is brewing within the Ministry of Education.

Aisha Quek wrote to the Straits Times Forum last week about the unreasonably long hours her husband has to work, including not being able to take MC.

What was thought to be just a lone voice sparked off instead, over 2700 comments in the YahooSg! forum within a matter of days, after YahooSg! published an article based on her letter. This week, more people have written in to the Straits Time to lend their support to Aisha Quek. Teachers are getting fed up with official circulars warning them not to speak to the press or outsiders about their long hours and widespread low morale. But it is an open secret that majority of teachers are unhappy with their working conditions and school management. One principal, Charles Surin of Hai Sing Catholic, was careless enough to get himself into the papers for alleged bullying and intimidating of his staff.

Matters has gotten so bad that even the Director of Schools has started a thread on MyForum, a closed online forum for teachers, to gather feedback.

Maybe we could see 10000 teachers go to Hong Lim Park, to demand for better working conditions, and for a stronger Teachers' Union to stand up for the rights of teachers.

Change is coming to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Goh Keng Swee is a shit. And here's why

Anonymous said...

Want to lower weightage?
Let's allow such lowering for Chinese AND English AND Math AND Science!
Then, no students who are weak in Chinese OR English OR Math OR Science will be penalised.
Fair to everyone no matter which subject they are bad in.

There you go! That's the proof that all these talk about not penalising students is BULL SHIT HYPOCRISY
The motive simply is to treat Chinese language (and by extension the chinese culture) as inferior, not only when compared to English, but also when compared to Math and Science.

So, just say it out loud!
No need to by hypocritical!

Pro-equality Chauvinist oxymoron said...

Studying 2 langauges is indeed very difficult. So, we should allow those who are poor in Chinese to have zero weightage in psle.

Fair enough.

Now, how about allowing those who get English O-level C6 an oppotunity to go JC and university without demanding that they must pass GP? (FYI, UK universities do NOT require foreign students to pass GP!!! Only C6 in O-level English suffice).

Now, how about allowing someone who is good in languages but poor in mathematics and science the right to be a journalist, poet, award-winning writer etc without chanelling him to the normal stream just because he fails Math and Science?

No can do, I suppose. No standards can be lowered. No subjects can be "bullied". No subjects is unimportant enough to be dropped. No subjects should bend over backwards just to allow poor students a chance at higher education. That is, no subject...

...except Chinese, of course.


(Oh, btw, Teochew and Hokkien are written using a different character script compared to Mandarin. So while we hate Mandarin, we will love Hokkien lessons in school! <-- any English Chauvinist going to use this argument? ha!)

Anonymous said...

Humans are unique creatures. Is that so difficult to understand / accept?

Even for the greater mortals, who tend to believe that the world is as they believe, are but dust.

PARENT said...

A) Inform students that entry requirements to most universities etc require a 2nd Language.

B) Allow the study of a 2nd language as a choice, not mandatory to follow your race as recorded.

The result will be that more will sign up voluntarily and with that attitude, true appreciation and learning will take place.

There is no risk. We are a people who are not daft.

Anonymous said...

Most students in neighbourhood Sec Schs do better in mother tongue than in any other subjects. So, it is very obvious who the MOE is pandering to.

In the past, some of the ministers mentioned that some children of the elite (who cannot speak Mandarin well enough) was forced to relocate because of the 2d language policy. The attempt to reduce the weightage of MT subjs is an attempt to stop the outflow of this group of ppl.

Anonymous said...

To anon 22/5/10 18:05

1.Singapore is a great place for the rich Singaporeans and foreigners, the papist and their asslickers and cocksuckers.

2.If Singapore is as democratic as Greece and Thailand, then Singaporeans will behave just like them.

3. Singapore as a nation is rich but Singaporeans as a people is poor. Reason is the government keep on cheating the people for 50 years and is still doing so at this moment.

4. Every generation can have their own Dr Goh Keng Swee if only Lee Kuan Yew and his family don't lord over the whole of Singapore as if it is their personal property. This is exactly the reason why average Singaporeans are not having a decent quality of life which they richly deserved. Their parents and grandparents put in the blood, sweat, toll and sacrifices to build this nation only to have it stolen from them.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky

1. Singtel and Starhub doing f**king National Service!
They are going to lose $$$ on this!

2, What high levels of debts? Spain was running surplus!

3. Singaporeans simply do not know how deep the shit they are in! No amount of your blogging will help. While you are sitting on your arse ... Mdm Ho Ching is going to pour in tens of billions of our CPF into some pig farm in NORTHERN China!

Your kids may want to start picking up hindi ...

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed you are so imbalanced in your praise about Goh Keng Swee. Have you noticed his 28 years of streaming policy that caused generations of kids to suffer? And no matter how, Goh shared the same bed with his pap totalitarian buddies and must shoulder part of the blame for the problems we are in now.

And your thought on mother tongue. I can only shake my head. You want the policy modified because you did not do well and you think such language skills are "inborn." From where do you base your theory? A reasonably intelligent person will easily see the absurdity in the call to lower MTL weightage. Where is your usual critical thinking?

Anonymous said...

I think coping with mother tongue is achievable. I came from an English-speaking background. However, I put in a lot of effort into learning Mandarin, and even managed to coach myself into reading Louis Cha's martial arts novel.

I think the problem lies with attitude. Most people think Chinese is not cool or simply too Cheena.
Have you seen how some students try to learn Japanese or Korean, after watching their idols on tv?

Some of my friends have kids who struggle with Chinese. Probe a bit deeper, you will find that their parents also struggled with Chinese, and they told their kids that Chinese is just too impossible to learn, or it is just a waste of time.
Little wonder the kid picks up that sort of attitude too.

Anonymous said...

Me was angry with consription even before i was drafted into the Army in 1970. Now, i am more against it then before, shall i say that all along i take conscription as a great violation of Human Rights.

However, i do not blame Dr Goh for implementing NS then, though i did wish that he formed voluntary forces. The nascent state then did need a defense force as political stability in the region was poor. However, over the years, the SAF has gone hi tech and a small professional fighting force would serve the purpose of National Defence and even Defence Industry.
NS could have morphed into voluntary service in around 2000AD.

As for streaming, Dr Goh must shoulder the blame for starting it, however, his successors over the years were and are just as guilty if not more so for not modifying or changing it.

Me deemed the English Educated and Westernized Leaders
were and are happy relegating the Mother Tongues. May I also say that most Singaporeans born before the 70s see it and suspect a political dimension to the demises of the Vernaculars. And that it was to diminish the oppositions to the PAP Rulers.

Dr Goh Keng Swee must have been the busiest minister that i know of local politicians. He was almost everywhere doing much for Singapore and its' people. As i run through my memories with his demise, me am unable to recall that he has ever claimed any credit for himself. Neither did he call himself a talent nor claim that he sacrifices anything going about doing his duty of nation building.

Happened to see him on few occasions though never communicated with him, Dr Goh came across(to me) as a stern looking but quite friendly as he smiled gently.

Dr Goh Keng Swee deserves all the Tributes and Accolades.


Lucky Tan said...

anon 18:34, anon 18:14,

Several points you guys made:

1. Why weightage for Chinese and not Maths, Science, English? We have weightage for Chinese due to our bilingual policy which is unique in our country. We are also a somewhat unique because our 1st language is sadly not our mother tongue. There are students who struggle with Maths and English. There are other combinations damn good at Maths but bad at English. I've seen very good engineers with lousy english and they struggled with English throughout their education. What they need to survive in this working world is technical english which is not your GP standard. My point is not Chinese weightage but a more flexible system that allow people to ride their strengths and progress on it as far as possible and have their weaknesses addressed. We have a rigid system slows people down because of their weakness in some area. We used to insist that people have to pass engish to go to university but these days we are more flexible because we want talent from PRC and are willing to waive that requirement.

2. Chinese is learnable if one puts in the effort and have some interest in the culture. Totally agree. I also think its important for one's overall development, future etc given the rise of China. However, there is a sizeable part of our population that have become westernised and have little interest in Chinese culture although they are chinese. It is a sad development but given how our society has evolved you also cannot blame the individuals. Like one of you said westernisation is transmitted from parent to child and they can be brought up totally westernised with little interest in their own Indian, Chinese, Malay culture. I think that some people would insist that these people return to their roots and 2nd language is part of this link. Here I think there is tension in our society and there can never be full agreement as people are brought up in different ways. The truth is we have been 'invaded' by western culture and values that come with it. For this reason many seek to preserve what is left e.g. learning chinese as 2nd language...but others may not see the same importance in this, hence the tension in our society...

Anonymous said...

The problem is what is the first language? What is the Mother tongue? Why does the mother tongue have to be separate or the 2nd language?

By right, people should be able to choose what language they study as first. And what language they want to study as second.

However, maths and science should still be taught in english.

If students can somehow do well in maths and science with having mandarin as the first language and something else other than english as the 2nd language then they must surely be exceptional students.

But let me say one more thing. I have worked with many people from the PRC and their mindset and cultural values are very very far from Chinese educated singaporeans. They have told me that the dominant culture in China is all about 2 things: money and sex. They tell me that 4 out of 5 of their peers all have unhappy marriages. They have told me that once PRC women have lived and worked outside of China they are very reluctant to return because of how Chinese society treats women.

Please understand that Chinese culture is not something set in stone. It's 5000 years of history + what the prevailing culture in China. Like all cultures, it evolves.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46

Chinese culture evolved in babysteps since Qin Shihuang unified China. And that was like 2200 years ago. China's next babystep in evolution only took place in 1912, when Dr Sun overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

Examine China's long history, and you would see that for most of its history, even up till today, China has only known dictatorship, despotism, and corruption of absolute power.
In its 5000 year history, China has never ever known of the concept of human rights; Bill of Rights, Magna Carta. It is absolute rule all the way; be it in the form of an emperor or ruling party.

Even in Taiwan, where it is supposed to be a democracy, democracy only happened after the KMT lost an election after decades of staying in power.

Chinese only tasted and learnt about human rights and democracy when living under non-Chinese rule: Hong Kong.

Even in Singapore, the people are more comfortable with the absolute rule of a single party. Not much difference from feudalistic dictatorship.

Let's see how much Chinese culture will evolve, compared to Japan and Korea. Now, every kid is dying to learn Japanese and Korean, given the dramatic rise of the pop culture of Japan and Korea.

China? Still stuck with making shows based on ancient classical novels like "Romance of 3 Kingdoms", "Journey to the West", "Return of the Condor Heroes".

All of these stories have been done to death, and it appears that evolving in China is a no-no, not unless it is a babystep once every 50 years?

DanielXX said...

if you ask me, it is no longer important now because kiasu singaporeans are going to learn mandarin no matter whether it is a key examinable subject or not. China is the future! don't learn mandarin, the children will becum maids or construction workers in other countries. the parents will make them learn. maybe even indians and malays will learn mandarin too?

but i suspect the re-think is due to some selfish reasons on the part of garment. mabe someone's daughter or son is having problems with mandarin? hahaha. i won't be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Daniel XXX 09:30

I fully agree with you that the only reason why the government has tried to do this is because some elite's kid must be having problems.

It's the same reasoning why they brought up the choose your own race of the kid for mixed race couples. Who would be agitating for this? The majority of singaporeans are focused on bread and butter issues not whether someone who has a chinese father and an angmo mother should be chinese or angmo.

And I also agree that even if you allow people to choose 2nd lang. Most will probably do mandarin anyway. I think most of the problems with language is because of our 1 size fits all education system at the primary school level.

Do you realize that nowadays after primary school there are so many different avenues for kids to get to university?

o levels, poly, uni
o levels, jc, uni
direct to alevels, uni
international baccalaureate, uni

Maybe there needs to be these kinds of "many roads leads to rome" kind of system even at the primary school level.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46

Actually china is evolving. Have you ever heard of the Chinese internet memes "Sister Phoenix" or "Brother Sharp"?

The PRC people I talk to don't talk about "Romance of the 3 kingdoms" or Sun Wukong very much. They have shown me commie movies that they have seen in their youth like "Di Lei Zhan". They have shown me websites like wenxuecity.

My point is China's culture is evolving.

Those singaporeans who somehow think that the china of today is some romanticized view of the china of their forefathers, where everyone sticks to good old confucian values, are sorely mistaken.

Culture is not just about language but values as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:13

"Examine China's long history, and you would see that for most of its history, even up till today, China has only known dictatorship, despotism, and corruption of absolute power.
In its 5000 year history, China has never ever known of the concept of human rights; Bill of Rights, Magna Carta. It is absolute rule all the way; be it in the form of an emperor or ruling party."

your "civilized" western masters have also been known for dictatorship, despotism, and corruption of absolute power for the past 5000 years. In fact, every organism on earth have been known for those qualities for the past 5000years.

"Chinese only tasted and learnt about human rights and democracy when living under non-Chinese rule: Hong Kong."

yes, as long as you live under the rule of supreme white master, you are considered to have human right and democracy even you have no right to choose your governor and any gov official. what a perfect democracy the COLONIAL Hong Kong have.

Anonymous said...

reduce weightage? damn stupid lah

i say INCREASE weightage of BOTH EL1 and 2nd lang at PSLE level! Pri sch is the time to work hard on lang foundations, not later.

recruit ong

Anonymous said...

My German expat neighbours across the corridor is sending their 7 yr old child to learn Chinese.

Future economic option and necessity? Of course! You think is to learn Chinese culture? Hahahaha you better wake up!

So please take out the pseudo-culture and race-centric justification from the language debate.

recruit ong

Anonymous said...

When its somebody else's problem and they are not affected by it, life goes on ...its hard for Singaporeans to get angry over somebody else's problem.

This is becoz of 50 years of PAP indoctrination. Even as early as the 1960s, the PAPies attitude hardened into self-reliance and self-sufficiency. That's why in the early 1970s onwards, the PAP removed benefits such as lifetime pensions and free medical care for the masses. Even the so-called benevolent GKS was a very austere conservative man -- he told many times to reporters and the people: "Do not expect the govt to provide things for you. It's very dangerous for govt to provide too many things for people. You want, you must go and work for it."

Whatever benefits the govt provides e.g. subsidised education and hospitalisation, is merely just to ensure the masses can contribute to GDP and national defense, that's all.

And that's why in PAP Singapore it is "You Die Your Business; You Die Better Than I Die".

Or as most people since the 1980s would say, "Kia-si; kia-su."

Anonymous said...

I think the garment can say whatever they want, I don't give a sht at all. All the policies they put in place only benefit them and their circle of elites. Last time say 2nd language important then now say not important, who knows maybe next year we have to study 3 languages. Enough of all this bullsht, that's it, you are fired.

Anonymous said...

Gahmen say A means A, B means B mah. They are right becos they are Gahmen mah.

If you want to be right be the gahmen lah.

Anonymous said...

For those of you people complaining about language problems and not being able to enter S'pore universities or polytechnics, even though got good scores in maths and sciences.

Well, got good news for you!

Just convert your kids' citizenship to Peoples' Republic Of China, or Republic of India.

Thanks to PAPpy govt, S'pore's universities and polytechnics are taking in huge swamps of PRCs and Indies, 99% of them also on subsidised education fees (just slightly about 5% more expensive than SG). About 20% of every year's tertiary intake of students are foreigners.

And Sillyporeans are subsidising these foreigners for about 70% of their school fees, while at the same time denying up to 20% of your children of places in tertiary institutes.

Anonymous said...

Look at our national service, I mean why do we have to serve national service? That is a whole crap system, wasted 2+years and many many more weeks and months of reservists and IPPT. This system totally sxxks. They say you are a fellow singaporean and this is your country, we have to be loyal and contribute to the country. Fair enough, but what happens when we need the country's help? Don't expect free lunch? WTF, then why should we serve national service, why should we pay tax in the first place, and fxxk the CPF too.

Anonymous said...


Could we teachers get a favour from you? Write an article about the widespread low morale of teachers in Singapore.

Currently, a group of us are trying to raise awareness about the widespread low morale of teachers in Singapore, thanks to MOE's inept management over the years. This whole matter sparked off after just 1 letter to the ST Forum by Mrs Aisha Quek. Since then, the matter is starting to snowball.

We are also trying to get Temasek Review to give us more publicity.

The director of schools is trying hush up this whole matter by directing the talk to our own MyForum, where everything can be swept under the carpet.

You may wonder what does this have to do with you? It does. There are over 30,000 school teachers. Together with their families, that's over 100,000 Singaporeans we are talking about. The opposition has the chance to make a direct impact into the lives of 100,000 people, since the PAP minister of education shows no interest in doing so.

Lionel said...


There is a big issue in the yahoo post.

There is a big issue of 3000 commentaries on the follwing:

Please do a write up on this issue as it is a hot topic among the netizens since the last 2 weeks but I have yet to see your perspective on it.

Keep up the good work.

Lionel Lee

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lionel Lee

Sorry but Mr Lucky is really more interested in promoting alternative lifestyle and indulging in the occasional PAP bashing.

I hope you dun really expect Mr Lucky to stick out his neck for the likes of you.

Anonymous said...

i watched the old man walked up on stage. it was a difficult walk for him though it was only for a very short distance. after his delivery, he sat down. when the camera moved towards his direction again, he had a pained expression and looked as if he was struggling to draw air.

this is a man who exercised everyday and enjoyed the world's best medical care and counsel. he probably fair better than all his peers because he is stubbornly discipline.

yet, no one escapes the sickle in the cold winter night. slowly but surely, the candle will burn out.

looking at his dimming light, you feel only love.

for others have long passed their prime. he is still carrying the torch.

i suppose, he will carry the burden to his very last breathe.

Anonymous said...

"i suppose, he will carry the burden to his very last breathe."

burden? what burden? More like ang pow!
everyday collect million dollar salary and pension till the last breadth!

Lucky Tan said...

Lionel Lee,

I've looked specifically at teachers but overworking and overloading workers in Singapore is not uncommon. A typical IT worker may work 12 hours days to meet deadlines and even weekends duties such as service support etc is not uncommon.

For the friends I have who entered teaching in Primary & Secondary school most don't last too long. Many see it as a transition job because the progress is limited and a few complain of stress. A few years ago, I thought the MoE wanted to hire TA (teacher assistants) to relieve the teacher's burden.

I have 3 friends teaching in the poly and they feedback that "life is not bad"...quite good. So I think the problem is specific to primary & secondary teachers.

Overworking teachers may be a bigger problem than overworking an IT guy or a finance guy. The IT feller can just move on to another company doing a similar job if he doesn't like it so can the finance feller. But teachers are under the employment of MoE so they either stick to teaching or leave teaching.

The 2nd problem is teaching has limited progress - that is why you lose people when you overwork them. The financial incentives dangled for other jobs and potential career advancements make people accept some level of overwork.

I always thought that teaching should be a stable, interesting job for people who love it..and are not driven primarily by financial reasons. If it is true that they are overworked, something has to be done.

Anonymous said...

To all those Anonymous Teachers,

Forget about debating in public and getting public's attention and all that.

You think the public is so concerned about teachers' welfare? My ass!
They're only interested in their ah-boy or ah-girl getting straight A's and and the straight & direct path to good degree preferably in medicine, law, accountancy or prestigious scholarship in civil service.
Teachers can die from heart attack and cancer for all they care!

The way I see it, all teachers can only do 2 things:-

(1) Do the right thing at GE to drive some spurs into the govt. 30,000 teachers + spouses may not be a big electorate number but at least better than meekly offering your neck to be chopped.

(2) Prepare exit plan. Easiest is doing private tuition as you can capitalise on your teaching experience and knowledge of curriculum/exam standards, and local parents' kiasu-ism for their kids. I know 2 secondary school teachers who are moonlighting doing tuition, even though not allowed. They feel that it is more important to take their destiny in their own hands rather than to submit to some unfeeling authority who will not care whether you become burnt out, dead, fired, or jobless next week.

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