"From this year, Singapore citizens will be given "absolute priority" over permanent residents (PRs) when balloting is required during the Primary 1 registration exercise, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday....", Asia One[Link]
When this news came out earlier today, many Singaporeans who don't have children going to primary school in recent years were surprised. They were surprised not because the MOE has finally decided to implement a "Singaporeans first" policy but because they didn't know that Singaporean children did not have priority for something as important as primary school entry all these years! Well at least the MOE is now enlightened enough to fix this ridiculous situation.
Lets move on to something else MOE should fix.
Suppose today you decide to go down to NUS, - say the engineering or maths department. You grab a foreign student and a Singaporean student. Then you ask them how much each of them pay for their education. Chances are the foreign student pays nothing because the MOE or a some other govt linked entity has sponsored his education while the Singaporean has to pay for his education out of his parents savings, borrowings from the bank or taking a part time job. This is a another ridiculous situation we don't see in other countries. All that is required later on is for the foreigner to serve his "bond" by working in Singapore for 3 years - something that most Singaporeans do anyway.
I was in my 2nd year of university education when the govt decided to hike the school fees. Students were incensed and the govt came out to explain that it is not right for university students to receive too much subsidy which comes from tax payers. Even very poor Singaporean students have to pay the fees than try to apply for aid in the form of a bursary which they don't always succeed in getting. It is incomprehensible how a govt that is so determined to make Singaporeans students pay more, can just fully sponsor so many foreign students who come here and get educated in university for free.
You can't blame Singaporeans for being upset over this situation. It is not that Singaporeans are mean or small minded but this situation is simply ridiculous. I remember a few of my Chinese speaking Singaporeans friends could not get into NUS or NTU because they didn't do well for GP - they were intelligent people but they were just not very good at English. However, when the govt wanted students from PRC, Vietnam or other non-English speaking countries, they were willing to waive the English language requirement and today you often meet foreign students in university that can hardly put together a full verbal sentence of English that you can understand.
I always wondered why the PAP govt sometimes treat Singaporeans so shabbily. There is a certain lack of generosity and harshness towards ordinary Singaporeans - this is real and not imagined. Perhaps the result of being returned to power again and again no matter how they treated Singaporeans....some have suggested we all thank the voters in Aljunied for MOE's decision to put Singaporeans first, something that should have been done long time ago.