Monday, September 13, 2004

111 days: Queen of Convenience?

Hello Tym, forgot about your online prescence for a while.

It's late but I'm restless (two huge mugs of ice teh at newton's) and I can't sleep.

Had a talk with my brother, 'O' levels impending and all.

The education system in Singapore is tough. Wow, I didn't manage to say anything new in the last sentence.

There's no place for stupid people in Singapore. Seriously. Not to say that my brother is stupid, but if you screw up once, the rest of your life is screwed up.

How do you explain motivation to a 16-year-old who doesn't find any meaning in what he's doing? I salute his maturity. At his age, it was all about "A"s - that was my motivation. He's seen through the crap I think, perhaps no thanks to my cynical self at home.

Actually, how do you explain motivation to ANY 16-year-old? Unless his big big dream in life is to make it to RJC and land a PSC scholarship. If not, whatever any 16-year-old does (be it O or N levels) should make no sense to him.

Not to say that my life makes much sense right now. But I always wonder. What if I didn't make it to RJC? What if I hadn't got my 4As? What then? What would I be doing now?

It's dangerous to reflect too much on the "what if" aspect of life. Either way, you're sad about how things turned out, or you're scared about what if things didn't turn out this way - and if there's no other path.

I remember a guy I met while waiting to enter uni. He dropped out of poly after two years because he hated studying. When I met him, he was holding two jobs. A sales job from 1 to 7pm and a stint as a waiter in some pub from 9 till 3 am.

Every fucking day.

He makes about $2k a month, working like that. He's trying to earn as much money as possible before he has to serve NS.

It's tough being "stupid" in singapore. Stupid, in the Singaporean sense - cannot study.

Or maybe, you might say, anywhere else in the world too. But I wonder if the social stigma against school dropouts is as heavy elsewhere. Justin Timberlake didn't finish high school.

ERm well yeah like that means anything. But just to prove a point.

Nevermind I'm just rambling.

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Funny stuff I over heard:

My friend Sean said if he ever printed t-shirts he would want them to say either:
"God, save me from your followers."
"On the internet, my nickname is cutie15"

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More funny stuff from a typical Singaporean taxi-driver (read: politically vocal and anti-PAP)

(in dialect)
"Wah you want to fight the government? You know what we are? We're eggs you know! And you know what they are? No! Not rocks! They're diamonds!"

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What the gahment sorely needs to do:

1. Minimum wage and labour guidelines for foreign workers (esp maids)
2. A limit to the number of charity shows on television.
3. A mandatory program for all kids (especially the spanking rich ones) to spend a day doing the job of a cleaner/janitor.
4. Apologise to the country.

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The last point above, is because right now I feel as if we're cleaning up after its shit.

All the rhetoric to Singaporeans about us needing to "change our mindset", "speak up", "engage" pisses me off.

I agree its something that has to be done. But the way they're doing seems to say: "Look, we don't know why you're like that, but it's screwed up the way things are, and we need you to change ok?"

Erm ok, sure. But can you fucking apologise first for making us like this?

They're policies have been so ingrained within society that now they don't have to do it anymore - the parents and teachers do it for us.

Sick and tired of lecturers saying something critical of the government, then cracking a joke about "hope the ISD isn't listening hurhurhur".

The older generation, I say, gone case liao. Maybe that's why government only concentrating on the young - still got hope.

But all I wanna hear is, "Look, sorry we made you so schizo when it came to political affairs. Sorry we sued everyone out of the country or into bankruptcy. Sorry we screwed up your minds by controlling AWSJ and Herald Tribune's circulation. Sorry we made our country such that tourists buy "Singapore: a FINE country". Sorry that we were so hard-handed that when we try to liberalise, people make fun of our bungee jumping and bartop dancing."

"We admit we screwed up along the way. We're sorry, please forgive us and talk to us now."

Even when my piece on Chron's first issue this sem came out, so many peers said: "wah you not scared ah" "purple heart!". When a meeting was called "oh jess you die liao".

I admit I played along a little, hamming it up for the big show. But when it came down to it and when I thought about it - I just didn't understand the big deal.

I really had no qualms or second thoughts about that article. Maybe the cover page one, cos not enough pple polled.

But the big deal pple made just goes to show how scared we all are. Deep down, subconsciously.

Scared for WHAT??????? Who the fuck is gonna sue me? Will make a mockery out of the government. The wires will have a field day.

"Even a 21-year-old undergraduate was not spared from the lawsuit-happy government of Singapore."

School wanna clamp down on me? Wah damn scary LOR.

There are some things worth toeing the line for. Others are not worth getting into trouble over. I wouldn't do an expose on some trivial thing in school, even if it makes for sensational news, because it's just NOT WORTH THE EFFORT (sorry ph, but i pick my fights).




2 comments:

the prole said...

hmmm...i concur with the problems of being 'stupid in singapore'...hahaa...the government is diamond part is funny...

but i feel that the fact that singaporeans can luff at ourselves, nevermind the foreigners, is a good sign. people of some countries cannot even luff at themselves lor. tts bad.

Ghim Lay said...

No place for stupid people in Singapore? I don't think so. Both my parents screwed up majorly in their studies a long time ago, but I don't think they are in dire straits. Besides, circumstances play a bigger part than screw-ups sometimes. They might have screwed up, but they took it upon themselves to make things right, and that was through educating my brother and I. And I do know people who never made it anywhere near a degree, but are way happier than many others who did.