There are two classes of Singaporeans today.
One grew up in a good school and spend their time attending tuition and attending private training in music or sports. Their cohort are of similar backgrounds and they always compare their grades and ranking in class. With all the time and resources spent on education, this group attend good schools and eventually get into JCs then into established universities without having to take up a loan. Those who attend local universities even get subsidies from the government. They study full time without worries about living allowance and school fees, and get good grades, and some fortunate ones get scholarships. After graduation they get internships or land themselves a graduate post in the civil service or multi-national companies (MNCs) through family referrals without a need for working experience.
The other class of Singaporeans grew up in neighbourhood schools and their only supplementary are only remedial lessons offered by schools. Their family cannot afford tuition and their parents work from morning to night. They spend their free time hanging around in malls and the neighbourhood, and the typical expectations from their grades is a pass from their parents and school teachers. After all, nobody expect them to score A. Many got into polytechnics or ITEs and work part time to alleviate the financial stress off their parents. Some who are better get into universities, but unfortunately, many could not afford their university schools fees and have to work part time. Some chose to work full time for a few years and study their degrees part time. Most who took the degree route working part time ended up with grades not so outstanding because they have to juggle with work commitments. They took up education debt as much as $24,000 with no subsidies from the government. After graduation, they are unable to find a job because they have no referrals and relevant working experience. They ended up in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with bosses telling them their degrees are irrelevant to their work scope.
The cycle for this 2 classes of Singaporeans repeats.
In Singapore, Meritocracy is used as an excuse to justify the support rich people enjoyed in their formative years, and conveniently, an attack on the poor for not “working hard”. Nobody is ever on a level playing field even in Singapore which boast of “world class” ITEs and Polytechnics. Your certificate and diploma will never be as exclusive as a NUS degree.
The Singapore Government has also instituted social barriers to ensure there is no social mobility, like not having a Minimum Wage, providing free education up to tertiary level and providing a state-funded allowance to all students. Again of course, in the name of “Meritocracy” why poor people should not be helped.
These are government policies and hence the essential solution is a political one. A change in necessary government policies warrant a necessary political change. Please remove the PAP out of power regardless of the constituency you are in because election decisions is always national.
This is an after-thought from Auckland-based Toby Morris’s comic.