This year’s Angus Ross Prize goes to Raymond Scott Lee Chian Hoong from Hwa Chong Institution. This is a photo of him and his Literature teacher Christian Simpson.

Photo from The Straits Times
Photo from The Straits Times

While we congratulate Raymond, the awful truth is that Singapore neighbourhood schools can never afford to hire a native speaker to teach English.

Such inequality is institutionalized by the Singapore Government through funding and the very expensive commodity called “education”. In the guise of Meritocracy, those who have done well are given more government funding and subsidies. This explains why schools like RI and Hwa Chong will never hear of overcrowded classroom size and “sharing” of laboratory equipment. Neighbourhood schools are typically underfunded, and you certainly will never see an Olympic-sized swimming pool like this one in Raffles Institution. Even in university level, the local universities like SMU and NUS have facilities many times than Singapore private schools offering overseas degrees locally like MDIS or Kaplan. The only explanation is government funding.

 

Photo from RI
Photo from RI

Inequality start young. Those of us who have done well know the difference between having tuition and not having one. Or those who have juggled studies with work will know the difference between having allowance or having to work for survival. Or the difference between a conducive studying environment or having to study in Macdonalds or the airport.

If you are doing well, be glad that you were entitled with privileges and be fully aware that anyone can do as well as you did if given similar grooming and opportunities. If you are not doing well, always remember that the path is always there for you, just a lot more inclined against you as compared to others.

Let’s be candid with ourselves, not every school is a good school after all.