Speaking at the Singapore International Technical Vocational Education and Training Conference today (Nov 3), newbie Education Minister Ong Ye Kung told students that when choosing careers or courses, they should not choose based on salaries and social status, and should rather “follow the heart”:

“Students should choose their courses and careers wisely…based on more of the heart. Choices should be based on a good understanding of self – one’s passion and aptitudes, and also a good understanding of the course and career – not just based on salaries or perceived status of a profession.”

The first term MP and Minister however did not point out that Singapore students have to choose a good salaried discipline or career because of the exorbitant cost of living in Singapore. Housing prices in Singapore is the 4th most expensive in the world and more Singaporeans are delaying family planning like marriage and giving birth due to weak income.

Engineering, Information Technology, Art and Music careers are lowly valued in Singapore and pay some 40% below market rate as compared to first world countries. Many Singapore students prefer to take law, medicine, business or accounting courses because of the higher salaries and the better prestige that comes with it.