In a media interview with state media ChannelNewsAsia, Minister of State Dr Janil Puthucheary told the reporter that Singaporeans should stop blaming the government for their own mindsets.

The new citizen Minister from Malaysia said that the ruling party PAP government is not to be responsible for creating a paper-chase society, and countered that Singaporeans, especially parents, should stop blaming the government:

“I think it’s the role of Government to provide an education system that drives a national benefit and it has done so. You can’t lay every single thing at the feet of the Government. There are plenty of governments around the world who don’t have the focus that we have had on education, in the way that we have had, but you find just as much educational stress among the young and parents. It’s not just because of policy and it’s not just because of our education system.”

When enquired about stress and workload of teachers, Minister Janil Puthucheary said that teachers should manage these stress by themselves because it is part of their “professional development”. The government will not reduce workload but instead send teachers for “upgrading courses to manage stress”:

“But part of professional development is to help teachers manage this aspect of their life – the administrative overheads, the organisational issues, the workload issues and so having that ability to then have that professional development not just focused on instructional quality or teaching quality, but on how do you manage your time, how do you manage your stress, how do you manage the workload. That is also part of what we should do.”

The Minister then expressed his support for the Internal Security Act (ISA) – a draconian political tool with indefinite detention powers abused by former dictator Lee Kuan Yew. The ISA jailed the Minister’s father during the 1960s.

“I think we have to do what works for Singapore. We have to do what works for our people. I think many of the people who reject that point of view are taking a very singular moral and philosophical point view. They are taking a point of reference, often external, and holding that up as the ideal. I think there is no absolute either way. We are not absolute pragmatists. We are not absolute idealists.”

You may read the full interview here.