When addressing university students, minister-without-portfolio and NTUC chief Chan Chun Sing chided S’poreans for being obsessed with academic grades.
He cited the example of the management team at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), saying they do not have straights As results, and Singaporeans should emulate them by constantly thinking about “who is going to take their lunch”.
I spoke to group of parents who said the system was too difficult, too rigid, too much tuition… So I asked, ‘Will you stop sending your son to tuition?’ And they said yes, they will stop if their neighbours stop first.
…Don’t become a yardstick society in which we aimlessly, blindly chase goals regardless of what we’re good at.
…This is something I fear for our society – where everyone goes after the same thing, the same yardstick, and we end up in what sociologists call a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’.
But the former SAF scholar and Chief of Army also talked about Singapore’s brand of “meritocracy” by citing himself as an example of “a single-parent family child” attaining success.
But what if he hadn’t scored good grades? As a TRE reader gvbhunjimk put it: Kee Chiu, in the first place you yourself try going to ITE/stop schooling right after secondary school/study in private see if you today still can get to become a minister and paper general with same speed/possible at all. If it can, then you come talk to us.
Another reader skin so thick put it this way: Why does this toy soldier general thinks he can lecture against the obsession with grades when it is his grades that got him the OMS & PS? Did he not himself all out pursue his quest for academic excellence = top grades in his salad days, knowing a scholarship will get him and his family out of the working class enclave of Macpherson HDB estate?
If he doesn’t feel awkward about giving such advice, there is something wrong about him. Maybe, as i see it, he came from the bottom 10%, single parent family, poor, no social status, no power, no authority, a nobody. Once he became a scholar, overnight, and on a fast track, everything changed for him. Now he has money, power, authority, career, political star. In between, there is a chasm, from nothing to everything. Perhaps it explains why sometimes, he seems … nouveau riche.
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Someone who benefited (and still benefis) from the PAP administration’s fixation with academic results, should not tell “strivers” not to strive for similar excellence. Is he trying to close the door after he has become part of the natutal aristocracy? Whatever, his remarks smack of hyprocisy and invites ridicule. Not the way to bcome a future PM or even a DPM.
Leave the clowning to s/o JBJ, Dr Chee or M Ravi.
Some other good comments by TRE readers
Xmen: The whole education system (e.g. streaming, admissions) is based on grades. What is he talking about?
eltmg: Monetary Authority of Singapore study of the top echelons, does this includes our GLCs, GICs, stat boards, cabinet ministers?
Which parents does not want to groom their children for the opportunity to have the career path you are on?
Mr Chan, pls share with us what you need to do to get a SAF scholarship. This would be a great guide to all parents in Singapore.
nihon: how stupid can he be?
first, he said, ‘the poor need concern not money.’
now, ‘no need 4 As’. so can psc award scholahsleep without considering the grades? hypocrite.
no one has 4 As at mas cos they are the older generation, where 2 As and 2 Bs could score a scholahsleep.
now, 4 As also can’t get any awards, unless with distinctions in s papers and eca/cca scores.
unless you belong …
people has broken the A level code. its just a rote learning exercise. the whole system does not develop thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs. only exam smart clowns and useless bookworms.