Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meritocracy - missing the point again?

Why Elites Fail
Author reviews his own book "Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy"?

But, [from the review] misses the whole point about meritocracy by the person who first conceptualized the word and it's meaning:

Down with meritocracy
The man who coined the word four decades ago wishes Tony Blair would stop using it

"I have been sadly disappointed by my 1958 book, The Rise of the Meritocracy. I coined a word which has gone into general circulation, especially in the United States, and most recently found a prominent place in the speeches of Mr Blair.

The book was a satire meant to be a warning (which needless to say has not been heeded) against what might happen to Britain between 1958 and the imagined final revolt against the meritocracy in 2033...."

For those who might want to know more about the author and origin of the 'dirty' word:
Michael Young, Baron Young of Dartington (9 August 1915 – 14 January 2002)

and of course, the word itself:


Black becoming white....  - History continues to be re-intepreted in the light of the present.
2 What is History - E.H. Carr

Truly - intepretation is relative?


Friday, September 09, 2011

To each by their greed, by each through their reach

Today's pithy thought.

"[desired] to each by their greed, [acquired] by each through their reach"

Capitalism; Legalism, whatever. Societyism.
What we 'do' in this society? What does this society 'offer' as a 'reward'?

Is the latest flatscreen TV offered as a reward, or as another chain?
Or the latest iPad?

Or power?

Referencing YB's question on whether a person returing to 'work' qualifies for any withdrawals from the state pension whilst being employed; as far as I understand, in other state pension systems, a person cannot demand from his pension if he is gainfully employed in some manner. [and thus the complex legal acrobatics required of many who know how to play that system.]

And the deeper question about Singaporean Ministers qualifying for state pensions and withdrawals from it(?) whilst still being sitting ministers, all because they 'reached' their mandatory pension-paying age of 55.

Does that then count as double-dipping? Since the purpose of a pension is to provide an equivalent 'lifestyle' as enjoyed at a person's retirement age. Does this question the continued need for outdated pension systems?

Is this Singapore equivalent of the UK MPs' expenses scandal?
[probably not; we don't have a 4th estate that does this kind of fecal-digging.]

Should it not be an issue? The state talks so much about the need for corporate governance; yet it is expert at avoiding state governance as an issue.

Which brings back the question of the definition of corruption in Singapore. If it is the state doing the corruption, is it still corruption? Why do we need to pay our ministers x-multiples of other societies' ministers?

Or just 'nepotism' in the wider familial sense of "taking care of my people [anyone who is 'for' me, according to their ability to take care of 'my' interests.] ". That's just being clannish.
[what is the difference between clannish and racist? species-ish? lingui-ish? thought without action?]

[desired] to each by their greed,
[acquired] by each through their reach

Happy serfing.


Monday, May 02, 2011

Remembrancing about the failures of our education policy on imports

As part of a remembrance against a troll
[not sure if it will end up being posted in the comments section. ask YB].

From my understanding during my time in poly and Uni (1998-2005)

A Malaysian friend who studied in poly.
Paid about the same level of school fees.
Officially the fees were around? 5-6k a year. After education subsidies, came down to about 1.2k or so a year.

I did not ask, but as he had signed the typical MOE bond to work 3 years in Singapore [or with a Singapore company], I was given the understanding that he did not pay that different the final amount on a per year basis.

Forward 3 years. He graduated. He worked a while. He then decided to further his studies in the UK. Forward another 5-6 years. He graduated the UK with a Masters. He came back to SG. Tried to find a job. For whatever reasons, he couldn't get employed [failing economy? lack of work experience? whatever].

He went back to Malaysia.

As far as I know, he served perhaps 1 year out of his 3 year bond at best. So what did Singapore benefit out of subsidizing his way in Poly?

Another friend in University
Also, another 3 year study bond unfinished. As far as I last new, he is enjoying working life in the Caribbean [tax reasons?!]

Brilliant person, fun to be with. Yes, his existence in school did improve our perspectives on things in this world. Yet, again, our MOE subsidy seems to not have benefited the Singapore economy.


Yes. there are many who do complete their 3 year working bonds, pay their 'taxes' [GST!] and perhaps choose to continue working here. However, at the core level, they have chosen to leave their home country to come to Singapore to study because the prospects here are better. When the prospects elsewhere are better than SG, having already left one country, what's to stop them from contemplating leaving for another?

World travelers they be. World travelers our own Singaporean graduates also are. Yet, we are tied by blood and and by soil. We drink our Newater and never complain about it, understanding the strategic need to not be at another's whims.

The point of all the above is - these foreign imports did take the place a Singaporean might have benefited from; and if they, for various reasons, did not complete their part of their bargain, does it not then require some rethinking on our end in this aspect of education policy?


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Politics of Civil Un-obedience

What powers do a community truly have?

To quote Frank Herbert (of Dune fame),

"The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it."
- spoken by the character "Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides"
- Dune, Frank Herbert

So, what power doth dis-enfranchised communities within Singapore have?

The power of civil un-obedience.
*NOTE: this is not quite the same as civil DISobedience.

What does concept of civil unobedience bear?

Well, simply - the collective power of actors in any given situation, to simply stop acting. No hurry, no fuss, no proclamation, no protest. The power the powerless wield by simply - not doing anything. The end result is an inaction that draws attention to the issues within the process, or to the situation itself.

Example - If the entire arts community (or anyone with an artistic bone, or claims by profession to be paid by the arts) decide that they do not wish to participate in the directing/choreographing/artistic involvement/etc of a National Day Parade, then, by extension, the technobureaucrats that run the city state would be deprived of its annual circus (from Latin: panem et circenses).

Or if they did, well, one can attempt to imagine engineers and bureaucrats trying to craft a performance together. All function and no soul.
(sign lights up - Applause!)

Is this possible without individual repercussions? difficult. Powers-that-be are powers-that-be for a reason being that they have learnt to wield their powers-given-to-them against those who cannot conceive of acting collectively. However, blue-flu days, or sickout days, are examples of unobedience. And this technobureacratic government "greatest representative" afterall once famously decried that it didn't see a need for the soft arts, and that hard maths & science were all that were needed for this society to advance?
(he has since seen the error of that view?)

And, if one is feeling unwell philosophically over a situation, why would that person be 'fit-for-work'?

Now, this post could be argued to be seditionary - afterall, one is raising the idea that is just about akin to a strike. But just exactly who are the powerless community here striking about? Lack of arts freedom? Freedom to think?

Now raise the idea to the political level - what if collectively, all non-PAP political parties in Singapore decide that instead of forever fighting from a losing (lost?!) position, to take the other extreme end of the political continuum - inaction? Would such an idea ever be possible? Is it desirable (by whom?!)

What is the serial-numbered un-candidate doing by not-doing? He is just practicing what the ruling party has desired for years - the non-concern/attention of politics. The apathy to all things political; since the average citizen does not know better, and that they should leave it to the 'good men' that the ruling party seeks and puts forth as candidates.

What are the potential consequences, if in the next election - at the end of Nomination Day's closing - the only candidates put forward from within the society only wear White? What message would that send out to the rest of the world about the quality of 'representative democracy' in this tiny island state that is more island-city? What happens if there was no Election Day? (teachers and civil servants would be happier from not having to be volunteered to return any counts!)

IT would truly exemplify a "...(servile) population, led by good men"? (or that White is so all-co-opting that only they have the good men, and nobody else has?)

What be the odds of such an event occuring? - next to absolute zero. All it takes is for one non-ruling-political party to break ranks, in the hope that by being the only 'party' other than white standing, draw to itself a greater proportion of the vote.

However, that would absolutely accomplish nothing - our system here is like the British in that it is "first-past-the-post". IT is of absolutely no importance parliamentarily just exactly what % of the vote you received - 49% still does not give you a single seat, unlike countries with proportional representation (seats that are awarded to a political party based on the % of votes it garners at an election).

So, that particular party breaking the 'ranks of inaction' would gather short-term visibility, win some brownie points with the voting population, but no real lasting outcomes in implementing whatever ideology or political view it espouses. Easy come, easier gone?

Would game theory then posit that - to bring about political process change, divorcing elections from the executive, that such collective action might bring about real change? Afterall, the futility of life is to keep trying to do the same thing, without changing anything in the hope that you get it right someday.

Would advocating such an electoral strategy be seditious? Standing for an election is a voluntary thing. (and $10,000 deposit against time wasters). So is choosing to work artistically on an NDP. Nobody can compel anyone to stand nor be artistic. Service to society has to be 'freely' (freely?!) offered.
(ahh, what is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness all about anyway? bleached-white handcuffs?)

Afterall, isn't unobedience is just apathy writ large?

[ideas can never be destroyed by swords - they can be forced away, but like that itch that cannot go away, someday, self-actualization might actually happen to the people of this island.]
[princes that forget that their power is given by their peasants, will one day be replaced from the peasants.]

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Religion requires rely (reliance?)


could the root entomology also use the wood rely?


to rely (third-person singular simple present relies, present participle relying, simple past and past participle relied)

  1. To rest with confidence, as when fully satisfied of the veracity, integrity, or ability of persons, or of the certainty of facts or of evidence; to have confidence; to trust; to depend; — with on, formerly also with in.
[source: Wikipedia]

Is faith just another facet of the same thought pattern?

And if rely does have entomological links, what does that mean?

Also found here in an attempted answer of what religion means:
"It is interesting to consider that the words 'religion', 'yoga', 'yoke', and 'knot' share an entomological genesis" - Claritycouragelove @(3) On March 11, 2009 at 11:50 am

Source: Wikianswers


Saturday, July 24, 2010

STDs are work-related injuries?


Sexually Transmitted Diseases CAN be work-related injuries.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

[another supporting rant to someone else's rant]


Jonno's perspective

and the comments at:

YawningBread's Wordpress

Ah hm,

just because it was rant-y in nature does not denigrate the viability of it’s perspective.

Overseas, Singlish (or more accurately malayglish or SEAglish?) creeps in when groups of Singaporeans/Malaysians/Indonesians congregate. Does that make it wrong? It makes us feel more comfortable with people who live in a similar region. (feels like home?)

As for whither Singaporeans can code-switch between ENGLISH as it is understood and Singlish as it is conveyed, I have serious doubts about the younger generations’ ability to do so in their minds. (and no, no statistics, just day-to-day dealings with them.)

Whither dialects or Mandarin at home, the very fact is that the move towards Mandarin was most probably politically motivated to tear Singaporeans away from their China-based clan/dialect identities back in the 60s/70s. Did it succeed? probably. I have no clan identity as a member of the Henghua dialect as I was never taught the dialect, nor given any exposure to it as a child.

We wear tribal identities as we desire. More Singaporean-born Chinese find tribal identities in football clubs than in their clan associations for one. Singapore wanted to create it’s own Chinese (non-dialect) identity in the 70s. It succeeded, at the cost which we pay today, being un-lingual instead of monolingual or bilingual.

Many in most other countries seem to survive on one language pretty fine. They are given the option of taking on second languages or third languages because they want to. Was the MTL policies needed in the 70s to distract the then politically-aware Chinese majority?

Now here is a sacred cow to slay – if all our educational syllabi are taught in the official working language of English – and mother-tongue-languages are taught in mother tongue, is it any wonder it feels alien in the classroom? Why even weigh mother tongue at all then in a PSLE/O&A-levels? After all, nobody overseas in the tertiary world cares if we have a second language proficiency, only that we can survive studying in whatever local language that university teaches in.

And as for the earlier comments who are dismissive, perhaps, it might also show generational gaps? Or am I overgeneralizing too? If YawningBread thought the perspective was different enough to put it separate and invite comment on it, I find it very sad that the first few comments are denigrating towards the perspective itself (and probably derogatory towards the ‘rant-ist’ in itself). And how those few comments seem to take certain ruling-party assumption/perspectives as sacred truth without question.

As for freedom of choice to learn languages – ha ha ha. Our overwhelmed school children have time for a 3rd language of choice given all the additional mandarin tuition that they undergo just to keep up?

Apologies to other mother tongues – but I can only speak from my perspective of the mandarin-MTL. I understand (probably from previous YB essays) that the Tamil-MTL students also have much difficulty dealing with it. And they get even less attention. (was it in another essay that also mentioned that our Malay-MTL requirements are way lower than our neighbours?)

As for knowing Singrlish, I am no expert, but the common use of it is in the substitution of mandarin (malay also?) grammar structure in an English sentence. And having the occasional chance to peek at essays that our teachers’ mark, and hearing their despair over their students’ indifference/inability to comprehend the concept of code-switching much less the issue of ever-evolving English grammar, I will firmly plant my flag with our guest rant-ist…. because it WILL (and already has) become a problem.

[I wonder who will start ranting on the SMS text appearing in english essays.]