Singapore’s journey to success is one of a clear path—defined by good grades, good schools and eventually, a good job. Is this really our life as a Singaporean? Being the most expensive city to live in with one of the best education catered, are our lives just like this? Do we have to conform to society/government’s expectations of us? So, what if we are just a tiny ‘red dot’ on the world map? Do we have to follow the trend and be conformed to it just because we are small? If we do not do well in our academic, we will most probably get judged as a weak student by everyone.
Parents will start to look for additional tuitions to supplement your academic needs, friends will stop approaching you for help with questions as they will feel that your answers are unreliable, and teachers will start to increase your workload as you are considered as the weaker student. People jump to conclusion too quickly in Singapore. One badly done examination will allow so much attention and focus on so many factors.
Singaporeans have to understand grades does not define your intellect. Even so, doing badly or not as good as usual might be due to several external factors such as family problem, relationship problem and more which we are unaware of.Furthermore, if you are placed in a bad or neighbourhood school in Singapore, you are basically deemed as a bad student regardless of your grades. In Singapore, it sucks to wear that uniform of yours if you were from a neighbourhood school. Regardless of your actions outside be it major or minor, people will just deem you as a public nuisance without investigating the issue. We have a straight and direct mindset where bad schools produce bad students, which will cause harm to the society of Singapore because they are “not successful” or “useless”.
To be successful in life, you have to be rich. To be rich, you got to find a good job and to do so, you have to be graduating with a good degree or diploma at least. As quoted from TODAYonline, Amid the economic slump and cautious hiring outlook, a smaller proportion of fresh graduates from NTU, NUS, and SMU (the 3 best local universities) landed permanent full-time jobs within six months of graduation is 80.2 percent last year, compared to 83.1 percent in 2015. To add on, the percentage is still constantly decreasing as the year goes. In order to be the best country in the world, the government believes we should conform to what a best first world country will stay as.
According to the Minister in charge of Smart Nation, Vivian Balakrishnan, conforming to global standards and leading the charge in crafting them, is foundational to Singapore’s plan of becoming a smart city in which the entire country and all the objects within are computerized and wired up to the internet. (Tech in Asia, 2015) The government of Singapore demands all Singaporeans to be ‘perfectionist’ just because we are a small country with very limited resources. Being afraid of any prejudice made against our country, we chose to follow the current trend globally and be safe. However, all these are assumptions we made without any evidence. Despite so, does any of us individually have any courage to voice out purely our own opinions and correct the government if they were at wrong? I doubt so.
Mentioned in The Straits Time, when a Chinese student, Li Kaihua, was in high school, she was afraid of saying the wrong things in class, for fear of looking foolish. Absorbing whatever the teacher said, “like a sponge” was easier than being placed in the spotlight. Ms. Li, who is now a postgraduate English student at Tianjin’s Nanlcai University, says: “When we were young, if a hero appeared in the text, our teachers always told us: ‘This is a hero, you should respect the hero and learn from him.
But things have changed. Nowadays the teachers always ask: ‘Do you think he is a hero?’ And the kids really have different opinions. They have their own ideas on what heroes or idols are.” In Singapore, we are too conformed to the rules and structured laws that was built up to the extent we dare not question the authority.
Students have fear of being judged just by a simple act of clarifying doubts within the classroom. Hence, knowing that there is a big jump from the culture of not speaking up in polytechnic, junior colleges, and SMU, the government made amendments to the class participation counts to a significant proportion of the final grade to encourage students to voice up their opinions.