Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Episode 659: HQ Attachment Day 7

I am not normally an apologist for the government, but it's becoming truly dispiriting how naïve some of my peers appear to be. First there was that article in The Straits Times by a young reporter lamenting the influx of foreigners (when she ironically went to an overseas university) and proclaiming how all the current grousing is perfectly natural and justified. Now I've just finished reading an essay in Ceriph entitled 'Independence', in which the writer trots out the same tired sentiments regarding our government and its hand in producing the current state of Singaporean society, with its political apathy and tendency to behave like an obedient sheep. Such criticisms are nothing new, nor are they entirely unjustified, but it was the writer's envisioned solution that bothered me. Not only was it simplistic, i.e. our education system needs to become less rigid, but his essay ended off with precisely the sort of platitudes that the government likes to declaim: 'We are a shining beacon of racial and religious harmony, sharing a bond of 44 years.' Let's leave aside the fact that MOE gets too much flak for everything that supposedly is wrong about our education system. I mean, we've changed a lot in recent years, and while a lot of the changes might seem overly optimistic now, and we almost certainly still haven't got it exactly right yet (assuming that's even possible), it doesn't seem fair to criticise when changes in education are the sort of thing that filter down over whole cohorts. Granted, it means some students get the short end of the stick no matter what we do, but change and its effects aren't some magical overnight panacea. So the platitudes. It baffles me that the writer couldn't see how his own writing was guilty of the same unreflecting attitude he charged Singaporeans with. Simply arguing against what the government does isn't displaying and exercising 'freedom of thought'. I think he's forgetting that all governments have a vested interest to hang onto power. It's what they do once they have that power that matters more, if you ask me. I suppose I'm just disappointed that an obviously educated individual has failed to go beyond a superficial critique of the way Singapore is to examining the sociopolitical reality in which any society must function. The clincher? Someone thought his essay was worth printing.

Anyway, work this morning was okay. This attachment is really changing my impressions of the media, I'll say that much. I'll never read anything in the papers quite the same way again. It was also fairly disturbing to see how hungry the reporters were to get a piece of SMS Fu. I swear one of them would have marched right over and accosted her, except it was pretty clear I was hanging around to prevent just that. We were stuck longer than expected at Republic Polytechnic, so we just ended up having lunch there and arriving back at HQ at 2 pm. Drafted a very brief report for one of my projects, and finally got confirmation that I need to go ahead with the report on the other one, so I've got something to do for the next couple of days. I've also realised that my blogging stint at Incwriters starts on Thursday, and after my colleague kindly informed me that for an online outlet, my post was probably too long and chunky. Guilty as charged. I've thrown it out completely and started from scratch, and the first post is almost done. It's a lot snappier, I hope, and I might be able to finish a second one tonight. Busy, busy, busy...

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