Government should focus on job creation, not dictating whether degrees are important

September 3, 2014 by · 2 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
03 September 2014

The government has in recent times been trying to de-emphasize the importance of degrees. Mr Khaw Boon Wan said in 2013 that Singaporeans do not need to be university graduates to be successful. PM Lee repeated a similar point in his National Day rally speech when he said that a university degree need not be the only route to a fulfilling career for young Singaporeans.

On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean further added that the abundance of higher education opportunities now means that a degree is not quite the “one-way ticket to success” it once was (see here).

Mr Teo also said, “Universities must provide their graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare them for the job market. Otherwise, they may be graduates, but they may not be suited for the job market as they do not have the skills and knowledge that the industry requires.”

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As a parent, how do YOU talk to your kids about sex?

September 2, 2014 by · 2 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
02 September 2014

In school, we have sex education classes for teenagers. But what about sex education classes for parents? Surely, if we want parents to be able to educate their kids well on matters of the heart and the flesh, they should also be provided with sex education classes.

The underlying assumption of course is that parents are mature and know it all, so what is there to teach them? Well, I suspect a lot. I feel parents sometimes need sex education classes as much as their growing kids. And for much the same reason — if they can’t handle the issue of human sexuality well, how can they pass on proper values and be good role models? Surely no right-thinking parent would expect schools to do all the work for them.

Let me just give a simple example to explain why I have brought up this topic today. On the internet (see Melissa Tsang’s blog post for instance) as well through some personal observations in real life, I have noticed that when parents first realize that their kids have had sexual encounters with their significant others before the parents feel they are ready to, these might be some of their responses:

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Are Singaporeans ready to deny PAP its 2/3 majority in Parliament?

August 27, 2014 by · 3 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
27 August 2014

Are Singaporeans ready to vote in enough opposition MPs to deny the PAP its 2/3 majority in Parliament? Will Singaporeans be brave and courageous enough to step out of their comfort zones and embrace change?

Through the decades, the PAP has ruled Singapore in an authoritarian fashion, stamping out dissent with either detention or the use of lawsuits, and only allowing moderate voices or voices that it deems acceptable to be heard. But this gradually changed with the advent of the internet. As more and more people took to the internet to air their grouses and debate national issues, the old PAP tactic of censorship began to unravel.

Singaporeans are now more acutely aware of the problem facing our nation than ever before. Even those who are not net savvy can be heard sometimes in coffeeshops and hair dressing saloons discussing the problems related to foreigners and the cost of living. But will all these motivate sufficient numbers to vote for a decisive change in our political landscape?

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Honour Singapore is dominated by Christian leaders of Full Gospel Business

August 7, 2014 by · 9 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
07 August 2014

According to the website of the newly launched non-profit organization Honour Singapore, the organization “is a multi-racial, multi-religious, national initiative that seeks to promote a culture of honour and honouring in Singapore in the belief that this is an essential attribute for the continuing peace, progress, and prosperity of Singapore“.

The organization claims it will embark on engagement programmes such as talks and conferences, involving schools and youth groups. It is also said to be in discussion with the Ministry of Education to develop initiatives for schools. The organization’s website encourages the public to send in stories that 
demonstrate “honour in action”.

However, despite its claims of being multi-religious, its Board of Directors is comprised entirely of leaders of Full Gospel Business (FGB) Singapore, a Christian outfit whose stated mission is to bring the ministry of the Christian faith into the marketplace. Furthermore, Mr Jason Wong, the Executive Director of Honour Singapore, is also the Chairman of Focus On The Family, a Christian group well-known for adopting a discriminatory attitude toward the LGBT community under the advocacy of so-called “family values”.

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No need for Faisal to apologize

August 6, 2014 by · 4 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
06 August 2014

Workers’ Party MP Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap has apologized for accusations that he made in Parliament against the HDB, because he refused to substantiate his claims by publicly disclosing personal details of those involved.

During the debate on the Family Justice Bill, Mr Faisal had said that when he was a counsellor, a couple approached him for assistance with their housing issues. The couple had allegedly told Faisal that an officer from the HDB advised them to file for divorce, so that the woman would be eligible to purchase a flat under the Singles Scheme. The couple could then subsequently remarry. This accusation, if true, would be very damaging to the integrity of the officer who made the suggestion.

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The NLB fiasco

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By Dr Wong Wee Nam
16 July 2014

The National Library Board (NLB)’s recent announcement to remove 3 children’s books from circulation does not surprise me. Such hasty knee-jerk reactions have happened with the authorities in the past. So is the speed with which the authorities take on the role as a guardian of societal moral values when there is no need to.

The decision to remove the books disappoints me. The decision to pulp the books disappoints me even more. All this while I thought only the Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang would destroy books that he disapproved of. I never expected NLB to be so dramatic.

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Time to take a stand against bigotry and intolerance

July 13, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Written by Ng E-Jay
13 July 2014

On Sunday, over 400 people turned up at the National Library Building atrium for a book reading session organized by two concerned parents, Ms Jolene Tan and Ms Germaine Ong, who wanted to emphasize the importance of children’s literature and its crucial role in extending horizons, broadening minds and encouraging empathy toward those who live in different circumstances.

Entitled “Let’s Read Together“, this event was also billed as a peaceful statement” against the recent decision by the National Library Board (NLB) to pulp — indeed, completely censor — two children’s book, namely, “And Tango Makes Three” (by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson), and “The White Swan Express” (by Jean Davies Okimoto).

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Why has the National Library Board become another thought police?

July 10, 2014 by · 4 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
10 July 2014

Recently, the National Library Board (NLB) took on the role of thought police by taking down two children’s books, “And Tango Makes Three” (by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson), and “The White Swan Express” (by Jean Davies Okimoto).

The NLB claimed it took down these two books in response to “complaints from the public”. Actually, the complaints originated from the Facebook Group with the title “We Are Against Pinkdot“, which the founders initiated to oppose the advancement of homosexual rights and other fundamental civil liberties.

The opposition to homosexual rights stems primarily from religious beliefs as well as indoctrination in a backward and outdated social culture that practices discrimination against people based on their sexual differences rather than on their character and integrity.

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2-4 person GRC system better than NSP’s CRM proposal

July 4, 2014 by · 5 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
04 July 2014

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has proposed that the GRC system be scrapped, and to ensure adequate representation of minority races in Parliament, that a new Constituency Reserved for Minorities (CRM) scheme be implemented. Unfortunately, I feel that NSP’s CRM scheme is not well thought-out.

Under NSP’s proposed CRM scheme, all constituencies will revert to SMCs, and the government will designate that some constituencies can only be contested by minority races. I do not believe the government should be given such power, in addition to its ability to redraw electoral boundaries at will. Already, there is already the perception that the government redraws electoral boundaries to maximize the PAP’s chances at the polls. It is unwise to give the government even more power than it already has.

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Let teachers focus on teaching

July 2, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Written by Ng E-Jay
02 July 2014

It is a well-known fact that our education system has deep flaws. Firstly, we are producing students who excel in examinations and display a high degree of technical competence, but we are not producing thinkers, innovators and creative minds. Secondly, our teachers are over-worked, under-paid, under-appreciated, and have onerous demands placed on them that distract them from their primary duty, which is to import knowledge, values, and help mould character.

Recently, it was reported that the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) conducted by the OECD in 2013 found that teachers in Singapore work an average of 48 hours a week, or 10 hours longer than the global average. Some teachers have countered this finding, saying that their work week is longer than that, with many putting in 10 to 12 hour days. (See here)

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