Friday, December 29, 2017

So will any ITE guy date an RGS girl in 2018 ?

Yesterday, the Straits Times had an article on class divisions. The article attempts to conclude something that we already know - There are class divisions in Singapore.

The journalist did not explain why these class divisions exist, so it falls on the financial blogger to do so.

a) Freedom and Equality are trade-offs that every society makes. 

No society gets this trade-off right to the satisfaction of all its citizens. On one hand, we want to the freedom to apply our talents to become the best that we can be. On the other hand, we also want a certain measure of equality between all citizens.

Singapore has made a brutal choice between Freedom and Equality and we've largely chosen freedom : That is the freedom to accumulate wealth and the freedom to be rewarded based on merit. This has resulted in a low tax regime with an education system that works with the industry to rewards academic ability.

The folks who desire equality are truly the minority compared to Scandinavian countries. I see it even in Polytechnics where the students who look forward to University want a syllabus that prepares them for that eventuality and wishes that they did not have to move at the same pace as the average Polytechnic student.

b) Assortative Mating is one of the greatest contributors to inequality in modern society

People marrying others with the same paper qualifications and social economic status contributes up to 40% of income inequality but this is rarely emphasized or mentioned by policy makers. One reason is that policy makers also marry each other and would like to retain that freedom to do so. Otherwise, a socialist experiment would force a scholar to date and marry a truck driver. Unless a scholar vehemently disagrees with me on this blog, I doubt scholars (or truck drivers) would really like that.

These days, I see a lot of such "power couples" in SMU Law School and I am very impressed with the stability of these relationships.  One of the better inventions made by Millenials is the idea of intellectual compatibility. ( Campus romance was a lot more unstable and volatile 20 years ago. )

Ok, given that I have painted two fundamental truths about inequality and class divisions in Singapore, I think we are not doing some things right.

I think it is wrong to put the blame and responsibility solely on Singapore elites.

So far we've only been reading about the RI Principal admitting that his students now tend to come from the upper crust and need some intervention to mix around with middle income and working class kids.

But it takes two hands to clap. I have yet to see, for illustration purposes, the Changkat Changi Secondary School principal admit that his kids might be disadvantaged if they do not form networks with RI or ACS kids early in their lives. One possible way is to have a friendly game of sport where the schools mix up their students just to get them to bond with each other. I benefited from  plenty of exposure because I represented my secondary school in science competitions. We seriously need to stop seeing our elites as something to be salty about and instead, as a benchmark to compete against.

One of the reasons why I love Donald Trump is that thanks to populism in US, we're seeing genuine effort from elites to emphathize with the ordinary Singaporeans. Also, since the  2011 elections, Polytechnic graduates are finally seeing some increments. Our government is concerned as even a good government can be overthrown once class divisions become too pronounced in society.

But that's just one side of the equation. Ordinary Singaporeans must also step forward to be willing to mix and network with elites who are hungry to seek forgiveness from them.

Thanks to Heather Chua, we used to get upset when the RGS girl refuses to accept having a date with an ITE guy.

But now, I ask a deeper question:

How many ITE guys would want to date an RGS girl ?

There is no point applying social pressure to the RGS girls to be less elitist and  to be more accepting of ITE guys when ITE guys are scared shitless of dating them.

We'd just end up with better daughters, but no better age.

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