Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Why we need to resist the idea of SAP Polytechnics and SAP Universities.


Of late, I've been catching up with secondary school pals to organize dinners with our secondary school teachers. With nostalgic reminisces of the past, there was also the digging up of more unpleasant memories in our secondary school days. My friend complained of a clique of classmates who were very insular and who sought to exclude him from recent social events only to have me remind him that there are real social outcasts like me who would never be in contact in the first place. 

Over time I realized that there is common thread of such cliques when we were growing up, so much so that a sociologist pal of mine calls them the "basketball team". I was even unfortunate enough to manage such a IT Team before but that's a story for another article. 

There are some traits of these cliques. The are mainly introverts, exceptionally traditional and conservative in outlook, lack openness to new experiences, quite agreeable, and prefer strength in numbers. They eat at the same places and almost always engage in the same activities like karaoke. 

Most importantly, they are always monoracially Chinese and speak mandarin. These cliques are part and parcel of our society and as the majority, we often forget that they exist.

For folks who grew up in the 80s and 90s, some of you who are unfortunate may be like me who joined a uniformed group and the basketball team always create trouble for minorities, sometimes just by being themselves. I remember Malay girls felt excluded in St Johns Ambulance Brigade in my secondary school and they lodged a complaint. The response was always ham-fisted, prohibiting the use of Mandarin, and enforcing the use of English always had the effect of making minorities even more unpopular with the basketball team. But this was the 80s and 90s, complaining often gets you nowhere and you get marked for your troubles.  

What is not known is that in a neighborhood school, as a potato eating Chinese who prefers Rick Astley over Wang Jie, we don't have it very much better than Malays, Indians or Eurasians, it's just that we are overwhelmingly minor in such environments. 

As such my social life only picked up after joining NJC.  

George Yeo had his book launch today and several friends were there for the launch. One has actually been sending snippet of his book to me and I thought I share my thoughts on his more controversial ideas. 

Apparently George Yeo likes the idea of converting Ngee Ann Polytechnic into an SAP Polytechnic and NTU into a SAP University. 

I'm not sure what the execution details will ever be, but the idea is that Singapore needs to produce a Chinese elite. This is not simply giving a chance to students to gain a deeper insight into Chinese Language and Culture, but a system to channel better students into these institutions, which are then practically segregated from other school systems. These systems then gain preferential access to scholarships (probably to China) and then go on to form business alumni groups to perpetuate the systemic advantages those ethnic Chinese already have.

In my humble opinion, if you have a system of elites where minorities account for less than 5% of the population, it should not be called the Special Assistance Plan, it should be called Singapore's Apartheid Policy. 

For the system I was familiar with, I was not even in a SAP school, and I already witnessed some alienation of minorities when basketball teams get formed in an ordinary neighborhood school. The system is even worse when you cordon off an segment of the elite and shut them off from regular contact with all others in the country. 

Now imagine what George Yeo is trying to establish in Singapore, a system of apartheid that extends a 4 year secondary school program into a program that can last up to 10 years as students go from a SAP Secondary School to SAP Poly to SAP University. I can even concede that some SAP students have access to some minorities in school, but these are the really progressive ones who are learning Chinese and who might have higher social economic status ( they are probably trilingual). 

Finally, as much a George Yeo has so much effusive praise for China, I'd like to remind the investment community that we are not really talking about ethnic Chinese, but Chinese Communists when we talk about China. In Chinese Communist ideology, capitalism is just a temporary state where they pretend to respect your freedom to make a better life for yourself. The final state of a Communist society is a society that no longer has the concept of private property. Ideally, you can't even have a private key to your crypto wallet.

SAP Polytechnics and SAP universities will just open new means for the Communist propaganda machine to entrench itself in Singapore, graduates will grow up to be like the pro-China boomers today.  Mind your own business, why you so kaypoh when Russia invades Ukraine. 

And one fine day, we will be forced to call another Operation Coldstore or Operation Spectrum to deal with these two institutions.

SAP Polytechnics and SAP Universities cannot be allowed to take root in Singapore.

Fight it like you fight the insipid basketball teams ! 

Hope you guys enjoyed the book launch !



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