06 October 2005


My recent posts have attracted some email feedback from readers.

I'll say this just once: I'm not a school superintendent in charge of a certain western cluster in Singapore. In fact, I'm not even employed by the Ministry Of Education. There may be a low-level witch hunt going on to find out the identity of the snitcher who's posting all the embarrassing photos of schools in Singapore, and it's fair to pre-empt the loss of innocent livelihoods and career advancements by making this statement.

That said, this will be my final school story for some time to come.

We were at another primary "super school" in the west of Singapore. Yes, there are super schools even at primary level, and even the Ministry uses such language in everyday conversations. It wasn't too long before all of us noticed a most unique thing about the students - a few of them had uniforms decked with more badges than an active scout.

We counted: these students had 6 to 8 badges, some shaped like name-tags, some like circular military badges. And we took a close look. The badges were:

Star Pupil
Group Leader
Science Monitor
Maths Monitor
Arts Monitor
Energy Savings Monitor

When we raised the issue, the teachers explained that:
1. Good pupils tend to be given positions of authority
2. Those who lead in one area can obviously lead in other areas
3. Therefore, there are a few students in each class who wear badges, and when they do, they wear many badges.

Yes. I can see why we must start them young, so that the students can be groomed into future leaders of Singapore, who are dedicated to the concepts of meritocracy and incorruptibility.

This is Napola. These are Minilee's Elites.

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