Monday, August 28, 2006

Impressing the JC kids

Am still going through and sorting out my personal items; this time round I found a booklet I had received from one of the 'tea' sessions MINDEF had held for prospective SAF scholars and their parents.

The entire first page was on a quote by (then) SM Lee:

a "passport" that you can flash


"I would want a career which would give me options because you cannot foretell what openings the future will have.

So I would go for an SAF Overseas Scholarship or Overseas Merit Scholarship as the first step - what you want in life is a passport you can flash.

...And if you take an SAF scholarship, an Overseas Merit Scholarship, there are one of about 50 each year. Any minister, any civil servant, any judge, looks through your CV and say: Ah, one of 50 for that year."

Lee Kuan Yew's address to NUS undergraduates on 29 July 1994

I can still remember the whole of Raffles City Ballroom was packed with prospective scholars (meaning impressionable JC kids), their folks, past and present scholars (many in their No.3 with bars, crabs and stars) and included the PS for Defense. It was hard not to be caught up in that atmosphere and wish to be one of the men in uniform.

Anyway, back to the above quote. Isn't it inappropriate for MM Lee to say that to the NUS students? Afterall, they were not on any of the mentioned scholarship schemes. Kinda like telling them "hey, you are not one of the elites."

Nowadays, the best would go for bond free overseas scholarships.

On a side note: What are your thoughts about this thread?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Life is like a book...;Talkingcock in Parliament

Been home and have been going through my piles of stuffs. Rediscovered many items which I once considered very important but are now put aside and are gathering dust.

Like my secondary school autograph book. On the first page I wrote:



The responses (in the subsequent pages) were mostly very funny, and you know, the type that comes together with comical drawings and all that cheesy shit.


I went for the "Talkingcock in Parliament" session last night. It was a blast, and I particularly enjoyed Ruby Pan's piece on accents.

You can see some of the pics of the event from Ashke's entry. More here and here.

How very appropriate.

Technorati tag:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Parts of the NDR 2006

I didn't watch the National Day Rally last night, despite the local free-to-air stations' complete coverage to the PM's speech. I figured that the local propaganda papers would make it their dominant theme for the next several days, and besides, watching Man Utd thrash Fulham was more exciting. This was of course much to my parents' chagrin. (Eh, how come you are so NOT interested in the going-ons of this country?)

Thank god for my family's cable TV subscription and for there being two TV sets.

Anyway, there was nothing new about the Rally. Just the old issues reiterated, with a new (feel-good, pat-in-the-back) spin of course. A point stood out -

From Today:

THAT Singapore passport you hold is a ticket to many places, and that is bittersweet knowledge to Singapore's leaders.

The country's grooming of talent has been so successful and its branding is so strong that Singaporeans are being headhunted by developed nations eager to snag those skills.

And these countries make no effort to even hide their covetous glances.

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was in Australia recently, the vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales — where scholarships are specifically targeted at top polytechnic graduates from Singapore — told him: "We are happy to take them in as students, but we are even happier when they stay."

On several occasions, Singapore's top young brains have turned down its own prestigious Public Service Commission scholarships to take up full-fee, bond-free scholarships offered by Ivy League universities in the United States.

To these overseas Singaporeans, Mr Lee's message last night was that it was fine to leave the country's shores for the exposure and experience elsewhere — just remember to come home one day.

I am glad they have acknowledged that the days of monopoly of 'talent' by the govt. agencies are long over. And there is no denying that there are a great many more opportunities outside of the little red dot. To consign yourself to a single company/organisation which you know nothing much about for six years immediately after graduation will be a recipe for disaster and disaffection.

In the new-age economy (as what the political masters like to use this term on the peasants), we go where the jobs are, or interests take us. And not restrict ourselves to 'nations' which are artifical modern-day constructs anyway.


There are graduates, and there are graduates. Remember this? Some graduates are more equal than others.

Hunger - you will need this to succeed, anywhere in the world.


Technorati: Singapore, national day rally

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Extremely Bored...

It is terrible, especially during the weekdays, with friends working and I have nothing much to do at home. Weekends aren't better.

Hmm...a week's break should be enough. Now I think I have taken too many days off. Too bad there is no BlogCon this year.

Sian, sian, sian!


Yesterday was spent at the Confluence 2006 Ministerial seminar with Teo Chee Hean. I think there were too many young, idealistic huns attending, and I felt old amongst them. (I also did not have the spiky hairstyle you see.) The earlier talk given by Lim Der Shing of was interesting and it was the only one in that session that did not make me fall asleep.

Hats off to him for taking the plunge into setting up his online business, and making it work.

Free Image Hosting at

Press reports of that here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Scholar family backgrounds; Singapore commuters

I was in the car with my folks when I got to know that this year's batch of President scholars was announced late last week.

(Leaving aside the topic of how *shitty* some of these 'scholarships' can be...)

Question: How many of the President scholarships go to the lower income group(s)? Seemed to me the last several batches of them were all from privileged/upper middle class backgrounds.


Is it just me or are Singapore commuters generally unfriendly/unhappy? At the very least, smile if eye contact is made?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Violinist to go to Curtis afterall

With a $75K bond no less. Well, I guess it is a compromise.

Straits Times 5 Aug?

VIOLIN prodigy Ike See will get to pursue his dreams of becoming a top musician after all.

The 17-year-old has received the green light from the Defence Ministry (Mindef) to defer his national service while studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States.

Mindef has given him the go ahead to study a two-year music diploma course, instead of a four-year degree programme,

After two rejections from the Mindef to defer for a four-year course, as a Ike decided to reapply for a deferment for a diploma programme.

He was rejected by Mindef the first time, which said that the diploma programme was too similar in nature to the degree course.

But the family continued to pursue the matter and sent in another appeal.

Their persistence paid off.

In a letter sent to Ike about a week ago, Mindef said that was prepared to grant Ike a two-year deferment after considering the appeal and assessing that the two-year diploma programme at Curtis is 'equivalent to the first education bar of GCE A levels and polytechnic diploma.'

Thankfully Mr Wang's prediction doesn't come true.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Singaporean Grads’ employer of choice

Singaporeans never cease to amaze me. Or maybe the sample was biased. Anyway, I had a good laugh. Just the type of news to brighten up your day (in a morbid way).

Posted: 03 August 2006 1203 hrs

SINGAPORE : Local company Singapore Airlines has emerged top as the employer of choice in a survey of new graduates.

The JobsFactory survey asked 840 graduates from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University who they thought was the best employer, based on factors such as good career growth, pay and perks, and brand name.

Singapore Airlines beat companies like Citibank, IBM and Proctor and Gamble to lead the overall rankings.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*Star, was the employer of choice in the government and quasi-government category. - CNA /ct