Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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Jack Neo’s latest tribute to the PAP should be a comedy – How to train your minister :)

In the recent saga of primary school chinese examination weightage, it is amusing to note the about turn by the administration on one of its gaffes on its chinese language policy.

The Education Ministry has traditionally been one of the most problematic ministries within this Government. Over the years, not only has the inadequacies of our education system have been shown up by our children’s lack of gall, creativity and competitiveness, the sheer fact that on one hand we are touted that our local universities are world class and on the other hand our ruling elite send its young to foreign universities and our administrative service sends our scholars similarly to foreign universities is damning evidence of the fact that in the aspect of education, we are definitely and continually being shortchanged.

Singaporeans being shortchanged aside, the recent controversial remarks by the Bargain Hen, if not for the uproar from the Chinese community, might have turned into a possible change in Chinese Language education policy, if they went unchallenged.

I call Ng Eng Hen the Bargain Hen because way back just after the 2001 elections,  I, witnessed with aghast, a Channel News Asia news report footage of the then Ng Eng Hen facing off and answering questions from supposed grassroot leaders and members of the audience in a talk. During the talk, questions had been raised about the fact that the ministers’ salaries in tiny Singapore being the highest in the entire known world.

I say known world because, whilst unlikely, there is still a possiblity that an alien race, unknown to us, might have similar policies that pays its ministers just as much or even more – even though they might be as arrogant and incompetent as they are. 🙂

The Bargain Hen’s reply from the panel was with gusto and arrogance and,  as far and as accurately as i can recall, goes as follows:-

“Let me tell you, [index finger pointing] what you are paying for the quality of your ministers is a bargain because, i need only work half as hard and i can make five times as much outside [with hand gestures].”

Someone with love for this country needs to access the Channel News Asia archives to pull out that famous footage to verify the exact words for the Bargain Hen’s sake and also my humble self, put it up on YouTube so that Singaporeans can appreciate why i would dearly call Ng Eng Hen – the Bargain Hen.

In this episode, our Prime Minister was forced to come out to face the Chinese press and community to backtrack on what the Bargain Hen had said. In doing so, our Prime Minister displayed more smoothness and tact. He reaffirmed his cabinet’s committment to the Chinese Language as much as he would want you to believe and also identified a few more ways to change how the Chinese Language should be taught.

Note the cabinet’s position change from “change in examination weightage” to “change in teaching methodology”. Yet another change. 🙂

Honestly, I do wonder whether the cabinet’s need for constant change is a philosophical need on their part? [which i do not see being manifest in their political beliefs and system] or is it just plain and simple – The Cabinet is experimenting with our children’s education and correspondingly our children’s future?

In short, the fact that streaming policies change every other year;

The fact that there was already a recent change in the Chinese Language Pedacogy in 2005;

The fact that highly paid Bargain Hen’s suggested change is now shown to be ill-thought;

is proof that PAP ministers often act by shooting in the dark and not really knowing what to do with our country. 🙂

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with PM Lee Hsien Loong about the need for the institution of 6 levels of proficiency, my view that the 6 levels of proficiency should be instituted not so much for the teaching of Chinese Language but for ensuring competent political leadership – To sieve out those who can make it and those who cannot.

These are my suggested Levels of Proficiency for ministers

Elementary Level

1. To be able to be calm and collected enough not to burst out crying on nomination day / polling day.
2. To possess the humility of public service – please admit that your salary is amongst the world’s highest and in the same breath don’t go around claiming that what the country is paying for you is a bargain.
3. To be smart enough to play smokescreen and divert attention by changing the topic of discussion.

Intermediate Level

4. Be humble enough to see your own errors and admit the same – in this case your own arrogance and greed.
5. Be able to talk sense in parliament and do good for the country when it comes to national policies.
6. To be able and willing to further democracy for the good of a nation despite the obvious threat to your own well being.

[An example of how the lack of practice of democratic principles affects this nation – Ng Eng Hen is in Bishan ToaPayoh GRC – This GRC has been uncontested since GE2001, the Bargain Hen together with his team leader our esteemed Wong Kan Seng strolled into Parliament on two occasions 2001 and 2006. Wong Kan Seng’s performance is sad to say nothing better than dismal :). I need not say more]

In this day and age of untold hardship and uncertainty faced by the born and bred Singaporean with the backdrop of uncertain national well-being given the manner in which our National Reserves are being managed, some respite needs to be given to our people to loosen them up abit.

I think the latest movie Jack Neo should come up with in his next release would be the movie… How to train your minister. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


May 13, 2010 - Posted by | Politics

1 Comment »

  1. […] Discourse – Chia Ti Lik’s Blog: Jack Neo’s latest tribute to the PAP should be a comedy – How to train your minister 🙂 – Readings From A Political Duo-ble: Slice of 70s history – Mass media consumption patterns in […]

    Pingback by The Singapore Daily » Daily SG: 14 May 2010 | May 14, 2010 | Reply

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