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Me in the Media #6: Your Insights (elitism) - My Crappy LJ [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Me in the Media #6: Your Insights (elitism) [Aug. 30th, 2008|04:15 pm]
Review - Insight
Your Insights

Straits Times, 16 December 2006

Last week, Insight looked at whether Singapore's system of meritocracy was breeding elitism and class division, and whether accusations of elite arrogance were justified and not merely the result of envy. Here's what readers have to say

'In Singapore, only graduates climb the social ladder in the government sector. This could be the biggest flaw of our meritocracy system, in which paper qualifications matter more than anything else.

'Our society cannot depend on these so-called high-flyers or academic elite to hold our social fabric together. We need a mixture of people to build a brighter future.'

MS RENE YAP, in an e-mail

'What I have against the elite is that they have it easy in Singapore. Many rise through the ranks, especially in the civil service and Government-linked companies, just by avoiding mistakes. In some exceptional cases, they rise despite making mistakes.

'Thus, in many cases, the extraordinary ability of an elite is a myth. It is a myth perpetuated by people who call themselves the elite, and they do so for obvious self-interest.'

MR YEO KER GANG, in an e-mail

'We must not confuse qualification with education...Cultivated or educated people will protect the weak from the oppressive strong, help the needy by teaching the poor how to fish as well as giving them the fish, when necessary.

'Are our elite educated? If so, how many are social entrepreneurs who help society? Having achievements does not equate to helping fellow countrymen. So the question is: Are our elite really contributing to the betterment of our citizens?'

MR JONATHAN CHEE, in an e-mail

'The rhetoric of meritocracy is that those who have succeeded deserve to, and those who don't either don't want to, or don't deserve to owing to lack of ability.

'This might not be a problem in other countries, but in Singapore people look to the Government for direction and this is the tone that has been set.'

MR GABRIEL SEAH, in an e-mail

The 'Thinking Aloud' column has been held over.