Inequality pretending it is Meritocracy

Meritocracy-1024x735-e1341893274929In Singapore, inequality is celebrated by the majority. The PAP government and many Singaporeans agree that resources and opportunities should only be given to qualified candidates with other irrelevant attributes like having brought up in a well-to-do family and coming from one of the many little bigoted elitist schools in Singapore. This very mindset is elitism and it propagates inequality and create a class of lazy and entitled individuals who see themselves a level higher than others. However if you are going to ask these bigots, they will tell you this is Meritocracy and it promotes equality and incentivize others (especially directed at the poor and middle class) to work harder.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for rewarding hard work. But the reality shows that no matter how many hours of hard work the poor and middle class put in, they will forever be stuck. These people faces an income ceiling, not because they do not have a bachelor degree with honors like the elites, but because they were not born an elite. For a Singaporean who did not go through the Junior College route and secure a scholarship, you are pretty much considered the 90% of the non-elites. This is prevalent in the PAP leadership selection process. Among its 80 Members of Parliament, only 1 took the polytechnic diploma route instead of the JC route (Joo Chiat MP Charles Chong). Similarly, a blanket profiling shows that nearly all of the PAP MPs come through elite schools like Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls School and Anglo-Chinese School. It is of course no surprised when PAP candidates like Dr Koh Poh Koon make out-of-touch remarks like this [Source].

The political rift Singapore is deeply divided in is an indirect cause of elitism and it is pretty obvious Singaporeans are disunited despite the PAP pretending otherwise. On the other side, we have a group of non-elites, or the majority, real Singaporeans. Talented non-elites are like K-Pop finalist Stephanie Koh, who has to start earning her own living after graduating from a diploma is a very good example (at the age of 19, most teenage elites have not stepped into the working world yet). In her viral Youtube video [Source], she tells the world why she is not proud to be a Singaporean. While a young Singaporean elite would wax lyrical how ideal Singapore is, most non-elite Singaporeans who bear the brunt of cost of living with no government support are ready to tell the truth about Singapore.

A recent survey shows that more than 50% of Singaporeans will emigrate if they have the opportunity to [Source]. People who look forward to emigration are typically those disillusioned with their quality of living and having little faith in Singapore’s economical and social future. To the PAP government, this is exceptionally dangerous because, birth rate is already the lowest in the world and coupling that with the outflow of Singaporeans, there will not be anyone left around to serve National Service.

The unseen and subtle response of the PAP government is of course to cut the means and options of Singaporeans emigrating. In Singapore, most Singaporeans are not degree-equipped because the PAP refuse to increase the number of local university places. The recent increase in universities is also a pretence because schools like the SUTD have more foreigners including Permanent Residents than Singaporeans studying in them. If you can’t get a degree, most likely you will not be able to qualify as a skilled migrant in developed countries like Australia and New Zealand. As Australia become Singaporeans’ preferred home, working holidays schemes in Australia for Singaporeans have been cancelled since 2012. The only working holiday scheme available for Singaporeans is only New Zealand and that pales to the variety of options Taiwanese and Malaysian citizens have to places like Canada, US and Australia.

Cheated Singaporean
Alex Tan

*Cheated Singaporean is a non-elite and non-talent engineer who started earning his own pocket money when he was 14.

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