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Every year, my colleagues and I interview some of the top students from our junior colleges and polytechnics in order to offer them scholarships to study in university, both locally and overseas. The have been shortlisted from some 2, applicants for the PSC scholarship.
Although there is no quota or cap, we award some 70 scholarships a year on average. Those who accept will serve in the public service, initially under a bond of between four and six years. Horny women that want sex in Yilan the half-hour interview, PSC has the opportunity to ask candidates questions not only to determine how suitable they are for the public service but also to get a sense of how young Singaporeans feel about our country and its future.
One of the topics they have to write an essay on is indeed what kind of Singapore they would like to see in 15 years' time. What can we say about the present generation of year-olds, judging by the essays they write, their school records, their psychological profiles and their responses at PSC interviews?
Our young people are Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore unaware of the values espoused by our founding fathers, particularly Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
They may not be fully conscious of them, and they may quietly rebel against National Education taught in schools, but because they live in Singapore, go to Singapore schools, and have grown up with family and friends, they are still cast in Slut in Quang Tri same mould as previous generations of young Singaporeans.
Many of them have heard the Singapore national narrative. This narrative was emphasised a hundred times over during Mr Lee's funeral and the recent SG50 celebrations: How our people must work hard and stay disciplined because no one owes us a living.
How social benefits must not be allowed to erode our work ethic. Our best and brightest - the potential public-sector leaders - have imbibed many of the values passed down by our founding fathers. By and large, success has not gone to their heads. They work hard, stay humble and help the less privileged.
Many are committed to serve the public and see their job as a calling. But they must shed the "kiasu" and "kiasi" attitude which other Singaporeans continue to share and become bolder, less risk-averse and more innovative.
The ideal citizen envisaged by Mr Lee is someone pragmatic, responsible, disciplined, frugal, hard-working, well-behaved, family-focused and puts society before self. Singaporeans often take our zero-tolerance policy for corruption for granted, but many foreigners regard it as exceptional and want to learn how we do it. But the young, while cast in the same mould, are not exact copies of the old.
Older Singaporeans should not be surprised that the younger generation has different views and different aspirations - even different values. All they have to do is speak to their own children or grandchildren. Their values have changed, leaving the old somewhat bewildered. He wanted to hear from them why they chose Australia over Singapore. When one of them told him that he gave up a well-paid job in Singapore to migrate there so that he could work half-day and go fishing in the afternoon, Mr Lee nearly fell off his chair.
He just could not understand why anybody would make such a lifestyle choice. To Mr Lee, it was irrational. You see, Mr Lee came from the era when the term "work-life balance" had not been invented.
To him, life was work and work was life - it was the same thing, no need to balance the two. Besides, we should be worried if the young are not different from us. If they imbibe everything they are taught uncritically, it means they are not thinking for themselves and have closed minds. Thankfully, the best and brightest who appear before PSC do still think critically and question what is happening in Singapore, including our socio-economic disparities, our educational policy and system, Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore our political environment.
I am especially pleased that more of our young now aspire to work in the social sector, so that they can help the underprivileged. When they worry about social inequality and the lack of social mobility, some may have moved away from one cardinal belief Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore our founding fathers had - that social welfare should be discouraged because Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore breeds a poor work ethic and a dependence on government handouts.
But they believe that the Government should do more for the poor because they feel it is just, not because they are socialists or communists. Like students elsewhere and unlike those during my time the sthey want peaceful change, not violent revolution.
Their concerns arise from youthful idealism, not dogmatic ideology. The young are critical of the educational system because they think it overemphasises exam results and academic excellence. This is quite remarkable, seeing that they have excelled in, and are benefiting from, such a system. Yet, they are big-hearted enough to welcome greater diversity in our criteria for success - wishing to see that those who excel in sports and in the arts should be recognised and rewarded as well.
Judging by the changes being made by the Ministry of Education, when our students express such views, they are only keeping abreast of government thinking, not streaking ahead. The views of the year-olds on politics in Singapore are also non-ideological and pragmatic. Some are attracted to the Workers' Party not because they are against the PAP per se but because they share the belief that the Government needs checks and balances in order to be more responsive to the people.
They want the best of both worlds - the PAP to run an efficient and effective government and the opposition holding seats short of one-third of the total seats in Parliament. Enough to question and criticise the ruling party Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore not enough to deprive the ruling party of its two-thirds majority, let alone to form a government. When pressed, the students will admit that it is unlikely that the one-party dominant political system we had in the last 50 years will continue indefinitely in the next 50 years.
But if the change does occur, they are confident in their belief that Singapore will not collapse because more and more good and capable people will eventually join the opposition, as many as those who join the PAP today. They are sceptical about the ruling party's contention that Singapore does not have enough talent to fill two strong teams.
As more well-educated Singaporeans join the political fray on the side of the opposition, Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore students may feel that their Adult fun in Haapsalu is being vindicated.
But these views are those of a few year-olds solicited over the last five years. We should not read too much into them as predictors of how the young vote today or in the near future.
So, my sense is that in the recent general election in Singapore, when there was a big swing back to the PAP, it would be inaccurate to say that the young voted differently from the old. I think what it meant was that if there were among younger voters those who felt the way our year-olds feel, they were prepared to put aside their aspirations for a stronger opposition to vote in a stronger government because we are in turbulent economic times, they find that the Government has become more responsive sinceand they were not convinced that the opposition fielded better teams.
Very pragmatic and rational. Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore I give you the impression that our best students are flawless, let me now turn to the negative traits we sometimes see in those who apply for our scholarships. There are four main flaws. First, they have a poor knowledge of Singapore's history. Second, only a few are knowledgeable about, or interested in, current and foreign affairs. Third, they are too risk-averse. Finally, they lack imagination and Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore. PSC members are often dismayed and saddened when candidates reveal their ignorance on basic historical facts about Singapore.
For instance, they do not know who S. Rajaratnam is, and they only knew who Goh Keng Swee was when Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore died. The exhibitions on our founding fathers and a rather belated attempt to revise the way history is taught in our schools will go some way to fill the gaps. But it is a sign of the times that even trying to teach our young basic historical facts is being challenged and contested, and the outcome will no doubt be controversial.
While history is often written by winners and victors, questions have been raised on how much should be taught about those who lost. The textbook writers in the Ministry of Education will have to grapple with how much our history syllabus should teach about people like Lim Chin Siong and what their motives were - to fight against the British colonialists or to establish a communist republic, or both?
Despite the fact that our students nowadays travel quite frequently, and much more than students in the past, many lack knowledge about, or interest in, current and foreign affairs. This apathy will not breed active citizens. Perhaps the Internet has produced a generation of young people more interested in bite-size news than deeper analysis found in books and magazines? And if they know about current events, it is often Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore global rather than regional affairs.
It is important for our young to know and understand the neighbourhood Singapore is in. Many influential and powerful people in Indonesia and Malaysia still view Singapore negatively. They regularly seek to remind us that we are a small country and should know our place in the pecking order among nations, and behave accordingly, instead of trying to punch above our weight. I suspect that is why Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore Lee once exhorted our young public servants to study Machiavelli - not so much because he wanted us to act like knaves, but because he wanted us to be aware that there are Machiavellians around Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore, who will take advantage of those who are naive and weak.
Why are our best students fearful of taking the less trodden paths? Why do so many choose to be public servants, lawyers and doctors, and go to the same universities in the US and UK? Why do they apply for government scholarships and not launch into business like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? I hope that this is partly because the students we see have self-selected themselves and that the private sector is getting its fair share of our top talent.
The more entrepreneurial students may have opted not to apply. PSC does not believe in hoarding Singapore's top talent. We are happy to point candidates to the private sector if their aptitude and passion are better Looking for a car date in Invercargill there. But the public service also needs a few mavericks Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore Philip Yeo.
Enough to prevent groupthink, but not so many as to disrupt the institution. Philip himself has disclaimed the label. He says that the real maverick was not him, but Dr Goh Keng Swee. However, Philip's peers think that Dr Goh was also a powerful mentor and protector. The majority of those we interview do not score highly on creativity and imagination. Only a few are deemed by the psychologists as being able to think out of the box and to offer unconventional ideas and solutions.
Again, self-selection may have played a part, and the more creative and imaginative students may have opted not to apply. My old friend, Kishore Mahbubani, has been criticising the present generation of public servants for being Girl singing in Kilinochchi Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore uncreative, unlike Slut in Qusmuryn older generations of public servants.
He claims that there is no incentive for public servants today to surface new ideas and they are rewarded for playing safe, not being innovative. Kishore is, as usual, being deliberately provocative. I agree that we need our public servants to be more creative, but I think Kishore overrates the creativity of the older public servants and underrates the Seeking an intelligent friend in Singapore of younger public servants.
It is counter-intuitive for a highly competitive meritocracy like Singapore to regard failure as acceptable. They spent a whole day explaining how innovation requires experimentation and repeated failures. The response from the audience was, at best, lukewarm. One minister told me that it was not feasible in our government culture to get people to accept failure; we were too focused on success.
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