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Leaders, future and the running education. November 23, 2014

Posted by @Karen_Fu in Character, education, Leadership, Singapore.
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Reading this article, ‘Accident, financial woes only make two PSLE students stronger’, I can’t help but to think of the many sprouting troubles that are stemming out from the current education system- or rather the new education environment. The type that seems to groom an unhealthy mindset about intellectual capacity and academic abilities. The truth is education should bring up fine characters who has genuine empathy, real curiosity for knowledge and all these should come with humanity values and a very tough character. The kind that is devoid of jealousy, unhealthy competition, egoism and the most dreaded hierarchy that determines who is better than who and all the sort of rubbish. The kind that knows how to suffer and to fight and win from the wrong to the right path of humanity.

The students in the above mentioned article are exactly the type of students the country should be grooming, not the ones who are already come from prestigious and well off family backgrounds. Students who go through these hardship and survived are the real talents we ought to keep. 

Many, if not most, students do not know what is hardship and life woes. Students these days seem to have formed hierarchy within themselves. The ranking of gifteds, special, express, and normal class students are strongly embedded in the system, where the better streamed students tend to think very well of themselves to the point of egoism and downright snobbishness on people whom they think are less intellectual.

The rampant hurry to stuff students all the advanced information for national examinations like the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations) or the Cambridge ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels examination are common. The wealthier families send kids to top schools and take them to various niche classes in the private sector, spending thousands of dollars on just subject of learning. In my opinion, these are unnecessary. Then again, perhaps in a rat race here in Singapore, maybe these are a must. If they were a must, then the education style in public schools must have been inadequate in some ways.  Why else would parents want to pay and send kids for more tonnes of homework when the public school load is already heavy? One reason could just be the desire to scramble after the prestigious scholarships and the kind of prestige that holds for the kids if they manage to get into top schools here. But then again, have the parents understood what is education and how intellectual development is different from student to student? Everyone’s got their individual strengths, why force them into one standard mould?

Education is about learning how to think and master skills that are innovative as it is informative in a healthy way, that does not harbour jealousy or any other ill hatred mindset. But I always question myself if the current learning culture in public schools and beyond school premises are exactly healthy. If school education standards were even, then why are there so many students like to compete with one another on the schools they go to and how prestigious the schools are?

The current atmosphere appears to favour the well off and the economically advantaged families who are able to afford thousands of dollars to groom their kids that set them ahead in school. Then question is, how come public schools are not adequate to provide these knowledge and abilities? Why are students heading to private schools to get all that? It used to be that school teachers were enough, and tuition was reserved for those who had a real problem of assimilating what they had been taught in public schools. Now this is not the case. Even Gifteds go private tuition, and they go to heaps of different classes. Small surprise they are over stressed and PSLE spells horror and hell to most students here. A 12-year-old should enjoy their childhood as they learn in an enriched academic environment.

The less advantaged ones usually end up behind these kids who can afford the lessons beyond the public classroom. But to tell the truth, I think these kids are the real ‘Gifteds’ as they are able to find solutions on their own. And by doing so, they see different ways of doing up the answers, which is exactly what education should be about when it comes to discovering knowledge.

Most students, typically those who come from advantaged families usually fail to genuinely sympathise with the poor and the disadvantaged. To some, being poor means one hasn’t work hard enough. Though that is partially true, they usually fail to see that some people may not be fortunate to a smooth sailing life and thus have setbacks that are beyond their control. Such as the examples given in the above article, where one student had a poor financial background and the other who met up with a serious accident.

We need future leaders who are not only intelligent and wise, but to be able to know life’s hardship of different kinds and be able to use their knowledge to offer solutions. We do not need leaders who are short of genuine empathy, and even stratify people into different social classes to despise them. I have the most unfortunate luck to come across a couple of such kids who have given me a really bad impression on both themselves and their parents. It set me thinking and I know if we dwell on these people, we will eventually fail as a society. We need to use public money to help disadvantaged students whose financial background are inferior. We do not need to give scholarships that contain thousands to those who are already well off. We need students who are original, not parroting  from many private classes they have gone to. That’s not going to make innovative minds that can think originally. And for all the discriminating rubbish, we may well finish our hard founded prosperity and peace sooner than we think. All in one go, @karen_fu

Moral character is the only way for progressive change 2 May 31, 2011

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, ethics, human quality, Singapore.
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SINGAPORE – Four years after he was convicted of deceiving the organisation he headed, former National Kidney Foundation chief executive T T Durai has been stripped of his Public Service Star and Public Service Star (Bar) awards.Durai was found guilty in June 2007 of using a false invoice to deceive the NKF into paying S$20,000 to his interior designer friend David Tan.

The same fate goes for former Ren Ci Hospital chief Ming Yi, who had his Public Service Medal – awarded in 1996 – forfeited on Monday by President S R Nathan.

Notices of the forfeitures were published yesterday in the Government Gazette.

Ming Yi, 49, whose birth name is Goh Kah Heng, was convicted together with his former aide Raymond Yeung in October 2009 over an unauthorised loan of S$50,000 made in 2004 to the Mandala Buddhist Cultural Centre, a religious artefact shop formerly managed by Yeung.

They were also found guilty of giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities. Ming Yi was released from jail last August after serving four months and is now abbott of Foo Hai Chan monastery.

The awards are given to people who have rendered public service to the country in various fields, including sports, business and the labour movement.

National Day Award winners are announced every Aug 9 and are approved by the President. If a past winner is convicted of a criminal offence or sacked, the President may forfeit the award on advice of the Cabinet.

Durai, 63, was awarded the Public Service Star (Bar) in 1992 for his contribution to the NKF.

But in 2005, an unsuccessful defamation suit that he launched against The Straits Times led to a full-scale audit into the charity’s operations.

He appealed against his conviction and sentence unsuccessfully and began serving his three-month jail sentence in June 2008.

[Reposted the above news from Durai, Ming Yi stripped of public service awards by the Government from Today.com]
About 2 years ago, I posted my thoughts about Moral character is the only way for progressive change. I was not happy about how the sentence was done after what both TT Durai and Monk Mingyi had done. Just a few days ago, the Singapore Government had done what many people here would be consoled  and justice done — stripping off their coveted titles from the Government.
A society cannot progress positively without any form of moral correctness. A society would eventually fall into pieces if ethics are not taken serious care. Looking at the world that we have today, we cannot deny that high crime rates, diseases, relationship failures et cetra have something to do with moral character and building up of a healthy mind set. Though any form of method would allow one to acheive ‘success’ so as long as the required work is put in and that the motivation is strong enough to push through barriers. However, I would like to emphasize that the evil way of achieving ‘success’ is often ‘rewarded’ with firebacks in the form of endless revenge, bad health and unhappy living. Some people have argued that many bad people whose deeds are evil and unscrupulous often get their way and achieve the fame and wealth, that most others with a much docile character would not be able to achieve. I often feel it is because that people have a high tendency to look at what others have and often blow it up disproportionately without looking further and deeper into the nature of that success. A successful person is one who lives happily without guilt; and able to prosper oneself and others. History has often told us that the very nature of success is via political means of obtaining power and might. But history has also told us that power and might done in the most cunning and sly ways do not lead to eternal satisfaction; if not leading to a tragic end.
Ironically, we often fail to remind ourselves what history has taught us. We often repeat the mistakes done because we do not genuinely repent and learn from various experiences in the luring presence of power, fame and wealth. Many whose minds are complex, because they need to exploit others to get what they want. And it is those, who negatively exploits, suffer from bad health & a poor quality of living that is filled with mostly evil thoughts.
Just take some time to sit down and observe. It’s not that hard to see why being bad doesn’t pay. — Karen Fu

Moral character is the only way for progressive change July 22, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, ethics, faith, human quality.
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Venerable Monk Shi Ming YI

Venerable Monk Shi Ming YI

Recently, there has been a new slew of dishonesty cases, not just stemming out from commercial areas, but ironically from religious establishments. That often makes me often wonder how all these could happen and why they have happened. It is actually no new news about people being hypocritical about deals and ideals. But what I am really dismayed is that my observations have proven true of a monk here who is now currently undergoing trial for embezzlement of funds.  Basically he abused his power by actually appearing to serve the disadvantaged community at large, while  committing a number of  hideous crimes that a highly professional criminal would do.  It was a stab in the heart for many who had a lot of respect for him as an humanist.  Before Mingyi monk, T.T Durai had committed similar crimes at NKF (National Kidney Foundation) before.  If you start to ponder about the cases in depth, you would wonder what actually happen behind the scenes.

These are high profile crimes which involved highly educated people who appear to be ‘good’. We may expect terrorists and former criminals to do such acts but crimes from  these people appear to be even more hideous & upsetting. My first suspicion came a few years ago when I saw his unusually posh office in the papers, which no one appeared to question then. My next suspicion came when I attended some of the NKF activities and I asked why they had a string of repeated donations that often, when  they have already gathered millions of dollars. Since then, I’ve stopped donations despite people kept  telling me that I was too suspicious about the entire scenario. Years later, my observations proved I was right. (And I am not proud of it.) Singaporeans have always been known to donate generously when asked to. After these incidents, it will somewhat dent donations in the future. And if I’m  right again, we need to clean up the way we continue our culture of materialism and capitalism before we get ourselves to a point where nothing/nobody can be really trusted; and that the entire society would risk rolling into huge abominable moral decay.

Mingyi Monk committed more than stealing money from the patients who needed them more. Kidney dialysis is by no means  a simple and painless procedure. Most of these patients usually wait in vain for a kidney transplant. The agony of waiting and living on the dialysis is not a small matter. While he had done good deeds in accepting some of the most unaccepted  patients (dying and very difficult to care for)  in the past, I would question if these kind acts were to cover the planned crimes he had done. Should he be whipped for all that ?  He has a list of luxuries that he has been enjoying –from keeping a thoroughbred in Australia, owning posh cars, to suspected womanizing.And the list goes on as the trial continues to reveal his greed and crimes. To add to the list, even his Doctorate degree was a fake.

Thinking about his case, I cannot help but to appreciate people like  Mother Teresa and Teresa XuZhe for their pure desire to help the disadvantaged and the needy. These great people fortunately live long enough to have us acknowledging their deeds, which they have dutifully done at the expense of their lifetime without any kind of material compensation they deserve.  XuZhe has fortunately live well over 100 to be finally noticed. Whenever I see or read her in the papers, I cannot help but to pity that she did not marry and have children, whom she could pass her genes along. We need people like her and we need her teachings to pass along too. We have way too many parents who instill the wrong teachings/ideas to children to get ahead in their studies for the wrong reasons. We have children these days who think that material success as the most important. It is dangerous to think in that way to get ahead in life, when  being  a good world citizen is way  more important to ensure a peaceful world.

Moral character is by far, IMHO, the most critical aspect in human progression. Without it, we cannot aspect positive change to the surroundings that we are living in. Can you imagine a world with people who have all the skills and knowledge, bearing a mask to hide all their sinister deeds,  doing all the important tasks of the world ? Personally I can’t and it would be a perfect nightmare if I could.  Some people have forseen  doomsday within the next 50 years, but is it all that we could do ?

Ironically and scarily true is that many people have multi-faceted personalities.  They could do one thing, and act differently in the other. Unless we rectify this very hideous human flaw, we cannot expect to save the world and the human race from extinction. Call this a natural retribution. We surely do not need to be this stupid to drool on materialism to the point to permanent self destruction.


Ming Yi Monk’s crime:

  1. http://blog.simplyjean.com/2007/11/19/ren-ci-probe-venerable-ming-yis-doctorate/
  2. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_366848.html