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Old 11-26-2009, 01:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Default An Amazingly Written Commentary on Scholars and local State Press


The diligent nation-building press, the Straits Times has struck again. This time, it ran a 3/4 page story made of 1) rubbish 2) ignorance that would make any country bumpkin tear with pride.

Using four private companies as its arsenal, its headline was "We only offer local scholarships".

Of course, we cannot count on these reporters knowing anything about proper education or knowing the fraternity of top students here (the only way there exists a sliver of chance is if the writers are SPH scholars, although not all SPH scholars are aware of their place). One does not need to be a scholar to know what kind of people go off to where after attending a top junior college here. And what kind of people accept what kind of 'scholarships'. One only needs to be in the circle in school.

I think it's amusing that neither the paper, nor the reporters who wrote the story, have an inkling that only the crappiest scholars take up private scholarships, scholarships from private bodies. Some examples of 'private' scholarships are those offered by SPH, SIA, PSA and DBS.

Back in junior college, it was widely known among the 'top'ish students in such JCs that only third-rate 'scholars' end up accepting these.

Generally, scholars apply to a huge range of scholarships, and the better ones ALWAYS end up rejecting these private scholarships, once they have better scholarships in their bags. Scholarships they really want. And then out of these, the best ones get the top PSC ones (OMS) and always take up these and turn down the private and some of the worst stat board ones.

The best scholars (those who end up with either one of the top PSC scholarships) would have anything from 8 to 10 scholarship offers. One I know had 11 at the end of his applications. He took the best one and rejected the rest. With the exception of GIC, private scholars are well known in the RJC and HC circle to be from the lowest of the lowest pecking order of scholars.

Scholarships, like everything else in life, come in different ranks and grades. And the scholars who accept them are thus, inherently different. It is delusional to deny this.

So its quite wildly funny that the two reporters found four scholarship giving bodies who only give out these local study awards - and no surprise, they turn out all to be these private ones hahahahaha. And look how they spun their yarn and try to fool the public - the larger public not in the know about these things.

Generally, people are too polite to say the ugly truth in your face. But those in the know know exactly who are the type of people who end up with scholarships from..errm.. Singtel and Alexandra Hospital.. what a doctor friend I know once famously said "scholars who take up two-bit healthcare or teaching award".."third-rate".

For those who are intelligent enough to comprehend, the titles scholar and scholarships are just like many other nouns in the English language, like cars, bags, wife, husband. There are a zillion people who can claim to be a scholar, because they received a one-year sponsorship in a local university from a private company or for a half-bit teaching job. Then you have the whole bunch of tens of thousands of local awardees on some two-bit teaching, physiotherapy or military contract to a local university, who think they are scholars too.

Then we have scholar-scholars. This is the same for other things. At least half of the world population of over 6 billion people are married. You can be sure the husbands and wives people end up with are not the same. Some woman who ends up with an alcoholic and overweight wife-beater does not have the same life or marriage as someone who is married to Prince Harry.

A scholarship is as good as its rank and the promise and quality of the career after that, the prospects and career opportunities of the scholar and the ability for the scholar to give back to his sponsor symbiotically with his brilliance. The best scholarships attract the best and brightest sparks. The crappy ones (like private ones except GIC) are taken up by the third-rate rejects. It's not mercenary to say this, because to assume it's mercenary would be to assume that all scholarships and hence, scholars are created equal.

And did anyone ever believe that since the world was created? But ST sure tried to make us.

Another reason I can surmise for these companies to only offer local study awards is the lack of funds compared to public bodies. When interviewed on why, the reason they gave to the state media was that they "believe that local universities are as good as prestigious top universities". Hahahhaa, what else would they say in their official statements to the newspapers?

They know even if they were to hand out predimonantly scholarships (A lot of people, present company inlcuded, do not consider people who are sponsored in any local university to be scholars), like Singapore Technologies, SIA, DBS and SPH do, they would still be attracting the third-rate people anyway, so they may as well cut costs by only offering study awards and sending people to cheap local university.

At the end of the day, scholars apply to a huge number of scholarships. Any of us who went through certain schools in Singapore know how it works, even those of us who never applied for a single scholarship like me.

The crappy third-rate people only get the crappy private offers. The top brains get all the offers. The more and better offers you get, the earlier you reject the crappy offers you may have accepted at first.

This seductive 'do-you-want-me' dance goes on until the top brains take up the president's scholarship, and by then they would have turned down almost 10 scholarships, some they accepted at first from private companies (who are famously known to make offers to top brains fast and furious) and a couple of stat boards. One president's scholar told me that it was the private companies who made the offers fastest, with two making him the offer immediately after the interview was over!

These companies end up making offers to people they had initially rejected. Otherwise, they end up with the applicants whom they had offered to, but did not get anything better. Which means, they end up with the bottom of the heap.

Someone needs to tell ST that its reporting and 'investigative journalism' reeks of JC-student project effort at best. Most of the time, you can sniff the agenda-pushing oozing out from each badly written stanza.

It feels as if the editors set the angle and agenda to be written, BEFORE facts and interviews were carried out, and then made its reporters find 'specific' isolated examples and newsmakers to interview, and then present the stories according to the pre-set agenda.

Journalism is about reporting the true sentiments and cold, hard, undisputed facts and figures, from a big-picture perspective. It's not about selecting your entry points and quote givers based on an agenda you have set out before and then attempting to pull the wool over the public's eyes.

And the amazingly sad thing is that the format will work for as long as much of the public is still relatively ignorant and have handicapped critical thinking abilities, due to their miseducation in universities here.

Last edited by brightspark; 11-26-2009 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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looking at your other posts in this forum almost makes me wonder if you are the author of this blog...

Last edited by RickSteves; 12-20-2009 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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I read the article and the first thing I thought was, oh okay.

I don't think there's anything really amazing about the article...
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:27 AM   #4
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Default Defending Scholarships in General


While this is essentially a dead thread, I still feel obliged to comment on the post written by 'notbrightatall'.

While it is true that government scholarships are held in high esteem by many due to the fact that our government is renowned for its excellent service and quality worldwide, it is definitely unfair to say that potential scholars who are at the bottom rungs will choose to grab 'low-class' private scholarships. Claiming this to be true is not addressing the matter.

Presence matters significantly. Government scholars take up posts that are extremely relevant to the public -- such as head of the famed Singapore Government Administrative Service, and thus they are very much in the public view. Their successes are no mystery to everyone, so it is natural for people to perceive government scholars as the ones who are the most capable, because their achievements are there. For private scholars, what they do is almost never in the public eye, because the relevance is not really there. They will never gain as much attention from the public, so they might end up being perceived as weaker compatriots of government scholars. Thus, it is really unfair to say that private scholarships are 'third-rate'.

Choice matters as well. People have different aspirations in life, one being the decision to work in the private or public sector. If one chooses not to work in the public sector, then it is quite clear that regardless of the excellence of his/her results, a government scholarship is a definite no-no. Can this be cited as evidence that the best always go for government scholarships? The best can choose to enter the private sector, because they may perceive the government as being more bureaucratic (which it most likely is, because a government is the biggest 'company' in a country in general, so imagine the immense paperwork and red tape compared to a normal enterprise) A private scholarship will not seem like an option that only the worst will take up in that scenario. I am not too sure about the frequency of such events, but it happens. You cannot refute that.

The source of the scholarship is not important.

Private or government, scholars succeed because they prove themselves worthy as models of excellence. The terms of the offer do not matter, and besides non-scholars have out-shined scholars in life, and scholars have become mediocre individuals later in life. Thus, whatever the scholarship, the fact that you are given the opportunity to gain something that you would most likely not get otherwise is already something to be proud of.

I know that I have not addressed all the points in the first post, but I am here to defend the integrity and value of scholarships.

Mis-education or not, I will leave it up to other readers to decide. I for one, know that I have not failed my education.

One final quote:

'Scholarships, like everything else in life, come in different ranks and grades. And the scholars who accept them are thus, inherently different. It is delusional to deny this.' -notbrightatall

'Scholars, like everyone else in life, come with different backgrounds and talents. The paths that they will accept are thus, inherently different. It is delusional to deny this, and it is also delusional to deduce thus that scholarships can be graded based on a ranking system from excellent to lacklustre.'

In other words (I want to use some Chinese as well -- it's lame at the end, decided to engage a little 'humour'),

'一样米养百样人,大家都各有千秋, 必因为这样而不分青红皂白地分配奖 学金的水准呢?奖学金又没含水,这 哪会准!'
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