What was the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1966?In 1966, China was engulfed with the fire of revolution with young Red Guards running wild all over the country attacking and arresting people, humiliating and punishing people branded as revisionists. The crime of the victims was mainly due to their intellect, the educated and worse foreign educated elites, the professors, engineers, academics, administrators, scientists, anyone with higher education was a target. It was destruction of everything related to knowledge, science and technology. It was the Road to Mediocrity when farmers and peasants were glorified. It was good to be poor. And China went back to Year Zero by the time the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976 with the death of Mao and the arrest of the Gang of Four.
Is Singapore also on the Road to Mediocrity? Is there a silent Cultural Revolution to frown upon excellence, to promote mediocrity, to encourage every student to be mediocre, be average is glory, top schools and top students should become unknown and unheard off? Do not mention about top schools and top students getting straight As. Popularise and glorify the average students as the good stuff, the way to be, be proud to be average and be ashamed if one is top of the class!
How long have the name Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution been blanco from the media like it is a crime to mention them? When O level and A level results were released, not a whisper of the top students from the top schools? Why? Should these top talents be arrested, humiliated and send to work in the farms? Oops we don't have enough farm land to house them, maybe send them to neighbour countries? Send them for reeducation camps to tell them that to be good in their studies, to be top students, to be highly qualified graduates from the best schools and universities are bad, not to be seen, not to be heard. Oh, we can send all our top graduates to become cab drivers and security guards as part of their reeducation stint like the intelligentsia of China during the Cultural Revolution. Can also become hawkers to learn what it is like to do manual work and to be poor.
Singapore does not need Singaporeans as top talents. We cannot offend the parents of the average students and the pride of the average students. We must make the average students happy, their parents happy by glorifying them and shun the top students. We can import all the top talents from third world countries to fill the top positions in the industries and govt ministries. Like that all the average Singaporeans would be very happy. See, no arrogant top students and their happy parents on the main media to make the average students and their parents unhappy.
Now when did I get this idea? I came across this article in thenewpaper on 22 Jan titled, 'MOE launches pilot study to drop selection trials for CCAs'. In the article there were a couple of phrases that prompted me to think again. The first paragraph of the article reads, 'In its latest push to encourage children to pursue their interests and focus less on performance, the Ministry of Education(MOE) will look at dropping selection trials for co-curricular activities(CCAs). Another comment about the National School Games for young children, 'Last year, it tweaked the National School Games(NSG) junior division (for pupils aged nine to 11) to give children, even the less skilled, a chance to compete. Among the changes were removing individual events in some sports and rewarding participation instead of finishing first. The bold emphasis were mine.
To reward mediocrity, reward communal activities, punish individual excellence are exactly what the Cultural Revolution of China was all about. Instead of in search of excellence, this is promoting mediocrity, levelling down to please the mediocres. Is this the road forward for Singapore? Why is the MOE peddling to the cries of the parents of the average and in a way sidelining the talented and individual pursuits for excellence? Is this what we get from the millionaires, brilliant ideas that millionaires could come up with?
What is wrong with excellence? What is wrong with wanting to be the best? Is it shameful to be top students, top talents? Should not then that the media stop glorifying our universities as world top universities, stop crowing how good we are and hide under the cloaks of mediocrity?
What do you think?