Another dot in the blogosphere?

Are we better than this?

Posted on: March 12, 2019

Your only excuse to not know about this is if you were knocked out by a rock and then hidden under it.

If the snippet I highlighted does not say enough, then read one concerned educator and parent’s response on Facebook.

If you need more context but cannot get behind the original newspaper’s paywall, the important details and the bonus responses of some “netizens” is available here.

Long story made short: A snobby and prejudiced person named Wendy Chan would rather her Express* stream children not mix with Normal* stream kids because the latter had “inferior upbringing”.

*For the uninitiated, the majority of children in Singapore are in the Express stream, complete their secondary education in four years, and this is normal. The Normal stream children are the minority, take at least five years to complete secondary education, and therefore not normal. We are funny that way.

But back to the issue. The sad fact is that we probably know a Wendy Chan. If we do, this might suggest that the social experiment to stream students has shaped our collective psyche to normalise prejudice.

No, all of us are not that prejudiced. Just more prejudiced because the norm has shifted. We need to admit this. After all, if we laud our international list-topping feats, should be also not acknowledge our bottom-dwelling shame?

We might also need to reconsider this part of our national pledge: Regardless of race, language, or religion. That statement about being “one united people” did not say anything about academic streaming. It does not say anything about what is going to replace it — subject-based banding (SBB).

The Wendy Chans are going to weaponise SBB. Unscrupulous enrichment centres are going to arm them. Teachers who do not think they shape national agenda will be doormats. Can we be better than this?

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