Aug 27, 2008

Life As A Competition

From the Straits Times of 25 August 2008, an article by 22-year-old Christine Chong.

Why must life be a competition?

I ONCE met a trumpet player from the United States and asked him which competitions his school band had taken part in. Stunned, he replied: 'Not everything in life is a competition.'

It was inconceivable to me that students would participate in school bands and other CCAs out of pure interest, and not for points.

It is a tragedy that many Singaporeans believe exams, rankings and stress are necessary evils on the long and winding road to success.

The mantra that 'Your studies should be first priority' is never far from our parents' lips. 'Don't waste too much time on other activities' and 'This is a very important academic year' are close seconds ....
Coincidentally, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and this topic came up - why are Singaporeans choosing not to have babies?

The interesting answer - it's the result of a collective herd mentality instilled by the education system. Back in the school days, the mentality could be expressed like this: "Your studies should be first priority; don't waste time on other activities." This got imprinted into the minds of the entire generation.

Fast forward to adulthood, and the same imprint is still there. It's just that it has adapted into a new form for those who have finished school: "Your career should be first priority - don't waste time on having children."

In the psychological landscape of Singaporeans, parenthood has become the equivalent of "CCAs". It's the thing you might really, really love to do. But your kiasu instincts are telling you that you can't take the risk; you might not have the time; you might not have the money; and it's much safer to just concentrate on your homework job. (Yup, the same job that you don't love, but chose for practical reasons).

Christine Chong posed a good question - "Why must life be a competition?". The problem with competitions is that they have rules, and the rules were made by someone else, not you.

It's okay to compete for a while, and it might even be fun. But you should pick and choose your races. You should also bear in mind that it's all just mind games and you always have the right to refuse to play.

If you don't see that, and you simply live your life as one big, endless competition, then in all likelihood, you'll simply end up living your life, according to someone else's rules. Not your own.

A reader, Kelvin Ng, emailed me last week. He was trying to locate one of my old posts - where I had written something about "life audits". A "life audit" is a time I set aside to reflect, feel and think about how & what I've been doing; and what I want to do next; and why.

It's not about how my peers are living their lives. Or how my boss thinks I should be living mine. Or how my mother would like me to do (which includes buying landed property). Or what society in general might be expecting me to do.

It's about how I want to live my own life.

Here, Kelvin - the link. Try it out. Because in the long run, life just isn't very fun, if you have to keep playing by someone else's rules.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

But Mr Wang, the gahmen always tell us to compete mah. Compete for good grades, compete for JC/Poly/Uni places, compete with dastardly foreigners for jobs and lower pay, compete for HDB higher bid, compete compete compete...

Mr Wang Says So said...

And whose rules might those be? Aha ...!

Anonymous said...

the question is whether or not singapore could have survived otherwise without the competition mentality indoctrinated in the people under PAP rule (and since independence)...

True it has brought us tangible benefits (superficially all the numbers aka GDP etc...) but in terms of intangibles we may have lost much more.

klimmer said...

Well Mr. Wang,

There's not much to add to that. I think many people just lack the ability to make decisions for themselves.

While the Singapore Government is somewhat annoying in their intrusive policies, it's by no means a handicap or the root of all life's evils.

Life in Singapore is very competitive. IMO, how a person chooses to compete is really up to himself. Time and resources are scarcer in big cities compared to sleepy towns in America, so perhaps the writer was asking a question which was out of context.

Back in the days when a degree was rarer, getting one was a high percentage way to secure a better job. However, now that the degree is a commodity, that old advice is no longer so relevant. However, most people don't really know what other advice to give. I would think it's more relevant to teach or inculcate core values (another can of worms as to what are values). I'm not expressing myself very well here... perhaps someone can articulate this idea better than I?

klimmer said...

dear anon (Aug 27th 9:41AM),

It's not the PAP - its you, me and all the people around us.

James said...

Mr Wang: "Coincidentally, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and this topic came up - why are Singaporeans choosing not to have babies?"

Singaporeans are largely clueless abt the govt's new direction and template.

Actually ppl dun realise that as far as the govt is concerned, you gave babies, u get incentives and subsidised education, yr kids serve NS and reach 21.

Reach 21 ... tat's it. u r on yr own from now on. Singapore only wants ppl or talent according to the new direction and new template. Tat's why e.g. if yr kid cannot get into NUS, the govt is saying they only accept the best .. the Lee Jia Wei category.

That is the meaning of competitiveness as defined in Singapore. THose who noe have tuned out long ago i.e. apathy. THose who dun noe have yet to accept and awaken to this dominant paradigm and see the consistency in the entire Sg. No more social compact.

James said...

actually everyone whether local or foreign can be bangladeshi'ed anyway.

Original Singaporeans shd not be naive. Mainland Chinese noe they have to take care of themselves to being with, they cannot depend on Beijing govt.

Anonymous said...


the question is whether or not singapore could have survived otherwise without the competition mentality indoctrinated in the people under PAP rule (and since independence)...


Ans: Yes. Thats why most of our ancestors can here before PAP even existed. Really, they did not come here for the sasshimi.

"Globalization" started about 5000 years ago when men started to crawl out of Africa. See also the history of our beloved Great Sage (Confucious).

Anonymous said...

The yankees (in big cities) are facing many of the same problems since Mr Bush (Harvard MBA). Same background as many of out scholars.

So yeah not PAP's fault.
B**ping Ivy League!!!

Legend goes that Zhuang zi once had an interesting experiement. He told this guy to hang an empty birdcage and predicted that he will soon have one.

Lets see how long Mr Wang can resist the lure of easily affordable *relatively speaking* landed property. ;-)

Onlooker said...

The thing about competition in Singapore is that they(policy maker) always change the rules.
Sometimes when they change the rules or implement new ones,there are disastrous result that they refuse to acknowledge.
Have you ever wonder why some Singaporeans who went overseas start a family there when they could just have them here in Singapore.
To Klimmer:
You said a degree is a commodity, I hope you realize some of those degree are quite cheap at the roadside stall in other exporting countries.
Might I ask then Why were there no stringent measure taken to at least check their capability to perform task before granting them those passes.Next do you have the authority as an technical employee to screen them?

Anonymous said...

Tat's why e.g. if yr kid cannot get into NUS, the govt is saying they only accept the best .. the Lee Jia Wei category.
I read the 2 letters today. The first one is Medicine one. Please lah, Medicine is difficult to get in since 15 years ago. It is not NUS don't let you get in, it is you only want Medicine. They have vacancies, but not in Medicine.

In this case like Mr Wang say, why choose to compete in an impossible race (Medicine) and not go for other courses where this kid has higher chances because the others are competing in Medicine only!

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Might I ask then Why were there no stringent measure taken to at least check their capability to perform task before granting them those passes.Next do you have the authority as an technical employee to screen them?"

I have to tell you that my current employer has extensively stepped up its own screening criteria.

I guess it's inevitable due to the number of foreigners who come here claiming to have this and that kind of qualification, and this and that kind of experience, from all around the world.

My current employer has now engaged an external firm whose job is to verify all the claims made by new job candidates.

For example, if you say that you graduated from X university in China in Y year with a degree in Z, the firm will actually call up X university and verify whether this is true.

If you say that you worked in Company A in India for B number of years doing C kind of work, again the external firm will use its own sources, such as calling up your ex-bosses or ex-colleagues, to try to get some verification whether your claim is true.

As a successful job candidate, you have to sign a consent form saying that you agree to the external firm doing all of these kinds of background checks on you.

Agagooga said...

It's "Christine Chong" actually

Mr Wang Says So said...

Thanks, Gabriel.

Anonymous said...

I recently took part in the Army Half Marathon and have signed up to run in the Stan-Chart half-marathon this coming december.

Running long distance requires me to change my life style and my work habits. I now insist on stopping work by a certain timing, so that I have time to run in the evenings. My work schedule has to slow down, and I actually force myself to set time aside for myself.

Slowly, I am tearing myself away from the herd mentality that everything in life must be a competition; from top student to top employee to fighting for promotions. Life has very little meaning if that is all there is to life. We fight so much, and we have no time and no energy to enjoy the fruits of our success.

Incidentally, I am just running for fun. I don't bring a stopwatch to time myself. I just run, and enjoy the process. And I feel healthier and happier already

Anonymous said...

Back in the days when a degree was rarer, getting one was a high percentage way to secure a better job. However, now that the degree is a commodity, that old advice is no longer so relevant.

Got check what percentage goes on to uni or not? Then compare to Taiwan, Finland, etc. Countries that also value education. dun compare with timbuckutoo lah. Why?


Please lah, Medicine is difficult to get in since 15 years ago. It is not NUS don't let you get in, it is you only want Medicine.


got ask urself why NUS Medicine so hard to get? And why it is *relatively* easier to get into Medicine course of overseas colleges which are just as recognised or not? Why?


I have to tell you that my current employer has extensively stepped up its own screening criteria.


Most IBs have that long ago. But how many SMEs/smaller MNCs/Stat Boards can do that for the rank and file(which is the main concern of mostly non-high flying your readers)?

The strong(er) and capable can make and live by their own rules. By definition, the strong is in the minority? No?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Good luck for the run. I'm also running in the Stanchart event, but only the 10K.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Most IBs have that long ago."

Yes, but the thing is that this time they have REALLY stepped up a lot. I know, because this is the second time I'm joining my current IB.

As a matter of procedure, they ran much more extensive checks than they had, when I joined the first time round. Which is a bit funny, considering I'm a second-time employee and they already have a lot of my old data.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang

Ur blog is probably the best for issues related to Singapore.

I think it is a shame that the quality of discussion (by your readers like myself) is still nowhere near US blogs like http://delong.typepad.com/

Liddat how to compete ... hehe

Anonymous said...

Rahim says -

Competition is not so good. Every worker should be paid the same. In that way, there is no jealousy, right.

Scholarships awarded should be based on racial proportion i.e. 60%, 30% and 10% for Chinese, Malays and Indians respectively.

The latest procreation package extended to 4th child and beyond is good and is a farsighted policy.

Thank you.

Mr Wang Says So said...

There is no competition. In the first place, blogs do not really "compete" for readers, because it's not really a zero-sum game.

For example, if I find Molly Meek's blog good, I would not stop reading Yawning Bread's blog. If I find Yawning Bread's blog good, I would not stop reading Molly Meek. I would read both.

Neither am I in competition with, say, Xiaxue. People who read Xiaxue are unlikely to be interested in reading mine; people who read my blog would be unlikely to be interested in reading hers. Therefore there is no competition. If there are indeed people who are interested in both MWSS and Xiaxue, then they can read both anyway.

It is a scarcity mindset that makes people imagine that they see competition everywhere, when this is not necessary or constructive.

A scarcity mindset is what leads to fear, anxiety and limiting beliefs. It is the same thing which makes some Singaporeans keep fretting about our lack of natural resources, when in fact history has shown repeatedly that the availability of natural resources doesn't at all assure economic success anyway (and in fact greatly increases your risk of getting invaded by another country).

It is the same scarcity mindset that keeps Singaporeans muttering, "Oh, Singapore is so small, how will we ever win an Olympic medal if we don't have foreign talent". Meanwhile, Jamaica, population 2.8 million, and much much poorer than Singapore, won 11 Olympic medals (including 6 golds), with 100% true-blue Jamaican-born-&-bred athletes.

It is the same scarcity mindset that keeps the PAP so nervous, so agitated, so fearful, when the Opposition even blinks and tries to make a public speech ... when the PAP govt already holds 82 out of 84 seats in Parliament and has a grip on all the local media organisations.

It is the same scarcity mindset that makes married professional couples afraid that they can't afford to raise even one child, when the Malay satay man is raising five.

It is the same scarcity mindset that makes young, bright Singaporeans weep in despair when they fail to obtain a bonded PSC scholarship, and they become so upset that they fail to notice the great number of bond-free scholarships out there in the world that they could get.

It is the same scarcity mindset that makes the government think it needs more and money, and causes it to tax the citizens waaaay beyond its needs, over-collecting about $6.45 billion dollars.

I could go on, but by now you get the idea.

When you learn to drop the scarcity mindset (and I am not saying this is easy to learn), you will find that instead that good stuff just pops up everywhere like magic ... and life just keeps getting better and better ... and there are just more and more new opportunities to choose from, either now, or later.

Like this, for me, just today, heheh.

Anonymous said...

This morning, a friend of mine, a mother of two, told me of the competitive environment of sports in her son's school. The celebrated sports-students were those who received tuition from sportsmen. She said that a brother and sister were coached by a China National at $50 an hour per student. They were always there to receive the top prizes.
My friend tried very hard to defuse the discouraged spirit of her son. She said it was very hard to bring up kids. She said she didn't believe in pushing her kids beyond their abilities. She is happy they do their best and most of all, she hope that they will be good people. She is particularly pleased to see the gentleness her son displays toward stray cats.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang,

After listening to PM speech for the national day, and so much hype about the baby bonuses. I only have these conclusions for this.

1. If you have babies, the government will do a little more to help you.

2. You should have babies, and you should also continue your work (for mothers).

3. Bonuses are only for working mums. Stay-home mums are parasites to our society because they don't contribute and they only dig into our national resources.

My childhood is plagued by my working mother. She is still in fact working in her sixties and she has very little time for her grandson and grand-daughter. She can't retire. Needless to say about joining us for lunch (she might get sack for doing it).

I grow up without support of a mother and a father love, because they are busy making living. I hate my childhood. In fact I am not keen to have a baby. I don't want he/her to suffer like me. My wife is the one insisting on babies. She has a wonderful childhood. A caring and loving mum by her side. Her mother was a stay-home mum. And my wife respects her for all the sarcrifies she made for her. Her mother could have easily be a very successful business-woman. But she choose to give up everything for her child. This is one dilemma most modern mother would find today. Do you want to grow up with your child or your career is more important?

I think most of my generation don't like kids. Kids make us poorer. We don't get to enjoy our lifestyle as before. Some of us don't want to have our kids to suffer the same fate as us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang

It is tragic but typically the people with the ability to break free from the scarcity mindset are from the top 10% of society who like yourself are doing very well with very little incentive to be an agent for change.

Buddha was born a prince yes?
Mr Wang qualifies for Mensa yes?

I dun think the gahmen is suffering from the scarcity mindset. and I dun think I need to introduce u to Mr Machiavelli. they do bcos they CAN.

These days, student not 2pid. They know google. Many just want the prestige of top gahmen scholarships. Why? They are kids. Many of them think they are elites who know everything cos they got many As. Quite a number frequent ur blog. Maybe to worship a fellow elite? hehe

klimmer said...

Dear Anonymous:

"Most IBs have that long ago. But how many SMEs/smaller MNCs/Stat Boards can do that for the rank and file(which is the main concern of mostly non-high flying your readers)?"

I find it rather difficult to believe a sweeping statement that IBs have that standard long ago. Likewise, the reference to SMEs MNCs Stat Boards having poor screening process is rather subjective to your point of view. Also you didnt include large MNCs so I take it that you're assuming that they have stringent screening process.

In any case, this line of argument doesnt seem to address the subject matter on competition in life.

"Got check what percentage goes on to uni or not? Then compare to Taiwan, Finland, etc. Countries that also value education. dun compare with timbuckutoo lah. Why?"

I don't understand your point at all. What I said was: It is true that there are more degrees today than before, hence a degree loses some of it's relevance, compared to say 30 years ago.

klimmer said...

Onlooker:

You seem to be agreeing with me. Please look up the meaning of commodity.

In any case, I think you need to be clearer as your comments seem to be out of context with my argument. (either that, or my comprehension is rather poor)

What I said was: Degree is cheap these days. It's a commodity (meaning it doesn't matter if you are from NUS or SMU or NTU, all the same). Hence, our generation who have been told to get a degree and you're made for life, doesn't know what to tell their next generation. So they just parrot get a degree, even though that advice is less relevant than it was 3 decades ago.

Mockingbird said...

Is it any wonder why Singaporeans are generally a grumpy lot? With most people stuck in jobs they don't exactly enjoy? Work for the sake of money and not out of interest.

Mockingbird said...

Everyone in rat race. At the end of our life, we realise we are just rats.

klimmer said...

Anon (August 27, 2008 4:48 PM)

Reading you comments are rather shocking and selfish. You need to get over your self pity.

"I think most of my generation don't like kids."
According to whom?

"Kids make us poorer."
They complete our lives.

"We don't get to enjoy our lifestyle as before."
Life styles changes all the time.

"Some of us don't want to have our kids to suffer the same fate as us."
Like what? Just because you had a tough childhood doesn't mean your kid(s) will have one too.


3/4 things you said above sounds like self serving excuses.

Mr Wang Says So said...

If you don't like kids, then of course you shouldn't have any. Really in the end, my thoughts on this matter might be summarised as follows:

1. I am not saying that S'poreans should or should not have kids; or should or should not make any particular, specific career choices; or should or should not study X or Y or Z in school.

2. I am only saying that many S'poreans are probably not making making the optimal decisions for their own lives (whatever those optimal decisions may be for them); and the problem has something to do with being too defensive; fearful; competitive; "prudent"; conformist; and unable to see a bigger picture. So in the end, the actual decisions they do make, whatever they may be, will often be lacking in conviction, commitment, inspiration ...

3. That's why we end up with lots of Singaporeans who regret what they study; and feel disengaged from their jobs ... and so on.

In your case, for example, you hate your childhood and therefore you don't want to have a child. But why do you doubt your wife's and your own ability to give your child (if you had one) a much better childhood than the one your parents gave you? Are such doubts valid? That's what you have to work out for yourself.

Anonymous said...


In a world of frictionless, completely globalized trade, people on average would all be richer--but every society would include a wider range of class, comfort, and well-being than it now does. Those with the most marketable global talents would be richer, because they could sell to the largest possible market. Everyone else would be poorer, because of competition from a billions-strong labor pool.


Lifted off delong's blog. Its an article about USA-china but also more or less explains why u are getting all the breaks. Cos u happen to be marketable thats all.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Wang,

My name is Y2K. I am the new director general of the Free Internet Library Board based in Primus.

Yes, I agree in principle with this write up.

However, I do believe there is good competition and bad competition.

Good competition should be encourage. Bad competition should be stamped out.

This I admit is easier said than done.

Reg

Y2k

Anonymous said...


I find it rather difficult to believe a sweeping statement that IBs have that standard long ago.


Check with Mr Wang.


It is true that there are more degrees today than before, hence a degree loses some of it's relevance, compared to say 30 years ago.


As Singapore moves to a knowledge-based industry with no minimum wage and easy employment of foreign workers ... a degree is MORE IMPORTANT than ever kiddo.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"It is tragic but typically the people with the ability to break free from the scarcity mindset are from the top 10% of society ..."

It is more the other way around. First, the mindset must change, and then the reality will follow.

If you condition yourself to notice disadvantages and obstacles, then you will indeed notice more disadvantages and obstacles, and yours will be a reality where plenty of disadvantages and obstacles regularly appear to trip you up.

If you condition yourself to notice advantages and opportunities, then you will indeed notice more advantages and opportunities, and yours will be a reality where plenty of advantages and opportunities just keep popping up to make things better and better.

victor sun said...

Mr Wang how come in everything that concerns the people competition is taken to be a good thing by the PAP government. However when it comes to elections for parliament and Istana Presidential position, PAP does not want to practice/practise what it preaches?

Leongsam kindly help out. Should it be "practice" or "practise". Please advise.

Anonymous said...


"I think most of my generation don't like kids."
According to whom?


Ans: The author. He said "I think".


"Kids make us poorer."


Ans: Ask Mr Wang how much he is paying for milk powder\childcare\enrichment classes\etc. while he enjoys volunteering work, spending those time (given his pay per hour) is a lot of moolah.


"We don't get to enjoy our lifestyle as before."
Life styles changes all the time.

"Some of us don't want to have our kids to suffer the same fate as us."
Like what? Just because you had a tough childhood doesn't mean your kid(s) will have one too.


Wow.
Are you Lee Bee Wah in disguise?

Statistically speaking, I believe there is some correlation. Mr Wang as ex-DPP may be in a better position to answer.


3/4 things you said above sounds like self serving excuses.


*Wow*

Anonymous said...


It is more the other way around. First, the mindset must change, and then the reality will follow.


True, but by "ability", I mean intelligence, circumstance, means. A concept that is common-sense to Mr Wang could be rocket science to the common folks. Some (less fortunate folks) may succeed. Most will be trapped in their vicious cycle (which is why it is called "vicious cycle").

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Its an article about USA-china but also more or less explains why u are getting all the breaks. Cos u happen to be marketable thats all."

Certainly your view may be valid, but it takes nothing away from mine. If you prefer, the question merely becomes rephrased as, "How does one get all the breaks and find ways to become more marketable?".

To which I might answer: "Oh it's got to do with your mindset; and whether you focus on scarcity or abundance."

I do find the rephrased question a bit limiting, though. Because the competition theme is not limited to job marketability, but extends to other areas of life ....

.... such as what in life you might deprive yourself of, if you believed (due to the scarcity mindset) that you don't have enough time / energy / ability / talent / luck / connections / skill / knowledge / good looks / charm / IQ / EQ / resources / experience etc.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"True, but by "ability", I mean intelligence, circumstance, means."

Mindset alters circumstance and means. I daresay, even IQ.

People who believe that they are stupid, usually are. But once they start having a more positive opinion about themselves, they'll start getting cleverer.

Onlooker said...

My last statement point is peer review especially in those worthless meetings(might as well make it useful).
Why all those flowery talk about bringing the company technology/product/service to the next higher level when the end users/customers noticed flaws that begin to appear in the products after quality is dump in favor of quantity?
Why no review or even a simple skills verification when they start importing talents in those years that passed by?
My perception is that part (not all) of the talents are just statistic to fluff up the company size yet in retrospect they also lost what we have strive for in the past.
The best reply to the situation now is their Good, Better ,Bestest marketing expert Teamy the Bee.
"Good, better, best
Never let it rest
Till the good is better
And the better best."
The effects of Teamy the Bee's decline can already be felt,yet Clueless they remain.
The Main Employer here have just now noticed the message we have been trying to get into their thick, complacent and "talk all you want but our word is law" head.
Well, perhaps Better Late than never?
to Mr Wang:
My interpretation is that the background check started RECENTLY?
It is still better than nothing. And I would hazard a guess that not all companies in Singapore can afford that firm service.

Razorwindsg said...

Very true.

I believe creativity is also of the same nature. You are creative once you think you are. But when you try to be creative, you are not being creative.

But I digress.

I would refer again to a comment i made on another thread.

I would think it is due to the Singaporean government being too good in a certain sense.

Everything is put clearly in the reward-effort links. You study, you get into a good school, you do cca , get more cca pts, get into better school, get good job, get money. There are even awards or incentives to have kids!

I would say Singaporeans are tuned to think more about extrinsic wants and needs, like material wants, and of course, money.

Everything must have a clear effort-reward line for Singaporeans to be interested in.
"Get into this CCA, network with high net-worth clients!"

Passion is usually defined as pa$$ion more often than not.

A banker once came to my uni to give an interesting insight about having a job in investment banks.
As a joke he commented: "Contrary to popular belief, bankers actually have time to go home...to shower." He had explained the long hours of work, the dedication needed and the nature of the work.
I had asked many friends why they want to enter into Finance/Banking. They know of the drawbacks that at the age of 40, they will be RICH, bald and still single. But they will be rich!

A lot of Singaporeans are still stuck on the lower steps of "Maslow's hierarchy of needs". Many still think money = happiness. Or that a person's life can be fulfilled entirely through extrinsic means.

I quote a good friend, who goes by the nickname of Tee: "Only when money is no longer a concern, then more money can be made". This is something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Life can be a competition, i don't disregard it. Everyone strives to attain their own dreams in their own way. Singaporeans' problem seem to more more of "Why must life be a competition for material wants?"

Yes, having $1 Billion in the bank is going to be good. But it doesn't carry over to you know where. "Hardly do you find anyone on the deathbed wishing that they had spent more time in the office". Responsibilities like family and bringing home the bacon is important, but enjoy life the way you want it to be and never ever plan for "retirement".

james said...

our kind of competition is based on jealousy not envy.

J is wat others hv I make sure they dun hv.

E is wat others hv I want to hv.

E is less evil than J.

How abt wat I hv I make sure others can't hv??? I think that is R - R for ruthless....

Mr Wang Says So said...

And a scarcity mindset goes like this:

"There is not enough to go around. If others have it, then I have been deprived and I can't have it."

An abundance mindset goes like this:

"There is plenty to go around. Everyone can have it. If it runs out, let's make more."

Essentially most competitions are based on a scarcity mindset. Eg "There are only 3 prizes, and 100 contestants".

It closes your eyes to other possibilities, eg "Even if I can't get that prize, it's fine. I can get something better elsewhere. If I can't get it, I'll just create it for myself."

Anonymous said...

I was actually thinking about this the other day - would I have taken up more activities I was interested in as a schoolchild if my parents hadn't said to concentrate on my studies? After all, they never prohibited me from doing other stuff and quite happily attended my various outside school performances and concerts (non-CCA) that I got involved in out of interest and even encouraged me to take part in them whenever I asked for permission. They always caveated their permission with "as long as it doesn't interfere with school work, but they never stopped me.

I stopped of my own accord, because I bought into the prevailing mindset and wanted to be a high-flyer, high-earner. I think even if one has permissive parents, the attitudes of society at large can affect young people in a very pervasive and insidious way. I think that in order to counter this effect, parents must actually actively encourage their children to pursue their interests - even if they are just neutral or slightly positive about such things it is very difficult for young people to go their own way and explore their interests freely.

-Israphale

Anonymous said...

I was actually thinking about this the other day - would I have taken up more activities I was interested in as a schoolchild if my parents hadn't said to concentrate on my studies? After all, they never prohibited me from doing other stuff and quite happily attended my various outside school performances and concerts (non-CCA) that I got involved in out of interest and even encouraged me to take part in them whenever I asked for permission. They always caveated their permission with "as long as it doesn't interfere with school work, but they never stopped me.

I stopped of my own accord, because I bought into the prevailing mindset and wanted to be a high-flyer, high-earner. I think even if one has permissive parents, the attitudes of society at large can affect young people in a very pervasive and insidious way. I think that in order to counter this effect, parents must actually actively encourage their children to pursue their interests - even if they are just neutral or slightly positive about such things it is very difficult for young people to go their own way and explore their interests freely.

-Israphale

klimmer said...

Anon (August 27, 2008 6:06 PM):

"Check with Mr. Wang"
Mr. Wang is not the only person who knows IB. He doesn't have nor claim a monopoly on truth or IB. Please come up with your own points.

"As Singapore moves to a knowledge-based industry with no minimum wage and easy employment of foreign workers ... a degree is MORE IMPORTANT than ever kiddo."

Would you care to expand on this line of argument?

By no means am I dismissing degrees but rather emphasising that a degree is just one more common life qualification, as compared to say 3 decades ago, when it was 'special'.

Especially in a knowledge driven industry, the degree cannot bestow much advantage in the real world as the knowledge one gains in the university is easily out paced by real world needs.

Take IT, financial derivatives and the medicine. They are constantly evolving and practising professionals need to constantly upgrade.

It is annoying to be corrected using sweeping, unsubstantiated, poorly argued, patronising cynical anonymity. For starters, I don't like addressing people by anon(time stamp). If you want to correct me, at least have the courtesy to argue your points.

klimmer said...

Anon (August 27, 2008 6:22 PM):

Your entire statements a cynical flame. Conceited statements & delegating someone else to provide statistics and facts for your arguments do your post little justice.

"
Ans: The author. He said "I think"."
I know. And I'm asking him to justify it. I can say easily my generation likes kids. The fact that I don't have to qualify my statement makes it as true that "I don't like kids".

(see Mr. Wang: Math is useful in real life)

"milk/ enrichment class/ etc... moolah"
If you are so broke that you have nothing to eat, then I would agree that having children is probably not a good idea. However, one can do without enrichment classes, childcare, cars or maid. I grew up with none of these. There's also a similar complaint I often hear from people living in HDBs of how tough life is that they are not living in condos. I live in a HDB for over 28 years. I still live in one when I come home to visit, and not the Ritz.

"Are you Lee Bee Wah in disguise?"
No I'm not. I don't know who he is.

"Statistically speaking, I believe there is some correlation. Mr Wang as ex-DPP may be in a better position to answer."

I'll be very happy to have a look at your statistics.
I was from a broke & broken family too.

I don't presume to give people advice, solicited or otherwise. But success is merely overcoming of adversity. Identifying hurdles and formulating specific, long termed strategy (as opposed to griping about what one doesn't have or circumstances) to overcome them is, generally speaking, a good idea.

HanSolo said...

You can choose not to compete, but you will lose out on the prizes.

If you're fine with that, then go run your own race.

If you don't want compete in the rat race, then learn to be happy with less money.

Want to work less and earn more? You'll need a big dose of luck for that.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Want to work less and earn more? You'll need a big dose of luck for that."

This is the thing that trips lots of people up. They believe that to earn more, you'll have to work harder.

Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way. The world is full of poor people who work very hard, such as construction workers; foreign maids; and vegetable sellers.

klimmer said...

"This is the thing that trips lots of people up. They believe that to earn more, you'll have to work harder."

Ditto on that.
Using less effort to achieve the same results is called efficiency. In the socialist's mind however, it's called sloth.

Mr Wang Says So said...

And the other thing is that lots of Singaporeans seem to chase very hard for prizes that were never really what they wanted - but what their parents, teachers or relatives expected them to chase.

Then later they regret what they chose to study; or feel disengaged from the careers they've built for themselves, etc etc.

So what was all that chasing for? Silly rats.

Anonymous said...

Dear Klimmer


I can say easily my generation likes kids.


Then you better ask the gahmen to take back all the incentives. Not efficient!

I dun see you backing your sweeping statements with any stats.


I don't presume to give people advice, solicited or otherwise.


And you are not very consistent either.


But success is merely overcoming of adversity. Identifying hurdles


You are always correct becos you are Klimmer? Becos you have rised above your difficulties and that makes you qualified to pass judgement on others and be the final word on all issues?

I dun know if you have any kids. Times have change. The bar has been risen and the so-call "meritocratic" policies is changing Singapore into a Darwinian jungle.

speaking for myself, I BELIEVE that the difference between human and animals is compassion. People like urself, who have crawled out of the abyss, should know better instead of sprouting holier-than-thou statements.

And I am not interested in debating with you because , frankly, you are just another nobody and not worth the effort to compete.

NoName

klimmer said...

NoName:

Please read carefully before posting.

My point was: Anyone can easily say "my generation like kids", just as easily as "my generation like kids", if there's nothing substantiate it. I do not claim to be either. The onus is on you, who claimed that "most my generation dont like kids" to provide statistics.

Social Darwinism has long been outmoded.

You have a bitter and mean streak. You expect compassion from others for your past and current predicament, but is unwilling to extend the same courtesy to society when you subscribe to social Darwinism.

Really what is the point of your entire rant? That your point is the most valid? Civilised, reasonable people do not fly into a rage when dealing with objections.

Anonymous said...

Hi Klimmer

Please note that I am merely MOCKING you and is not interested in any further discussion.

Oh, I have not idea who made that claim ...


The onus is on you, who claimed that "most my generation dont like kids" to provide statistics.


but who **** do you think you are?

Social Darwinism has long been outmoded.

The end of the anglo-saxon capitalism model that you worship will begin even in USA when Bush is finally booted out by Obama. Hell, even the PAP aspires (in their media) to "Swiss" standards. And grudgingly making minor concessions to Social Darwinism. They will have no choice. They will make more concessions by the next GE.


You have a bitter and mean streak. You expect compassion from others for your past and current predicament, but is unwilling to extend the same courtesy to society when you subscribe to social Darwinism.


I do not know what past predicament you are talking about.
I had a rather uneventful childhood and am doing very well thank you.

I do feel sorry for you because I actually help disadvantaged children from broken homes whenever I can. And somewhat disappointed that someone who have gone thru difficult times should still display such arrogance to tell others what to do, that your values are better. (Mr Wang can because this is his blog)

Anyway, this is not even funny anymore. We are two nobodies (and complete strangers) wasting space on Mr Wang's blog.

NoName

klimmer said...

Correction:

My point was: Anyone can easily say "my generation like kids", just as easily as "my generation dislike kids", if there's nothing

klimmer said...

NoName,

It's really annoying when you don't read the complete post.

I do not understand why you keep deferring to Social Darwinism on one hand while claiming to be charitable on the other. I never subscribed or approved of Social Darwinism, as I have iterated in all my previous posts.

"I do not know what past predicament you are talking about."
It's hard to tell you anon from each other.

"And somewhat disappointed that someone who have gone thru difficult times should still display such arrogance to tell others what to do, that your values are better."
Could you point out again at which point was I being arrogant? I was merely countering another anonymous poster's view that he had a hard life, hence his children will have a hard life. I countered giving an example of that statement being untrue.

"(Mr Wang can because this is his blog)"
So you're saying Mr Wang is arrogant, but in a good way?

"but who **** do you think you are?"
If my points sound reasonable, what does it matter who I am? Argue the points. So far I don't see any arguments, just cheap shots. Or are you suggesting that you'd find my arguments more believable if I was someone famous?

Anonymous said...

Life itself is a competition. A marathon race for everyone who breathes to enjoy, complete and win.

The living person reserves the right to determine who he/she is racing against, the highest form of competition being the competition against the self.

Unfortunately, distractions abound from mundane competitors who feels that Life is a race where there are only a few selected who wins. Alas no! Everyone wins in this competition as long as he or she believes so.

If you compete only against yourself, endeavouring to better yourself at every possible chance, completing the race at your own pace and believing that you are winner. You are the winner.

And competition is about winning.

BC.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with life or competition.

Just want to know your views if any on the Obama speech.

Kelvin Ng said...

Thanks for the link, Mr Wang.

But life cannot be lived completely on my own terms, can it? It's like maneuvering pass the defenders for the dunk. If your skill is no good, you still can't score. A life audit is there to keep your eye on the basket, but also the defenders. I'm rambling here.....

Anonymous said...

Dear Klimmer

We are nobodies as in nobodies. As in not very intelligent.

Your arguments re kids and education are all disproved in the stats provided by MOM and the stats department.(Of course u may interpret the sats differently. You are free to do so.) If you are too busy and wish to use anecdotal evidence, you may want to ponder why our notoriously tight fisted gahmen has gone from sterilizing singaporeans like stray curs to giving $1.6 billion to encourage breeding. Or to build a new university. Singaporean workers with recognised degrees should be under 15%.

Mr Wang is maybe smug but not arrogant. Well, he is successful in everything (career, kids, etc), except LANDED PROPERTY so he has every right to be so. And this is his blog so he can write anything he wishes!

Besides he is touting techniques that has been proven for thousands of years. So he is doing a service. Even if he sometimes sounds like a certain french queen who advised her subjects to eat cake. which is delicious and satisfies hunger.

Just kidding. Mr Wang is speaking from his experience and everything he does is to enhance a virtuous cycle. So it would be unfair for him to understand us mere mortals. And Mr Wang is not even from PAP. Or so they say. He does seem to exhort his readers to have more babies so maybe he is just getting a commission :-p

Mr Wang has moved on. Lets do the same.
Btw, I should congrat u on doing so well despite ur circumstances. I know for a fact how few does so. Well done. Hope to see u inspiring the disadvantaged to do the same.

NoName

klimmer said...

NoName,

Don't mind my saying but your views are too narrow, and somewhat limited to Singapore. Just because things are done a peculiar way doesn't mean it's the only way. I cannot understand why you keep bringing the government into the argument. People create the unwritten rules in society. You write your posts as if you are the final say in the matter. It's all so... well, PAP like. (I applaud blah blah. Let's move on blah blah - sounds familiar?)

What education stats were you referring to? Is it so well proven that you cannot find it? At least have the courtesy to add a link. And the stats that I was referring to was not about education.

What has been proven for thousands of years anyhow?

I think you've also missed the entire gist of these posts: the entire argument is that Life doesn't have to be a competition. And there you go talking about landed property, career etc.

I'm also speaking from experience, and I'm also enhancing a virtuous cycle. I don't see you clapping? What it really comes down to is that you've a preconceived idea that I'm arrogant and you don't like that. I think it's ridiculous to come to that kind of judgment just because I have an opinion and can argue it. Please argue an idea and reason through it. You have yet to provide a shred of evidence, or statistic.


By the way, I hope you realise that cake, in Marie-Antoinette time, was the charred left over from making bread. Also Mr. Wang is not touting anything, less techniques.

Anonymous said...

If you had done your homework, you would know that that was an expression to bait Mr Wang.

Looks like Mr Wang is not taking bait. I am unworthy :-S

Strictly speaking, there was no hard evidence that Marie-Antoinette actually spoke the infamous phrase. So you cannot be correct about what "cake" meant. In fact, it was more likely to be by a earlier queen who was referring to pastry.

As a rule, I am lazy and do not usually spoon-feed but it difficult chatting with you.

(Yes, I am quite bored now.)

C'mon, even a broken down clock is correct twice a day :-)

You really should check out this link:

www.google.com

NoName

Mr Wang Says So said...

NoName thinks I am Buddha. No, I decline this bait. Buddha is faaaar more advanced in his abilities; he transcends his desires altogether, while I merely keep fulfilling mine with my extraordinary mind/reality abilities. :D

klimmer said...

NoName:

No evidence is no evidence. No need for snide, brown nosing or patronizing words.

Totally pwned and don't even know it.

Imprinted Pens said...

People in singapore, like you said, grow up learning that education comes first, then they are taught "Your career should be first priority - don't waste time on having children." The world now Mr. Wang revolves around money and material things unfortunately and peoples descision usually is to keep on making money and buy material things. Due to the fact that the world, not only singapore, revolves around this, they dont realize what a gift it is to have kids.

Cheers,
Rhea