Aug 19, 2009

More on the Scholarship Matter

A journalist from The New Paper has emailed me about my earlier post here. She would like to interview me and write an article about the matter.

Sorry, Pei Shan, I decline. But do feel free to quote my blog. Anyway, the key facts speak for themselves. You can also call up the Law Faculty or the NUS Admissions Office to ask more questions.

As a matter of fact, why limit yourself to the NUS Law Faculty? Go ask some harder (and wider) questions, about how much of Singapore's taxpayers' money is spent each year, to pay school fees for students from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam .... anywhere but Singapore.

I'll just say a little more about why I had been interested in doing a Masters in Law at NUS. I am a Singapore-qualified lawyer, which means that I've been formally trained and educated in the laws of Singapore. However, nowadays my work is quite international. It is therefore very useful for me to understand more about the laws in other countries, especially the Asian ones.

The best university in the world to study Asian laws is probably NUS. Not Harvard, not Cambridge, not Stanford. It's NUS, because it's right here in Asia, and it has dedicated itself towards building expertise in Asian legal systems. For example, the NUS Law Faculty offers subjects such as:

The Contemporary Indian Legal System
Chinese Corporate and Securities Law
Foreign Investment Law in Vietnam
Japanese Corporate Law & Governance
Islamic Law
Introduction to Indian Business Law
International & Comparative Law of Sale in Asia
Chinese Legal Tradition and Legal Chinese

These are useful, practical subjects for lawyers in Singapore. Why? Because Singapore is always aiming to be a regional hub in this, or a regional hub in that. Therefore Singaporean lawyers frequently need to work on cross-border/foreign matters, and that's why they need to know more about laws in other Asian countries.

Unfortunately, when Singaporean lawyers want to apply for a scholarship to upgrade their skills at NUS, they will be discriminated against. Just for being Singaporean.

That's just too bad ... for Singapore.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spot on Mr Wang. I wonder could it could it be possible key faculty members or decision makers are not Singaporeans, and therefore are looking out for their fellow countryman's interests rather than Singaporean ones?

I know for a fact in the private sector this is common phenomenon. When a foreign person takes over a senior position, soon he aligns himself or brings in people, usually foreigners, of his own to replace Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang lookie here!

http://admissions.ntu.edu.sg/graduate/scholarships/Pages/default.aspx

I have not gone to look at SMU's page. But I suspect it would roughly be about the same.

And from the looks of it, an outdated FT policy which the Ministries in charge forgot to update. Or for fear of being made redunant now that these scholarships are against Singaporeans, they just continue?

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like the research institutes in A*Star. Check up how many Head of Department in I2R are Chinese nationals.
Check where these folks obtained their PhD degree. You can find one from Zhejiang (China) University one. That tells you how good the standard of A*Star is.

Charles said...

Do you know which countries favour their own nationals when they apply at they local universities?

skeptic said...

"Do you know which countries favour their own nationals when they apply at they local universities?"

The United States. The admission requirement for foreigners are much higher in some courses.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ibo.org/events/univsg09/

This is some recognition forum. Is there a policy to get more foreigners?

Mr Wang Says So said...

LOL ... who's talking about favouritism for locals?

In my example, Singaporeans don't even get treated on an equal basis as foreigners.

Anonymous said...

There's this silly belief that foreigners are better and that we should attract them to Spore. Sure, given our genes pool, the best Singaporean will probably not be the best in the world for his specialty. But what usually happens is that we only attract the second or third best tier( amongst those that have made it- the experience in getting foreign CEOs for GLCs are a testament to this ). And now we are hoping to attract the foreign students hoping foolishly that they will feel obliged after the free education to stay on. But when we cannot be the best in whatever they want to specialise in why would they stay? Our government is totally myopic and unfair to its own citizens.

Min said...

Some scholarships are sponsored by rich foreigners/foreign firms who choose to reserve those scholarships for foreigners only. You can't blame NUS for those.

There are also many scholarships at the undergraduate level that are reserved for Singaporeans only: http://www.nus.edu.sg/oam/scholarships-financialaid/scholarships/freshmen/scp/scholarship-sg-citizens-pr.html

Anonymous said...

Do you know which countries favour their own nationals when they apply at they local universities?

America, Canada, China, India, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Costa Rica, UK, France, Taiwan...

You want more?

Anonymous said...

NUS and NTU scholarships are usually gov funded, if I am not wrong. How long have they started to look for sponsors? Maximum of 3 years?

So I suspect these scholarships are highly possible Gov funded. Especially when they look so identical.

So instead of asking NUS and NTU, we should be asking our darling Gov. Because the sponsor or funding institutions are the ones who say who are eligible and who are not. From the looks of it, these sponsors prefer non-Singaporeans. Now PM Lee should know why he needs to give so much goodies to get PRs and still nobody wants to become citizens.

Anonymous said...

Introduction
1. The National University of Singapore [NUS] offers 40 scholarships each year to nationals of ASEAN* member countries to take full-time course-work graduate degrees at NUS. Singapore citizens and permanent residents are ineligible. These awards, known as the NUS Graduate Scholarship for ASEAN nationals [NUS GSA], are financed by the People of Singapore and the University. The scholar has no obligation or bond to NUS or Singapore but is expected to complete the graduate degree and return to the home country.


http://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/gdfa/gd-nusgsa.html

Fox said...

I doubt that this New Paper journalist will succeed in writing anything on the discrimination against Singaporeans. The editor will simply not allow it. He/she is not the first one who've tried to look into the issue.

How do I know? I've tried to bring this issue to the attention of the ST and the New Paper over the last few years. I emailed journalists whom I think were interested and provided ample relevant information. All I got were polite thanks and replies that they could not take up the issue.

If the journalist from TNP is really interested, he/she can reach me at mandias.alopex@hotmail.com.

haveahacks said...

Since when do lawyers deserve scholarships ? You want the taxpayer to pay for your post-graduate education so you can double your pay ? For what ? We need more lawyers like we need more investment bankers. If you think you can earn more with a Master's, pay your own tuition.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are good for serving NS only. After the 2 years of retardation, the brain gets a bit rusty. Unlike the foreign student who just graduated from high school with the knowledge fresh and intact. So it is in Singapore's interest that Singaporeans get less of the scholarships.

Anonymous said...

"Since when do lawyers deserve scholarships ? You want the taxpayer to pay for your post-graduate education so you can double your pay ? For what ? We need more lawyers like we need more investment bankers. If you think you can earn more with a Master's, pay your own tuition."

thank you, that should cover all FOREIGN lawyers as well. scrape the programme totally then.

next pls.

The said...

/// haveahacks said...
Since when do lawyers deserve scholarships? ///

Yup, as Shakespeare's Henry VI said: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."


WSS - joking only lah...

Mr Wang Says So said...

I dunno lah. Sometimes I read comments like the one by HaveaHacks, and I just think to myself:

"How come some people can soooooo totally miss the point??"

It's amazing ...

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I think u are a big hypocrite. Instead of fussing over the matter of a scholarship, why dun u just take up the course and foot the fees yourself?

Really no need to whine...!

Mr Wang Says So said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Wang Says So said...

Basically, you're probably out to defend the government's position no matter what ... therefore you're out to characterise me as a "whiner", a "hypocrite" etc etc.

Goodness. Whiner? Hypocrite? In what way? Do you even know the meaning of these words? Tsk tsk.

You're merely exposing your own intellectual inability to grasp the bigger issues that affect our nation and that are being discussed on my blog.

To understand the bigger issues, try reading through these recent blog entries - they are all related and will educate you somewhat:

"A Simple Illustration of Question 9"

"More on the 9th Question"

"The 9th Question - on Singaporean students"

"The Ever-Inquisitive Goh Chok Tong"

(Oh, no need to thank me for helping GCT understand his own question better).

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, ask the Gov to explain these ->

http://v15.huasing.org/bbs.php?B=116_10845347

http://v15.huasing.org/bbs.php?B=116_11038186 (States that it is MOE scholarship)

Looks like a few HUNDREDS of China scholarships A YEAR? By MOE? By GLCs? Why would these GLCs give MILLIONS of dollars worth of scholarships A YEAR to HUNDREDS of CHINESE ONLY? Why would any BUSINESS do such a thing?

Not suspicious? Reporter dare to probe?

Anonymous said...

Wang you so slow. 2007 already got publish letter already.

http://lemondroplets.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!26F399664A850E81!575.entry

Encourage Singaporeans to go beyond Bachelor's?
http://www.todayonline.com/articles/165376.asp

TODAY
Friday 12 January 2007
ShortTakes S'porean-friendly graduate study

A high-level panel of education experts is here to study how to increase the number of Singaporeans with qualifications beyond a bachelor's degree.
.
A check with the Nanyang Technological University's website reveals only two scholarships for graduate study by coursework available: The Asean Graduate Scholarship (not for Singaporeans or permanent residents) and the Apec Scholarship (not for Singaporeans).
.
Hopefully, graduate study will be encouraged by making it more Singaporean-friendly in Government-funded institutions.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

On why u are hypocrite & whiner:

From all ya blogs, one can tell u are already financially able. U dun really need someone else (much less the Govt or some othe Govt sponsored entity) to fund ya post-grad fees. Yet u lament and push the lack-of-postgradscholarship-for entitled-S'poreans agenda as a rallying point.

I also dun trust politicians and take what they say with strong pinch of salt, regardless of party affiliation. So I dun really put too much weight to what GCT or other politicians said.

I dun know how the scholarships are dished out, under what conditions and what strings attached. I only hear ya side of the story and it screams 'I want my entitlement, if not I will blog to the whole world abt it'. To me, these are really not that relevant.

Call me a simpleton or a govt stooge or whatever names. But it is merely subtle distraction and is also irrelevant.

I read ya blogs on this topic many time over. I strip away ya suave words. Sadly, I see only greed & selfishness...I only see that u can afford it and yet u ask for more.

Nothing to do with being S'poreans or foreigners or politics or what not.

That's hypocritical & complaining, is it not? Maybe my language grasp is not so good, I admit. But I call it as I see it.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Truly, your comment is rather ridiculous. You make complaints like these:

"I dun know how the scholarships are dished out, under what conditions and what strings attached. I only hear ya side of the story"

Goodness, what an unintelligent remark. You don't know how the scholarships are dished out? You don't know the conditions? You don't know what strings are attached?

Here's a simple solution for you. You saw my earlier post? Notice the six links there? Go click. Go to the NUS websites and read for yourself. It's all explained in detail by the NUS Law Faculty itself. What source could be more authoritative and correct, than the official website of the scholarship provider itself?

Let me tell you that frankly, I am not TERRIBLY disappointed, for myself, that my Singaporean citizenship automatically disqualifies from these scholarships. Why? Because I am also quite happy not to do my Masters and just go on working & earning money.

But the issue isn't about me, you see? It's about the discrimination that Singaporeans face. Please don't assume that all Singaporean law graduates earn as much as me. For example, a Singaporean law graduate may have just worked one or two years, and may then hope to do his Masters (or he may even hope to do his Masters immediately after finishing his first degree). A scholarship may be quite essential for him to be able to do that.

Note also that all the Law Faculty grad scholarships that I had referred to discriminate on the grounds of citizenship, but draw no distinction on the ground of financial neediness.

What does this mean? It means that:

(1) if I were a filthy rich foreigner loaded with cash, I could still apply and get the scholarship;

(2) but if I were a poor Singaporean, I cannot apply. The fact that I am a Singaporean automatically disqualifies me.

Would you like to comment on that? Truly, try using your brain a little before you talk.

Fox said...

The article has appeared in the New Paper.

See: http://tnp.sg/news/story/0,4136,211048,00.html?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

From the New Paper:

"The fees for Singaporeans applying for a Masters in NUS Law Faculty are significantly lower because of subsidies - $5,890 for most programmes, compared to $14,730 for foreigners, according to NUS."

For $6k, u write a long tale to lambast the post grad masters of law scholarship and lump it with entitlement??? Come on..., dear lawyer-investment banker who just recently bought a coveted landed property! I must have developed pea brain after reading ya long-winded rationale.

BTW, insults dun win arguments! They distract from the truth. U r not only hypocritical, u r desperate.

A S'porean lawyer can't really be that 'poor' as to not be able to afford the post grad Masters tuition fees, right?



Also, it is also possible that the scholarships could be given to some poor but extremely bright foreigners, right? There are always 2 sides to the coin, unless u rigged the argements to only 1 sie.

Or is it possbile that perhaps the post-grad scholarships are specially offered to foreigners in order to make the law course more vibrant with foreign participation? Without it, maybe nbdy will come. With it, perhaps S'poreans who take up the course can even network and gain from it.

If I were filthy rich foreigner, why in the world would I choose NUS over Harvard, Cambridge or somewhere else more prestigious, more 'valuable'? U mean their law schools are so backwards that they dun offer courses in Asian law? I am no lawyer nor law grad...but this is what I think.

Note that I am specifically talking abt ya Post Grad Masters of Law schlarships. I am not lumping it with other scholarships.

Boy, u sure are good with words, in the way u masquearade ya intentions. Almost had me fooled. Still, u dun think the issue is abt u?? Tsk Tsk... just admit it 'cos u're starting to digress....! Try using less of ya brains, it may work.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang

I missed out on ya new lawyer wanting a scholarship point.

I think it is an outright lie to say that a Sporean lawyer with a couple or few years experience does not hv enough savings to foot the post-grad Masters at NUS. I do not need to eloborate on this.

And as far as I know, most Masters courses require grads with some years of relevant working experience. Would u, Mr Wang, attend a Masters course where everyone is a fresh grad? Also going by ya argument, r u also saying that the scholarships offered to foreigners are fresh grad without any relevant job experience?


I still think that u are still desperately trying to protect ya image.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Haha! The New Paper article sure is funny.

Vice-Dean Alan Tan is reported as saying that it's "wrong to say Singaporeans are excluded from most of the scholarships" because it is necessary to "look at the number of recipients in each scholarship category."

But right after that, he "declined to reveal" how many research scholarship went to Singaporeans or PRs. He "did not give exact numbers on how many were given out". And he would not state "how many were awarded to Singaporeans".

Let me just point out that he's the vice-dean of graduate programmes at the faculty. All this info should be easily available to him.

月下影子 said...

"A S'porean lawyer can't really be that 'poor' as to not be able to afford the post grad Masters tuition fees, right? ”

"I think it is an outright lie to say that a Sporean lawyer with a couple or few years experience does not hv enough savings to foot the post-grad Masters at NUS. ”

Just replace "S'porean" with "foreign".

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Also, it is also possible that the scholarships could be given to some poor but extremely bright foreigners, right?

Yes. However, it is not possible for those scholarships to be given to any Singaporean -

no matter how bright, how poor, how stupid, or how rich.

You begin to understand now? The key element is the Singapore citizenship. That is the point of my post.

--------
"Or is it possbile that perhaps the post-grad scholarships are specially offered to foreigners in order to make the law course more vibrant with foreign participation?"

Yes, it's possible. In fact, I'm sure that that's one of the reasons.

And the fact is that Singaporeans are once again disadvantaged. Do you agree?

==============

"If I were filthy rich foreigner, why in the world would I choose NUS over Harvard, Cambridge or somewhere else more prestigious, more 'valuable'? U mean their law schools are so backwards that they dun offer courses in Asian law? I am no lawyer nor law grad...but this is what I think."

Well, you know my usual style. Some readers such as yourself are full of conjecture and bluff, but I prefer the hard facts.

NUS LLM course, as I have already mentioned, has quite a number of Asian-law specific courses, eg

Chinese securities law;
Indian business law;
Japanese corporate governance; Islamic law;
Singapore law;
Chinese Legal Tradition;
Land Law in Asia

etc etc.

(In fact, NUS offers a "Masters in Law in Asian Legal Studies" and also has established an Asian Law Institute).

Now, please click here to see Harvard's full list of law subjects (undergrad + graduate). Please show me whether you can find Harvard teaching any law subject with an Asian focus.

As for Cambridge, its full list of Masters in Law (LLM) subjects is here (and also shown below too). Once again, please show me where you can see Cambridge teaching any law subject with an Asian focus.


CAMBRIDGE LLM SUBJECTS

Paper 2. International Commercial Tax

Paper 3. International Commercial Litigation

Paper 4. Law of Restitution

Paper 6. Commercial Insurance Law

Paper 9. Corporate Finance Law

Paper 10. Corporate Governance

Paper 11. Criminal Justice - Players and Processes

Paper 12. Intellectual Property

Paper 14. Competition Law

Paper 15. International Environmental Law

Paper 17. E.C. Trade Law

Paper 18. External Relations Law of the European Union

Paper 19. Foundations of International Law

Paper 20. Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping

Paper 23. The Law of the World Trade Organization

Paper 24. International Criminal Law

Paper 25. International Human Rights Law

Paper 26. Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Paper 30. Jurisprudence

Paper 32. Commercial Equity

Paper 33. Comparative Family Law and Policy

Paper 34. Philosophy of Criminal Law

Paper 35. History of English Civil and Criminal Law

Paper 36. International Intellectual Property Law

Paper 38. Comparative Law (LL.M. Seminar)

Paper 38. European Social Rights and Economic Integration (LL.M. Seminar)

Paper 38. Philosophy of Evidence and Proof (LL.M. Seminar)

Paper 38. Public Law (LL.M. Seminar)

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I agree with you. I find that you prove your views and opinions, by providing all the relevant info and data.

I think you do not need to concern yourself too much with your less-intelligent critics. Anyway the world is full of idiots, you can never finish enlightening all of them.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Assc Prof Alan Tan is lurking around somewhere here, if he hasn't posted aready.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Fact 1:

Assuming ya grades and experience are excellent, hv u been denied a place to take up the POST-GRAD Masters course in the capacity as a Singaporean?

Fact 2:

Is the cost reasonably affordable for a lawyer with more than 2 years experience?

Fact3:

Can the 'respectable' Mr Wang afford it?


In ya example, what real loss will/have u as a S'porean experienced?

If the fees are exorbitant, then that may be an issue.

But for $6k which u did not 'gain', u want to take the moral high ground and lecture the estab on entitlement-for-S'porean?

Also, u made out as if the whole post-grad law course has been shut out to all S'poreans. Very sneaky...! Some of ya supporters obviously fell for it. These are the real idiots who should use their brains.

Hell, the more u defend, the more u sound like some high-paying politicians i know who are trying to justify their pay increase.

The 'facts' u quoted...tons of it. Question is: are they relevant? Perhaps u can answer those I posted above, which are to the point...no merry go-around like a jargonistic lawyer (oops, sorry!) and no distractions.

For the record, I am neither pro-PAP nor pro-opposition.

I totally understand the point of ya post. I also think that in many areas, S'poreans deserve more & better. But specifically, ya personal position has been compromised and well, using the 'scholarship entitlement' to back u up is at best flimsy...and makes u look greedy!

Mr Wang Says So said...

I guess you don't see the point.

I suppose you are the kind of person who would read my post about marital rape, and say:

"But Mr Wang, you are not a woman, you have no husband therefore you won't get raped, so why should you care?"

.... thereby missing the point.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,


"I suppose you are the kind of person who would read my post about marital rape, and say:
But Mr Wang, you are not a woman, you have no husband therefore you won't get raped, so why should you care?"

This illustration is totally out of point. Again, the art of distraction in play. if not, u r engaged in assumptions ( not facts) as well.

U simply cannot 'tolerate' a different perspective, can u? Not only do u try to distract, u kinda impose as well. How different are u from those u are decrying about? Or hv u grown so popular that u've become a tad arrogant?

Just admit that ya personal sholarship example is simply 'inadmissible'. There are better unbiased examples, I assure you for a fact!

Mr Wang Says So said...

You missed the point.

You actually agree with my post. At the very least, you do not disagree with any part of my main post. For example:

1. You do not dispute that the NUS scholarship criteria largely disqualifies Singaporeans from applying.

2. You no longer dispute that NUS offers LLM subjects in Asian law, which other universities do not.

3. You have never disputed my statement that it's important for Singapore lawyers to have a grasp of Asian laws.

4. You don't dispute my comments on Alan Tan's interview with the TNP, about how he declines to reveal information.

Etc etc.

All you are unhappy about are my personal status and circumstances, as you perceive them to be.

In other words, you are pretty much just making personal attacks on me. But on the actual substance of my post - you have no comments.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang:

"1. You do not dispute that the NUS scholarship criteria largely disqualifies Singaporeans from applying."

Yes, absolutely. But the current post-grad law course are so, so affordable to most (if not all)S'porean lawyers with a couple or few years of experience that there is no crying need for one. Sure, I'm making an assumption regarding S'pore lawyers, but it's a reasonable one.



"2. You no longer dispute that NUS offers LLM subjects in Asian law, which other universities do not."

I never disputed this. I mentioned I am no lawyer. I am not familiar with the law courses. My bad for mentioning it and thks for pointing out. BUT, it's still IRRELEVANT to the scholarship entitlement and affordability debate.



"3. You have never disputed my statement that it's important for Singapore lawyers to have a grasp of Asian laws."

Same reply as 2.



"4. You don't dispute my comments on Alan Tan's interview with the TNP, about how he declines to reveal information."

Huh? R we debating abt his interview or talking abt the reason why this "loss of post-grad law scholarship entitlement for S'porean lawyers" is merely a trumped up charge.


"All you are unhappy about are my personal status and circumstances, as you perceive them to be. In other words, you are pretty much just making personal attacks on me. But on the actual substance of my post - you have no comments."

Personal attacks? Case of Pot calling kettle black? Or suddenly r u so so sensitive? If ya other comments are relevant, I will comment. U bring in a PERSONAL example which I don't think is well worth bringing up. And since u brought it up, then be prepared to defend it.

Read my conclusion again: S'porean lawyers are currently not being deprived of a post-grad law course in NUS. Your scholarship fuss is storm in teacup. There is no BIG, BIG loss even if there isn't any scholarship entitlement for S'porean lawyers. They can afford it. Like I mention earlier, it may turn out to be invaluable with networking & interaction etc.

If u start with entitlement thing in the post-grad law course, then what abt our courses for our S'poreans? There will be no end as to how the pie will be split....! Major issue is affordability...see the point? U also can't have it all...! Entitlement is a loaded concept.


I give u credit for pointing out other mjor areas of disenfranchisement in other blogs, some of which I agree. The post-law scholarship entitlement just ain't one of them.

Maybe 10, 20 years later when the fees are really exorbitant, and if I am still alive, I will dredge out ya argement. For now, I will focus on other more useful fronts to improve.

Anti-Chronic Singapore said...

After looking at the facts and going through all the websites, I agree with Mr Wang.

The scholarship policy is discriminating to Singapore Citizens.