Aug 20, 2009

Education, and Even More Discrimination Against Citizens

ST Aug 20, 2009
Thanks, being a PR is good enough

IN RESPONSE to letters by Mr Jimmy Loke ('The PR difference', last Saturday) and Mr Chia Kok Leong ('No school, no Singapore', last Saturday), I would only ask them to refer to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's speech reported last Friday ('MM: Foreign talent is vital'), where he gave an idea of the benefits citizens have over permanent residents (PRs).

I am happy to be a PR and although we do not get equal benefits in housing and other respects, that is understandable. We understand the difference between a citizen and a PR.

But where our children are concerned, we just want them to have the best education possible and I think we are not asking much. Citizens have the upper hand in buying homes and other respects, which is justified, but where schooling is concerned, 'every child has the right to get the best education possible'.

About living here for six years and not taking citizenship, I think this is a very personal choice. I would just like to end this topic by saying we are not here to compete with citizens but there are certain things on which one cannot compromise and children's education is one of them. I think we are not asking much and we are grateful to the Government for understanding that for every parent, his child's welfare comes first.

I would like to thank Mr Loke and Mr Chia for inviting us to become citizens but for now, I am proud to be a citizen of my country and have PR status in Singapore.

Sweta Agarwal (Mrs)

The context of this letter is admission to primary schools. The process is highly competitive, for the top schools. PRs and Singaporeans are treated the same way in the admissions process (which leads some Singaporeans to complain).

Actually, that's incorrect. The deeper truth is that Singaporeans do not enjoy the same rights as PRs, as far as primary school admissions are concerned. Singaporeans are disadvantaged, vis a viz the PRs. Let me explain.

Some years ago, I went to a friend's home for a party. Mark is Australian by birth, and has since become a PR. He also had two sons, who were then of primary school age.

The two boys were not attending a local primary school. Instead they were attending an international school in Singapore. I can't remember exactly which one now - it could have been the Singapore American School, or perhaps it was the Australian International School.

Mark started to tell me about what his sons did in school, the kind of curriculum they had etc. His two sons also showed me their school projects, and photos of their school activities.

It struck me that in some ways, this international school was much better than the average local school. There was less emphasis on rote learning, memory work and exams. The children had more time for sports, cultural activities and field trips. It was a happier, more creative kind of learning environment.

I began to think that if I could, maybe I should also send my son to an international school, when he was old enough.

But I learned later that I could not.

PRs in Singapore can send their young children to a local primary school, or to an international school. The PRs have the right to choose. If they choose a local primary school, then they enjoy the same priority as Singaporean citizens, in the admissions process. Alternatively, PRs can send their children to an international school in Singapore, such as one of these:

Singapore American School
Australian International School
Canadian International School
Stamford American International School
Avondale Grammar School
Emaar International School
One World International School
EtonHouse International School
Overseas Family School
Tanglin Trust School
The Swiss School Singapore
However, Singaporean citizens do not have that option. They are not allowed to send their young children to international schools. Whether they like it or not, they must send their children to a local primary school. Not because the international schools reject Singaporeans. But because the Singapore government says so.

The Compulsory Education Act states that Singaporean parents must send their child, at age six, to attend a "national primary school". The rule is compulsory, and excludes international schools, and does not apply to PRs, but only to Singaporeans.

Therefore unlike PRs, Singaporeans do not have the option of sending their little children to an international school (instead of a local school). In fact, that would be a criminal offence. You could be sent to prison for up to one year.

Isn't it fun to be Singaporean? It's like being one of the heroes in Mission Impossible. There are booby traps everywhere you turn.

Time for another poem, from my book Two Baby Hands (which is available at Kinokuniya). This poem explains what I find disturbing, about the local education system. Sandra Davie, the ST journalist who writes about education, likes this particular poem a lot. Sandra told me so herself, when she came to my book launch and I was autographing her copy.

In Our Schools

Some are Special,
or Express. A few are
Gifted. The others
are merely Normal
(a polite lie).

All are classifiable,
like chemical compounds,
lists of Chinese
or lab specimens of
dead insects -

preserved, labelled,
pinned by a cold
through the
unfeeling thorax.


Indiana said...

If this is so true how come LHL kids go to an International School?

Anonymous said...

errr - you forgot to add.

If you are MM Lee's grandson, you are allowed to join the American School.

Indiana said...

Opps that should read LHY not LHL.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Lee Hsien Loong obtained special permission from the Education Minister.

The reason given was that his child had dyslexia (a kind of reading difficulty), and the American School has special teachers who are trained to help students like that.

So the Education Minister gave permission to his boss PM Lee, to send his child to the Singapore American School.

Indiana said...

So how come the Singapore System does not have special teachers who are trained to help?

Anonymous said...

So PM knew his child had dyslexia only when? Why not have at least 1 school with trained teachers early on? We have other Singaporean kids with the same problem right?

So clever.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, legally is it wrong to write a letter to the India High Commission in Singapore to invite this wonderful SPR back to her nation as she had threathen to? This is to ensure that she is held to her words, and upholds the Indian pride.

We should also lament to the Indian High Commission in Singapore that their citizens thinks "the best education possible" lies in Singapore, where they took up PR, and not in India, where they proudly belong.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be a citizen of my country and have PR status in Singapore.

I am proud of my own country which does not treat foreigners better than citizens. So I will stay here to sponge off you bunch of idiots.

(and maybe get more of my people to come and eat you empty)

Eaststopper said...

I think if one earns more than a certain amount, there is little incentive to be a Singaporean. My latest request for a housing grant for HDB was turned down, even though I pleaded that I needed some government assistance to take care of my aging parents and my newborn girl.
It is dawning on me that I no longer enjoy much advantage over the PRs except that the Singapore passport has allowed better access (no visas needed) for overseas travel.


Anonymous said...

Singaporeans must attend Singapore national schools because the curriculum include all those nation-building stuff, stuff about how great the Lee government are and so on and so forth. I dont want to use the word "brainwashing" or "propaganda" but you will be forgiven for thinking so.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang,

You can get your son tested by a child psychologist to see if he has dyslexia. Then see if MOE give permission for the special education of your son when you apply. Or is this special permission reserved for the Lees and their cronies?

Anyway, dyslexia is not uncommon. My nephew has it. His awareness & understanding of things (general IQ) was assessed to be that of a typical child twice his age. Fortunately or unfortunately, his parents decided to send him to their branded alma mater local school.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Actually I think that SM's grandson did a wonderful thing for Singaporeans, by being dyslexic.

I don't have exact timelines and all that kind of info, but I know that at one time, there was very little help in Singapore schools, for dyslexic children (and it had been that way for decades).

After MM's grandson was found to be dyslexic, however, things suddenly began to change. MOE began to send many teachers on special courses, to be trained in how to help students with these kinds of special learning disabilities.

These teachers are now known as "Allied Educators". As of now, 108 primary schools in Singapore have at least one teacher who is an Allied Educator. The target is that by next year, every local primary school in Singapore should have at least one Allied Educator.

Anonymous said...

...but there are certain things on which one cannot compromise and children's education is one of them.

So PR cannot compromise, but Citizen can? Every sentence she wrote contradicts herself. This is the type of "TALENT" our government wants?

James said...

Mr Wang, can a Singaporean renounce his citizenship, take up a foreign citizenship and then apply to be a Singapore PR?

Anonymous said...

Excellent poem, Mr Wang.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Is this true?
My Indian fren tells me that up to the 3rd generation overseas, Indians are considered an Indian national, citizen elsewhere or PR immaterial.
He's Singaporean and makes frequent trips to Chennai where he opens a trading account in his name (non Indians outlawed) buying & selling Indian stocks & shares like any other Indian national.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Why should it be surprising that India should be nice to its citizens? It's the norm for most countries, you know.

Singapore is the exception.

Repressive force said...

"Actually I think that SM's grandson did a wonderful thing for Singaporeans, by being dyslexic."

hmm.. wouldn't we wish more of their children would be blessed with afflictions?

Terence Goh said...

What about Singapore citizen with PR spouse? Can their children be sent to an international school?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

The key factor is actually the child's citizenship, so Mark's kids must have been Australian citizens + Singapore PRs.

Terence Goh said...


What's your take on this?:

Indian National fined $2,000 for outraging the victim’s modesty.

I thought molesters usually get jail term (worse for this case as he kissed the victim)? Is this another case of foreigner having an advantage?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Well I have not kept in touch with sentencing practices for some time now.

But when I was a DPP, the benchmark sentence for OM would be around 6 to 9 months + caning. So a $2,000 fine does seem very, very lenient.

Still I should add that in certain types of cases (especially illegal immigration), judges sometimes don't award long sentences because they know that the person is going to get deported very soon anyway. Thus illegal immigrants used to get just 1 day's sentence + 4 strokes of the cane. (The 4 strokes is bad, but the 1 day in jail is more symbolic than anything else.).

Putting the person in jail for a longer time is basically wasting jail-space and taxpayers' money for food etc.

PRs can have their PR status revoked, eg for committing a criminal offence. That will probably happen to this guy.

YH said...

I look at things from another point of view. It is unwise to allow local children admission into international schools( except the special cases). this is because the international schools require a hefty school fee which many singaporeans are unable to afford. This means only the rich can enter the international schools and well you will get elitism that is based on the wealth of the parents. This is a scary scenario.
Allowing PR kids to choose between international or public is fine. reason being, allowing PR kids to join public schools allow them to be integrated into local society, which is desirable. We do not wan a fractured society. International schools are meant for the ex-pats are should remain so. The least the government should do is to learn from the international schools and evolve to a better system


other james said...

Mr Wang: "Why should it be surprising that India should be nice to its citizens? It's the norm for most countries, you know.

Singapore is the exception."
ha ha, this sums it all.

raelynn said...

to YH:

while your point about getting public schools to adapt the international school is a reasonable argument, but the way our public school is run is ingrained so much into its roots that any significant change is tough.

i suppose what mrwang is pointing out is more of like, why is it that our citizenship which we are supposed to be so proud of turns out to be more and more a liability when it comes to work and education, even at levels beyond primary school. ( debates on uni admission and scholarships is another big big debate again)


Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


Rich Singaporeans are not allowed to send their kids to international schools, because this would be elitist.

But rich PRs are allowed to send their kids to international schools, because this would ... NOT ... be elitist?!?

Sorry, I cannot follow your logic.

Anonymous said...

i think what YH means is that because international schools are meant to serve as an incentive for ex pats to come to singapore to work.

Anonymous said...


"Mr Wang, can a Singaporean renounce his citizenship, take up a foreign citizenship and then apply to be a Singapore PR?"

I don't think it is possible.

For me,an Australian graduate,I shall die in Spore,but I encourage my children to take up PR or citizenship of Australia,I definitely want my future generations NOT to be citizens of Singapore,but I do wish them to be PRs of Singapore if it is still buoyant by them as MM Lee has predicted.

Don't you think,I am KS.That is why I die here.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
can u discuss the kind of thing tht international school teach compare to local counterpart in subsequent post ?

It seems to me that the regime must subject the local to local school for brainwashing reason whereas the international school is free to teach thing free of restriction.

Anonymous said...

Re: anon August 20, 2009 8:30 PM

yeap, i don think it's possible that you renounce your citizenship and get a PR instead too. but sometimes i have this notion that an australian citizenship is better than a singaporean one if you dont mind that australia has high taxation (40% of income) because it's a welfare system state (i think)

-ben said...

The Compulsory Education Act states that Singaporean parents must send their child, at age six, to attend a "national primary school". The rule is compulsory, and excludes international schools, and does not apply to PRs, but only to Singaporeans.

In the 1990s, when I applied to enroll at United World College, instead of a local junior college, I was informed by the administrators that, being a Singapore citizen, I could not attend an international school.
Have they changed the law (restricting it to primary schools only) since then?

Anonymous said...

mr wang, thanks for highlighting these issues of discrimination against singaporeans in singapore.

This should be a major issue in the coming general election.

Nana-land said...

There was a social project done years ago ( Singapore Children's Society or one of the likes), where it was discovered that there were disadvantaged children from the lower income families who's parents did not send them to school. Then, this group of parents were illiterate, do not have the means or know how to improve the lives of their offsprings through education. The researchers from this project tracked down these children and registered them for primary school. It escalated to a mandated law to register children for primary school (not pre-school although I personally think it's even more crucial)

From this aspect, I personally think this was impactful for children of this income group, giving them a 'better' start with at least primary education.

I think the issue here is not how Singaporeans HAVE to attend public school but that we don't have a choice.

Anonymous said...

Well connected Sporeans can still send their kids to International School. For e.g. Khoo Teck Puat's son went to the American School. I had a Sporean school mate who studied in International school up till age 15 before his parents decided to transfer him to a Spore school.

Spore is a nation of double standards.

Anonymous said...

I am strongly for exams. I have taught in the class rooms, and I realized that if there weren't any exams, there simply won't be any push factors for students to actually seriously learn their stuff.

I am skeptical of using project work as a core means for assessment, especially at lower levels for students. I have seen too many cases of students coasting along, while throwing all the work to a hardworking few. Many students also just blindly lift facts from wikipedia or texbook into reports, without really knowing what they are copying. Just like a copy-paste for many uni undergrads who write their thesis.

It is also the same in learning martial arts or sports. Unless there is a sparring match or competition or race (aka tests), few participants are pushed to the point where they have to challenge their limits, and seriously learn what they have been taught.

Anonymous said...

From Anon- August 20, 2009 11:35 PM
"Spore is a nation of double standards"

More like the rich and well connected has one, the the poor has the other.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, I cannot follow your logic."

No, YH does have a point.

In any case, even if the said rule is overturned, how many Singaporean parents have the means to send their children to International Schools?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang said
"Well I have not kept in touch with sentencing practices for some time now. But when I was a DPP, the benchmark sentence for OM would be around 6 to 9 months + caning. So a $2,000 fine does seem very, very lenient."

You would need to add the words "committed by Singapore citizens" after the word "OM" above. For comparison of "benchmark sentence" for OM committed by foreign versus Singapore citizens, you may wish to refer to these 5 recent court cases, taking careful note of the number of victims, the body part outraged (eg. bare skin contact with nipples vs over clothes and bra), the judge involved (eg the same judge) etc. LOL

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

(a) PRs already have access to international schools in Singapore.

(b) Singaporeans do not have access to international schools in Singapore.

These two facts suggest to me that at the very least, Singaporeans should have priority over PRs, in the admission process to local primary schools. After all, PRs have other available options, from which Singaporeans are barred.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"In any case, even if the said rule is overturned, how many Singaporean parents have the means to send their children to International Schools?"

I dunno. Five hundred parents; one thousand parents; two thousand; five thousand parents?

I'm sure SOME would have the means. And if you compare the differences of the educational systems of the local and international schools, I'm sure SOME parents would feel that the differences are very much worth paying for.

Anti-Chronic Singapore said...

Hi Mr Wang,

You have made very important points from facts you have cited.

Is there a way we could let our Minister of Education (Dr Ng) know about this? I observed that he is very low-key lately.

Or get this queried in Parliament?

It could potentially affect our choice of primary schools.

After all, we should at least be treated fairly because we served 2 to 2.5 years of NS and many more in NSMen training.

Norman said...

when your kids reach Sec 1 you can send them to SJI international...

Anonymous said...

August 20, 2009 8:51 PM

Yes,indeed Australia is a welfare state and very high tax.

When I was studying in Australian,my close friend,ex-Malaysian,was truly unhappy over the tax.

Now retired,he is full of priase and reackon that the tax was well paid,to the extent that he advised his son,a young 28 years old optician the advantages of high tax,and it seems that the young boy accept and told him not too bad leh.

This is an old man,ex-Malaysian,worked in Singapore and now Australian citizens who visits yearly.


Anonymous said...

In the spirit of "personalizing the situation", as Wang has been doing recently, here's the simple solution for those who are lucky(?) enough not to have given birth yet:


Your precious darling will be American/Canadian citizen by birth. One suspects that's also the reason why HK tycoon's son Richard Li and Actress Isabelle Leong (of spider lillies fame) had their baby in Toronto, Canada, instead of in Hong Kong. Apart from actresses and singers, whom one gets to read about in the papers, lots of ordinary taiwanese have been doing that for decades, joined in recent years by the koreans and now the PRCians. One main reason is to avoid national service in taiwan/korea. A whole industry has spurned out to cater to these mothers. Search for "美国 加拿大" "坐月子中心" (confinement centres) and take your pick.

So, there, the only thing Singapore would-be parents need is the "balls" to do what these taiwanese, koreans and PRCians have been doing. Got balls = US/Canadian citizenship. If no balls, then too bad lor, serve NS and have no access to international schools in singapore. So, rebel or make your peace. (btw, it's not that expensive. read the prices in those confinement centres webpages)

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang

"Singapore is the exception.

August 20, 2009 5:54 PM"

No, he's not an Indian citizen but a 3rd-generation Indian S'porean. But India treats him all the same. Strange?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang

I must disagree. International schools are meant for the expat community. Their purpose is to help expat kids go through the same education system as back home. The kids mingle with other kids of the same nationality and virtually get a home-away-from-home experience.

The schools are also designed to help kids transition seamlessly when they return home; after all, expat life is transient.

While other countries do not openly disallow citizens from studying in an international school, these schools are usually permitted to admit only expats.

For instance, there are Indian schools all over the Middle East eclusively for the large Indian expat population. Similarly, international schools are found all over India.

I think we are debating a non-issue. The core issue is the Singaporean education system and why many citizens are unhappy with it.

Anonymous said...

Another possibility is: if the govt overturns the rule, then we could see more international schools setting up shop here just to cater to Singaporeans seeking a different system (probably at affordable rates). Perhaps the govt isn't keen on that. :)

Anonymous said...

Well...I have colleague who converted to Singapore citizen while their spouse remains as cititzen of their origin. In that way, their children enjoy the best of both world. Another colleague is thinking of doing that because she intends to bring her children to Singapore to study and child care here cost a bomb. By converting to citizen, she will get the child care grant. Brilliant idea!!! I feel like an idiot here!!!!!!!!!!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"While other countries do not openly disallow citizens from studying in an international school, these schools are usually permitted to admit only expats."


It really depends on the school. Let's do a quick check, of the first few schools listed in my post.

Singapore American School: "The school welcomes students of any nationality, belief or race provided that their command of English is adequate to the learning situation, and provided that space is available."

Australian International School: "The Australian International School invites applications from students of all nationalities. The School population includes students from over 40 nationalities."

Canadian International School: There's a priority scheme spelled out on the page I linked to. There is priority for "children who are Canadian citizens". Next in line, the school will accept "any other applicants".

Stamford American International School: "Our education programs are accessible to a wide range of students from all nationalities. There is an emphasis on cross-culture communication, and therefore, we offer a strong foreign language foundation starting at a very young age (Spanish & Mandarin). For our students whom English is not the primary language, we provide support through our English as a Second Language (ESL) and mother tongue programs."

Avondale Grammar School: "60% of the children are Australian nationals; the remaining 40% of our children are made up of British, European and Asian Pacific families."

Emaar International School: "Students of all nationalities, races and beliefs are welcome to join EIS provided that they meet the academic and behavioural criteria ..."

Anonymous said...

Just wild guess...This is made compulsory to force social benefits on your kids. So if your kids renounce their citizenship after age 12, they can't avoid NS.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang

Thanks for the research. So some of the international schools here are truly international. That's news to me. I was under the misconception schools admit only citizens of a particular country. Thanks for clearing that up.

Anonymous said...

"My Indian fren tells me that up to the 3rd generation overseas, Indians are considered an Indian national, citizen elsewhere or PR immaterial."

Your friend's right. Persons of Indian origin (except from Pakistan and Bangladesh) are eligible for Overseas Citizenship of India, which entitles them to a lot of benefits, like lifelong visafree travel, buying property, etc. The only thing they can't do is vote or run for office.

This means Indian PRs can take up Singapore (or any other) citizenship and still enjoy the benefits of their native country, such as high interest deposits, excellent insurance policies, investing in property (except farms), educating their kids in India, etc.

I know an Indian guy who came here in the 60s. He's a Singapore citizen but his son grew up in India; now the son is here managing dad's business while dad's back in india enjoying retired life. The son is a PR and may soon become a citizen. Truly best of both worlds -- make in money in Singapore, live it up India, no NS obligations for kids!

Anonymous said...

"Why should it be surprising that India should be nice to its citizens? It's the norm for most countries, you know."

Haha....actually India's nicer to you if you are a non-resident Indian.

Yanling said...


I am a Singapore citizen. My daughter and son are US citizens, as they are born in the US in 2004 and 2007 respectively.

In 2005, I have applied Singapore citizenship for my daughter. So she has both US and Singapore citizenships, at least for now. I have not done so for my son.

Because I am a Singapore citizen, does that mean my children do not have the option of getting into an international school?


Anonymous said...

Errr... as a nearly-lifelong PR who recently became a citizen, with lots of contacts who are all PRs/expats - I wasn't under the impression that just any old PR can be admitted into international schools, either. I always wanted to go for one but putting aside the fact that my parents couldn't afford it, I didn't have any connections or special reasons. Some PRs who I know did go into international schools were either in high circles, or they had completed a good amount of their education overseas.
Then again...

Sad thing is how my dad could send my siblings to international school while he was hired on expat terms, but as soon as he became a PR they had to go to local schools (to the great disadvantage of one, who had learning problems back in the 80s when there was little support in local schools)

My opinion is that it's not a good idea to let PRs or citizens into international schools because it's just going to aggravate the really fierce class battles even more, and we know the truly rich might as well just either a. get foreign citizenship for their kids or b. educate them overseas, it's more efficient.

The real problem here is why we are all so deeply unsatisfied with local education and intensely jealous of those who get international school education. This includes me. I truly think my primary school education would've been a waste if not for my friends...

SMS said...

Singaporean males have to serve National Service. Sons born to PR have also to serve NS, unless they chose to leave before enlistment ... Ha Ha

SMS said...

Unfortunately, though MM grandson is well taken care of i.e. dyslexia-able school. Nothing is going to help us folks who gets old. No policy change whatsoever as citizen.

Anonymous said...

another example of discrimination against citizens is that of the IR (casino) entry fees imposed on citizens but not on PR/foreigners.

The casinos are built on the land of Singapore, yet its citizen must pay to enter but the PR/foreigners enter for free..... i cannot follow the logic

Unknown said...

Of course Singaporeans MUST send their children to Singapore schools where they enjoy the full benefits of NE: The children learn about our wonder nation's history and how a certain political party came in power by triumphing over the Communists! Such an iconic history fought by such our brave pioneer,(George Washington, eat your heart out) Singaporean schools must continue to retell this story for future generations of Singapore citizens to come!

Indoctrination from young, only repressors and dictators use it. Glad it's not Singapore. ;)

Anonymous said...

The main question is why you are not allowed to send your children to international school.

I assume these are the probable reasons:

1. The govt wants to ensure that every young child goes through the same education system. There are many reasons why this is desirable to the govt.

2. The govt wants to ensure equal access to primary education. Possible but unlikely. Healthcare, transportation, and many policies are not equal.

3. Keeps talented children in the education system. Imagine if the restriction is removed, the international schools will have all the talented kids!

So instead of focusing on international schools, you should be asking if private schools are good alternatives. I don't see why a private school cannot provide the same education as an international school, unless the govt keeps a tighter control on private schools (e.g. curriculum) as opposed to international schools.

In summary, I believe choices and competitions are good. When parents demand better schools/curriculum, the system will improve through competition between schools/curriculum. I personally went through the system here but my children are going through public(!) schools in the US. They have choices and I believe they are in good hands.

Anonymous said...

The matter is quite simply this. When more than 1 in 3 on this island is a foreigner, the old rules need to be relooked in order for Singaporean interests to be protected.

Anonymous said...

It depends on the citizenship on the child, not the parents. So your daughter is barred from international schools, but your son is eligible for both international and local schools! Hence you have made a "mistake" in applying Singapore citizenship for your daughter, in the sense that you have restricted her choice compared to your son's :)

Anyway, MOE did not say "barred", it says the parents need to "ask for permission". So you can apply for permission on the ground that your daughter is an American citizen by birth,and that she is in sg only temporarily and will be returning to USA one day blah blah blah. Who knows, MOE might just agree!

May I know what is your son's living status in Sg now eg PR? long-term dependent pass?

Anonymous said...

We're Singaporeans based in Hong Kong, and our kids attend international schools.

Fees are rocket high, and some debentures are beyond anyone's imagination.

Local Hong Kongers are allowed to send their kids to international schools and this has created an undesirable social stratification. Rich kids have access to the better international schools whereas poor kids only have the local schools to go to. Many local teachers are ill-trained.

I do not worship the PAP govt but on a fair note, they have made quality education affordable to all, regardless of social standing.

Anonymous said...

(mr wang, thanks for highlighting these issues of discrimination against singaporeans in singapore.

This should be a major issue in the coming general election.)

naH...!! when the e-day come, the result still will be the same, pap win 99%.. becos many of us like their dangling carrots or some may even believe they will get hanged if they vote for the opposition

Anonymous said...

anon 11:27AM,
To remove "social stratification", shouldn't the HK govt be improving local schools to match international school, instead of your implied argument that "social stratification" can be avoided by banning all locals from international school?

Moreover, according to you, the PAP govt has already made quality education affordable to all, then may I know why you are against the idea of opening up the low-quality and unaffordable international schools to locals? Surely no Singaporeans will want to apply for the lousy intl schs even if they are allowed to. So why the ban?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I will shed some light on this issue,as a fellow Sporean,notwithstanding that i was born in India,i did grow up here in SG as a citizen(came to SG when i was a toddler),i enrolled in a neighborhood primary n secondary school before completing my dip in S'pore Poly.

The crux of the matter is Mrs Sweta Agarwal has the guts to write to ST Forum,do take note that if she had done that in any other countries,the media n public would have pummeled & embarrassed her,in Spore,these FTs' talk like the world owes them a living,ie like without them,Singapore is nothing,without their contribution,Spore will be in the doldrums,Spore should be thankful that FTs' are doing their part by giving birth n expanding the population as well,Mr Wang,i heard from some of my friends from Dept of Statistics that Spore may be introducing a new official 5th language - Tagalog,the Filipinos are getting petitions signed with their community,they are demanding that Tagalog should be an official language as well,this is definitely way out of hands,it does bode well with Sporeans.What say u?

James Michael Parthi

Anonymous said...

"I am proud to be a citizen of my country and have PR status in Singapore."

I think she loves taking advantage of all the Singaporeans. She has NO NO NO NO intention of staying in Singapore. Why is she given a PR status? Why her PR status is not being revoked?
She dares to write to the local media and that shows that she knew the gahman needs her. The gahman is "begging" her to stay!! Go back to your country if you love your country. Why stay here in Singapore?

Yanling said...

To Anonymous August 22, 2009 10:53 AM

My son is on foreigner pass which is to be renewed annually.


Anonymous said...

To:Anonymous 12.25pm 22 Aug 09

I have no answer to your question about why the HK govt is not improving local schools to match international schools but the fact remains that there is an undesirable social stratification here due to that. It's not my implied argument but it's a fact. You have to live here to understand. Locals who are rich and well-heeled do not send their kids to local schools, unless they medium of instruction is English. BTW, the medium of instruction in local schools here is Chinese (Cantonese).

I did not say I am "against the idea of opening up the low-quality and unaffordable international schools to locals" so do not accuse me of that. I believe that quality education should be made available to all, regardless of family background. The fact remains that many poor Singaporeans are able to break out of poverty because of meritocracy in education.

Even during summer holidays here, parents pay a hefty sum to send their kids to summer schools, and poor kids have no chance. Cultural capital here in HK really determines if a kid does well, compared to kids in S'pore. Like it or not, PAP has indeed done a good job making quality education(including teaching training) within the reach of everyone. FYI, teachers in HK have to pay for their own training at college.

Gilbert said...

James August 20, 2009 5:30 PM,

It is possible but the process is not a seamless one, in the sense that you cannot apply for PR immediately after your renunciation is registered. I know someone who was granted PR after having renounced and lived overseas for more than ten years. He actually came back via the spouse sponsorship route (his Singaporean wife retained her citizenship) when they changed the rules so that women were able to sponsor their foreigner husbands for PR.

Do bear in mind that if you had taken out your CPF, you will have to refund every single cent back to them including accrued interest should you successfully become or PR or have your citizenship reinstated.

Onlooker said...

Yanling, what nationality is your spouse?Ask him to request for placement in international school.

But you children will fare better in international school using their father's nationality.

At least they do not have to experience Streaming.And Singapore Gifted program is ......

And another note Most High Value Talents in fact want to send their children to an international school because of their mobility they need to move on a moment notice.An international school can cater to those needs.

In Fact,I know a few guys who returned to their home country now and their children are coping well because they are schooled in international school.

Basically we are stuck with "???Talents???lol" who are not need elsewhere in the world who wanted an unfair advantage.Get my Drift ;)

Kojakbt said...

James Michael Parthi: "i heard from some of my friends from Dept of Statistics that Spore may be introducing a new official 5th language - Tagalog,the Filipinos are getting petitions signed with their community,they are demanding that Tagalog should be an official language as well,this is definitely way out of hands,it does bode well with Sporeans."

While we are at it, might as well throw in a few more languages together for PAP to consider too rather than letting community after community petition individually. We can add in these languages too:

Burmese, Viet, Thai, Nepalese, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Assamese etc.

It will save the cabinet ministers a lot of time to just consider everything at one go...

Kojakbt said...

For those of you are who interested to know, I did some research and managed to tablulate some of the "benefits" of Singaporeans over PRs'. Our Govt is very "generous", indeed:


Anonymous said...

singaporeans can enter sji international, acs international, hwachong international.

tiredman said...

If rich Singaporeans are allowed to send their children to international school, people might start to question why middle class citizen cannot. Given that most people would like to have their children to study in a good school.

Probably this could happen if law allows Singaporean children to be sent to foreign school; local school will become a dumping ground for children from the poor families. Loads of teachers and administrator will have to lose their jobs. National identity will start to “evaporate” at a faster rate. In future even more youngster will think holding a pink IC is a liability (In my view, it is already one).

But then, we should not talk about this. If PRs are keen to become a Singaporean, they should not be allowed to send their children to international school. The PRs must prove themselves in action that they are willing to make Singapore their home. Policy must be created to test these PRs on what ground that drive them to wanting to become a Singapore PR.

Then in this case, Sweta Agarwal's letter to SPH is seemed to be okay. What went wrong? She says she is loyal to India. She therefore has no intention to live in Singapore for long. She is merely taking advantage of the pro-foreigner policy to have access to heavily subsidised education. Isn’t this just like the other Indian national, local PR who wrote to SPH asking for a first hand HDB flat?

Anonymous said...

I am seriously considering to leave for a couple of years so that my boys can school in an Intl School in another country.

Anonymous said...

Not all the PRs can afford to send their children to study at International school. Singapore is a peaceful and stable city to stay at. I am still contemplating whether to let my children to study in Singapore or their home country.

Singapore's education is still beneficial and structural for children to obtain "world class" knowledge.

Kojakbt said...

@Anon April 8, 2010 3:54 PM,

So, would you be letting your PR sons serve NS?