Academic castes that dog us for life

7 May 2013: This article was published in TODAY voices on 26 March 2013, in response to the trending topic of Singapore’s education system. Honestly guys, remember that there is more to life than just KPIs, rankings and grades. As always, click on the picture for a larger image.

Edit; 17 Feb 2014 – The Real Singapore shared the article.

academic castes that dog us for life

*The copyright for this article belongs to TODAY.



  1. Tim

    It is rather intriguing to see that you only posted articles of this particular writer. Nonetheless…a deeper inference I can draw from this is that you support this fiery cause, this Oliver M is advocating (and particularly obsessed with), with possible reasons being that you two are the very victims of these academic castes. (Don’t we all?)

    That teacher vomiting callous, insensitive and untrue remark is one fine example. The emphasis on him being an NA student was another. I have a slight, tiny bit suspicion this article might be served to fit his own agenda – that is giving a slap to that very teacher who might be reading this somewhere. Well, that is his prerogative I suppose.

    However, in all practicality, although adorably idealistic in his proposition (championed and to be readily implemented), the argument for and against academic castes can go on indefinitely. I think I’d rather live and let live.

    By the way, do you have any of his articles that are published but not opinionated ones?

    • Hello Tim!

      Sorry for the uber late reply.

      The reason I only post articles from this particular writer is that I am this particular writer. Hahaha. I agree that we all are “victims” — or “products” as I prefer” of the system. And yes, I wrote this to further my own agenda. My agenda is…change. I do not subscribe to the school of Neutrality preached by all writing schools in Singapore. This is ironic, because all modern day articles bow down to the mighty dollar. Besides, there is no such thing as true neutrality in this day and age. My style slants towards the Gonzo school of thought – writing with a purpose and that purpose should be for positive social change.

      You are partly right that I am idealistic in my belief. But the difference between me and other idealists is that I fight for my ideals, rather than just go rah-rah about on facebook, creating “1 Like = 1 dollar given to The Cause” (whatever the cause may be).

      On the last point, I think I have only one article that isn’t opinionated (or as opinionated as the other pieces). It can be seen here:

      It’s on page 2 of the blog lah.

      • Tim

        Ah it does not matter. Nonetheless, I think I have embarrassed myself. I am but a mere troll aficionado. Pardon me monsieur writer. So I am really speaking to Mr Oliver Michael? Now how am I going to live with the shame? hahaha.


        On topic, I do see your point though. However, to abolish the academic castes completely, would not be realistic. Recalibrating the education system is. I am well acquainted with the fact that there’s some Singapore Conversation on education going on but, well, I’m a little lazy to read the updates. Haha.

        Your undying spirit for change, especially on social issues, is inspiring. It’ll take time definitely. It is a baby step, but a step nonetheless. But I fear if you are aspiring to be a local journalist, your views on certain issues, might have to be tweaked and altered, for reasons I shall not delve here. And tweaked and altered they’ll be to the mighty dollar. Your path is yours to carve and maybe soon I’ll start seeing you doing news reporting on national television. Eh we’ll never know.

        For light humor (I hope you don’t get offended), I happen to read a comic strip pertaining to open letter writers which I shall, without hesitation, bring to your attention.

        Here you go:


        You know, i can understand what the teacher said probably left an indelible mark in your mind but to assure you, some of my NA people from my secondary school are much more better off now than some of the Express students of my day. Some people persevere, some people don’t. That’s how it is. Plus, It is just a matter of an additional year which I feel, is not a huge deal. Screw your teacher. And plus, the express classes (there were five in my year back then) were not spared from the likes of such teachers either. So, we were unlucky in that sense.

        Talk about Facebook, this call to click-the-like-button craze is driving me ‘over the edge’. Liking a picture of a kid working in the streets is not going to help anything. If anything pressing that I feel that you should write about, is about the crazy waiting time of local graduates to get a job. Heck, I know a friend of mine who had graduated for over a year plus and still jobless. In times of desperation, one of the affirmative actions for survival by yours truly would be selling sex. But then again without the looks my side income would probably be nil.

        Okay I think I have rambled too much. I shall troll again.

        P.s This blog should be out there and get noticed.

  2. Tim

    Eh Mr Bard? Are you still there? So paiseh. Seems like I’m rambling by myself T.T

    • Hi Tim,

      I’m really sorry for the late reply – it’s been a busy, busy fortnight. I’m doing up some articles and hopefully….well…it entertain you, pique your interest and open the air for some discussions aye?


      Desperate typing away and in need of inspiration and discipline,
      The Bard.

      • Tiim

        You’re writing up some articles to the forum? I wonder what’s your take on this new internet censorship rubbish. Depressing indeed.

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