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Our Future《未来的主人翁》

March 17, 2013

Even though I am not pro-PAP (but I’m not pro WP either), I agreed with many things Dr. Ng said.  And that’s not because we were both former ACS-boys.  Ng said:

“We have to make learning a life-long thing and our children have to learn to enjoy learning and not get turned off because learning is hard.”

“We don’t believe all children are the same.  They’re not all academically gifted, not all physically gifted, not all musically gifted.”

But despite that, in this island nation, we had already built first class schools with state-of-the-art music and art rooms, awesome sports halls, and latest science labs and computer labs.  But ultimately the successful education of the children of the nation came from good teachers.  Parents tend to think it is a matter of brand-name schools, or the number of tuition hours their kids have.

Once, at a dim sum place, I was listening to a chat-talk by a manager of the restaurant in Cleveland.  He got a shock why his children weren’t doing well in their studies but with the help of an exceptional tutor (which he paid a lot), did well.  He talked to the tutor and the tutor hushed him to the side and said

I hate to tell you this but the reason why your children were not doing well, is because your wife scared them into learning.

The wife with a kiasu attitude always wanted her children to be ahead.  So she drilled them in her “mathematics” very much like the kind of drills she got when she was a student in Malaysia.  So every time it came to Math, they cringed.  After dim sum, I gave that story some very serious thoughts.

Find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

I don”t know who said that, probably some good-advice job seeking tips in a career fair.  Somebody (westerner) said that as part of Confucious Analect. I’ve never heard of anything like that before at least not in Chinese, never inSingapore.  Nonetheless, I could not agree with this statement more.  Such is the kind of learning attitude that the master was talking about (if he really did say it).  Back to Dr. Ng Eng Hen:

PSLE, “A’ Level and ‘O’ level cannot be the be-all and end-all of education’s quest and mission, … they (the children) must finish and are winners in their own right.

That’s exactly what our nation should strongly foster.  Every parent should aim at an all-round education for their children and embrace love for learning as the ultimate of their children education.

I once attended a live talk by Nobel Laureate, Dr. Yang C N in NUS.  When Dr. Yang, from Anhwei China, started research work in America, another scientist, Fermi, asked him “Hey, are you having fun?  Do you enjoy what you just said?  You know, all those Statistical Mechanics and Symmetry Principle?”  Dr. Yang was confused and dumfounded at the same time.

What?  Am I supposed to enjoy this kind of extreme hard work?

In china, he is not used to referring to his math and science as “fun”.  He gave that simple question a deep thought and decided that not only will he work very hard in his theoretical Physics, but he wanted to “enjoy” every moment of what he did.  I don’t know but when I talked to him, he seemed to carry so much enthusiasm in his parity law in his elementary particle Physics.  Later I learned from his talk to the audience another scincetist whom he has met who would just do nothing but have fun in his entire scientific career.  Dr. Yang was referring to Dick Feymann.  I never had a chance to meet this guy, but I started reading all his “fun” books and learn a lot about him.  He would just be a hyper-active kid and “trouble maker” if he were to grow up in the classrooms of Singapore.

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