Yan's Corner - In Touch

Friday, September 02, 2005

Shared Dreams

When I was in Singapore two weeks ago, I watched the live telecast of its Prime Minister's national day rally. He shared with his people - the vibrant global city called home. He retold the story by a young Singaporeans in the book, "Today in the History of Singapore" through the eyes of young Singaporeans. Thousands of pupils have contributed to the book. Wong Yun Ting, aged 8 was quoted by the Prime Minister to have told this - "9 August is the day our nation got its independdenc ein 1965. Our forefathers struggled to build our nation and to provide us with a bright future. I feel very happy and proud to be born as a National Day baby."

The next volume, "Tomorrow in History" is for all young Singaporeans to write. ‘Young Singaporeans’ to include children, youths, young adults, and all adults – even those greying – who are young at heart. The Prime Minister said, "Together, we will continue to tell a special Singapore story."

On Merdeka Day, my little boy shared on what Merdeka means to him. He says he is a little star. Desi remarked that he is a shining star. Dobbs remarked that he is going to be an excellent writer. Auntie Ming said he is marvellous.

Indeed, it takes involvement of people, people like you and me, people like Desi and Dobbs and Auntie Ming to achieve a significant dream.

Last night, the small star, the future excellent writer, the marvellous one asked me to wake him up at 5:30 am. I woke him up at 5:30 am. He took a shower. I fixed his breakfast. After shower, he put on his school uniform. He held tight to a sheet of paper at the table. I took a peek. Printed on it are two Chinese essays. One of them, he has to memorize and write it down "for" his teacher today.

Naturally, he looked sad. The star is not shinning. His little mind must be wondering - what's this auntie Dobbs trying to tell me, I am going to be an excellent writer? No way. I am far from Auntie Ming's Marvellous! I can't even memorize this essay about "My Dog". My dog is brown in colour, why should I say my dog is white, whitter than snow?

The little mind doubts too - when mummy says write your own story, how much can I trust her? Every time, I write my own story, my Chinese teacher gives me only 50 marks. When my classmate memorizes the essay given by the teacher, he gets 90 marks. Can I trust mummy?

Well, such is the stress of the star. He wants to be original, but the teacher wants him to be a copy. He wants to use his creativity, but the teacher wants him to follow others' creativity.

I am putting a photograph of the leaders of my State, Sarawak shouting "Merdeka" in one accord on National Day Parade in Kapit. True enough, they are in one accord. But, they are certainly not involved in the dreams of my small star wanting to be orginal, not dying a copy.

Tomorrow I am going to post the first part of the 5-part series on Education in Singapore. I have no wish to praise the education system in this "sing-land". I write what I see. But, yes, one thing for sure, their system allows the young ones to be original in many ways.

3 comment(s):

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