Sunday, 15 January 2017

SAP Schools Without Higher Chinese???


2016 ‘O’ Level exam result is out. But...

SAP (Special Assistance Schools) schools offer Higher Chinese but students can also not to take Higher Chinese as a ‘O’ Level exam subject. Recently, my friend gives me another reason, perhaps a rather ridiculous one. TAKING HIGHER CHINESE MAY MAKE THE GCE ‘O’ LEVEL CERTIFICATES LESS PERFECT!!! If you score all ONE except Higher Chinese, like the following example.


Untitled drawing.jpg

My friend also prints another picture. When his child collects his certificate, the teacher has to use a spray to darken his hairs in order for him to meet the school rules for certificate collection.

What kind of value education are we given to our children?  Despite knowledge learning and bonus points for JC admission, our students choose not to take Higher Chinese exam for fearing to be a perfect scorer. Without asking right or wrong for hair dying, the teacher just wants to help the students (to fulfill the school rules) to get their certificates.   

No wonder, quite frequently, we have similar news like   

Son of senior lawyer hauled to court for evading NS





People who know the system are most likely to abuse the system? Why is the teacher spraying the hairs? What will a less perfect score with Higher Chinese downgrade a student? These show how we prefer short-term solutions over longer term solutions. We are giving ‘get rich quick’ value to our students.

In Singapore, when discussing about Chinese language learning, there are many debates, controversies. Some are true, some are false.

However, even you study Higher Chinese, you may not know Wang Yang Ming. (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wang-yangming/)

This is the point I want to make.

[Why Wang Yang Ming?]

Wang Yang Ming’s father was a Zhuangyuan, the first scholar in Ming Dynasty Imperial Examination in 1481. Few people know about his father. Although Yang Ming passed the Imperial Exam, he was not a Zhuangyuan. However, his achievement is many thousand times of his father and his influence is all over China, Japan and Korea, and even the modern world.  

Mao Zedong talked about him. Chiang Kai-shek talked about him.

Xi Jin Ping also talked about Wang Yang Ming.
王阳明的心学正是中国传统文化中的精华,也是增强中国人文化自信的切入点之一。   ——2014年3月,习近平在参加十二届全国人大二次会议贵州代表团审议时指出

Ma Ying-Jeou even wrote about his ‘unifying knowing and acting’.
马英九 知行合一.jpg

Perhaps, the most applicable learning example for foreigners is Japanese admiral, Togo Heihachiro who led the Japanese fleet to victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).  Note: Not promoting Japanese militarism.  

The Japanese Admiral of the Russo-Japanese War, Tōgō Heihachirō, was influenced by Wang, and made a stamp which read, "One's whole life followed the example of Yangming" (一生低首拜陽明).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Yangming

I am not  sure whether our Defense Minister knows Wang Yang Ming or the Yang Ming influences to the above mentioned politicians.  If he knows, he must be a failed learner of Yang Ming School.  

If Singaporean officials know more about Yang Ming, described as the ‘cream of crop’ in traditional Chinese culture by Xi Jinping, our handling of the Terrex army vehicles in Hong Kong will be very different. We may have received the vehicles long ago.

video
ChinaX video


[Unifying knowing and acting 知行合一]

‘Unifying knowing and acting’ is a famous philosophical concept by Wang Yang Ming.

知 - knowledge/understanding
行 - doing/action
合 - union/unifying
一 - one

Yang Ming believes knowing and acting have to come hand in hand, moving in concert.  Just like when Lee Kuan Yew introduced Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools, he expected the enrolled students to study Higher Chinese and have better Chinese culture exposures than non-SAP schools.   

For the case of the senior lawyer, knowing seems to result to another, opposite way of acting.

For the case of the teacher, spraying hairs seems to suggest a quick escape route, a by-passing way for the students to get the certificates.

This is the story of Singapore education.

Look at the way bicycles and personal mobility devices travelling on footpaths you may already know the answer.

For Singapore economy to grow further, we need investments.  Unfortunately, these includes Chinese investments. We cannot be a Southeast Asian hub or regional centre if the soon to be world number one economy does not put their investments here.

And sadly, we think our Chinese B, Chinese O or even Higher Chinese can handle the job requirements of Alibaba, Huawei, wechat, Lenovo, ...etcs.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

新加坡的外交困境:无人理睬,没人关心。


https://tw.news.yahoo.com



新加坡武装部队装甲运兵车在香港自从去年11月被扣后,我们只是单方面,偶尔看到听到新加坡方面的说辞。新加坡政府的意思是说,不知为何运兵车被扣留,责任似乎是在运输公司,而且我们以往都这么做,也没有出事。

除此之外,在国际上,甚至在亚细安国家中,新加坡的运兵车事件,似乎不是什么新闻,说的白一点, 就是无人理睬,中国方面已经懒得理你,即使新加坡单方面向香港当局表明立场(什么立场?),还是没有下文。这种官样立场,似乎是向新加坡人说明,行动党政府拿了高薪,确是还做一些维护新加坡利益的事情。

但是,在国际舞台上,新加坡国防部说什么,国防部长说什么,说的再大声,也是无人理睬的。难怪,在新一轮的人民行动党的18人中央执行委员中,没有国防部长黄永宏的名字。黄永宏在2015年的大选,时任行动党组织秘书,意气风发,可以说是一个有功劳的中央执行委员。回想当年在提名中心,黄永宏的豪气,现在,变得对牛弹琴。



说到没人关心,这是新加坡外交部的苦呀!没有一个亚细安国家愿意帮助新加坡,做中间人拉线,把事情降温,早一点把运兵车拉回新加坡。美国也不出声,没有帮新加坡这个小弟出声。

但是,美国海军却能够很快,很顺利的把被中国捕鱼一样捕到的水底探测器拿回。12月15日探测器被捕,17日中国国防部就回应会归还。中国国防部还说中方与美方一直就事件保持沟通。这和新加坡的运兵车事件相比,有很大的不同。中美双方一直在沟通,而新加坡却是音信全无,没人理睬,无人关心,似乎新加坡在演独角戏。

美国的立场很清楚,探测器是在公海,但是看在不同国家眼里,也可以说不是公海。这是一个有争议的海域,可以变得公说公有理,婆说婆有理。而最接近这个海域的国家-菲律宾也没有出声。因此,看到下面这条早报的新闻,也不出奇。


菲政府:南中国海仲裁不列入亚细安峰会议程   联合早报.png

想一想,新加坡运兵车在香港被发现,立场上就不能够搬出公海的问题。因为,这是香港特别行政区,是中国的一部分领土。黄永宏似乎没有把立场和问题说清楚。

当然,黄永宏更加不可能像美国候任总统特朗普那样的‘豪气’,形容事情的发展: “中国在国际水域“偷取”探测器,行为前所未有,又说“偷取”的探测器他们(中方)可以留著。”

我们的国防部长绝对不会像特朗普那样,像他在提名中心的豪气,大声的对香港和中国当局说,运兵车不要了,中方可以留着。

国防部长黄永宏对国内人民的豪气,就是不能复制到国外去。想着想着,这不是人民行动党的嘴脸吗?对人民大声说话,豪气的很,对外却没有朋友,没有信用#。



难怪,东南亚国家中,没有人愿意出来做和事佬。





Monday, 2 January 2017

Belt, Road and Shanghai Security Cooperation - Capitalism first, democracy second.



Despite uncertainties ahead, perhaps the only certainty for big development is ‘One Belt One Road’. To guard and protect the developments along the belt and road, Shanghai Security Cooperation, with the joining of India and Pakistan as full members in 2017, is playing a key role in the new silk roads.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a political, economic and military organisation and her main concern is security. The SCO is primarily centered on its member nations' Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Under this framework, democracy is secondary. SCO’s main focus will be economic development under the state-led capitalism. China and Russia are key partners in SCO, with India and Pakistan joining SCO soon, in term of population, this will be the biggest Co-op in the world.

Looking back in history, this is just a continuation process of the past 2500 years of silk and spice roads.


UNESCO has maintained a site for silk and spice routes that provides historical background of the past.

State capitalism over democracy

2017 is an interesting year for state-led and state-sponsored capitalism over the world. In the SCO zone and Belt/Road development areas, we will see big developments led by states and state-owned businesses, of course with Chinese investments and AIIB (the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) money.

Let take the example of Aleppo, there is a recent peace deal led by Russia and Turkey. When there is stability and security in Aleppo, foreign investments and business will come, in particular Aleppo is part of the silk road. In history, Aleppo was taken over by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, more than 2300 years ago.

The Aleppo peace deal is an initiative without American participation. What does it mean? Peace in the middle east can go without the USA but with Russia, SCO and bigger countries in middle east.   

And it seems to match Donald Trump’s foreign policy as he wants to engage in his state-led capitalism. Trump wants manufacturing back, big corporations (with tax cut) back, infrastructure development back in USA. His policy, although without certainty, will be very different from Democrats or may even move away from the known and usual democracy principles.   

In Europe, we face uncertain elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany. States will have to play bigger roles to convince voters they can deliver security and stability to the people. What can democracy help to ensure security in Europe?

Singapore is an odd example

Singapore is well known for her state-led economy and capitalism. Even the town council management is an extension of state-sponsored business activities.

Singapore’s mindset, in fact, is very close to SCO which places security, stability, non-interference in domestic politics over democracy. This framework works well for Singapore. Since independence, Singapore is operating under state capitalism with full control of internal affairs.  By this analogy, Singapore can easily and comfortably fit into belt, road and SCO zone developments.  However, we seem to at odd in this certain development in 2017. Why?

If you look at the way we handle the Terrex issue, we are just see the small issue of protecting assets and fail to see the bigger issue. No matter how well you protect your assets, there is always a bigger picture of guanxi.

2017.png

No wonder, if you read Chinese, the advertisement put up by Zaobao at the right, seems to suggest our economy is in bad shape and we need to start a future economy???

In discussion of future economy, are we just concerning about ‘protecting our assets’ or trying to improve relationship?