Sunday, August 01, 2010

Economics @ Home © Volume 2 Issue 16

Why Singapore Leads the World in Mathematics

I always wondered why we label the Singaporeans "kiasu" (afraid of losing). Despite studying there for two years, what I discovered was a culture that amazed me. What is referred to as the culture of competitiveness in Singapore, is gravely misrepresented by Malaysians as kiasu-ism. For whatever reasons we deem Singaporeans to be kiasu, be it jealousy, or what we call the "truth", the fact remains that the GDP per capita of Singapore is at USD35 000 and the GDP per capita of Malaysia is struggling to breach USD7 000.

I can present you with all kinds of facts and statistics to show you why Singapore is so much better than Malaysia, but that would probably be in conflict with my day job. Instead, I will let the video below speak for itself.

The first thing that struck me after watching this video was how much thought the Singaporean government has put into educating their pre-school children. The Malaysian government has always preached about accessibility this and that, but the fact is, the quality of our education is not there. The amount of thought put into it is clearly exemplified by the amount of flip-flopping that has to happen even before we can decide on what language to use as a medium of education, notwithstanding the fact that they most probably made the wrong choice.

And here we have Lee Kuan Yew, one of the more visionary people in this age, calling for China to embrace English in their bid to become a global superpower. It seems to me that we are moving in the opposite direction. What a sad case we are...

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