Taxi Talk - Education in Singapore.

By Sudo Nyme

I was actually busy with university applications and interviews and I'm so freaking happy that my dream came true and I'll be studying Law soon (August 2015... which isn't that soon damn it). :) Yay. Effort paid off! Nothing quite as sweet as that.

Anyway, I was on a taxi on my way to camp when the driver started asking me questions about my life. Don't misunderstand - it was a pleasantly casual conversation, not a creepy probe lol. He actually asked if I was a NSF or regular (which very slightly offended me) ugh. Anyway, he asked what I plan to do after NS (to which I replied "university"), what course ("law"), which university ("NUS"), which JC I was from ("RJ"), etc. His response was typical of most people (not surprising) and I shan't elaborate on it.

What I found really interesting was what succeeded this portion of the interrogation conversation. He started asking if I had tuition during my JC years, then secondary school, then primary school. I told him I didn't, primarily because I could cope, and also because I found my teachers and the Internet overwhelmingly sufficient for any remnant doubts/uncertainties/questions I may have. He started probing if my parents restricted my TV/computer usage - no, they didn't, because they trust me to manage my time and have the self-discipline to not neglect my studies.

But beyond the issue of parental trust, I told him that this is my personal style of studying (to have copious amounts of entertainment and leisure) that works for me. Shut me in a room with no entertainment and heaps of study materials and I'll emerge hours later very stressed, irritable, and with only a moderate amount of information learned. But if I were to alternate my practice questions with YouTube videos, or read random Internet articles between every chapter of notes studied, I'll be much more productive, efficient, and effective.

I've been rambling, and until this moment the point of the article has not yet emerged. What I want to say is: everyone has a different studying style. Parents, stop trying to force your son/daughter to conform to the style you think is best, because what works for you may not work for him (to be understood in an chauvinistic and gender-neutral context). Instead, allow him the freedom to explore and experiment on what works and what doesn't. Of course, this isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, and some people may seize this opportunity of new-found freedom to rebel and do everything but study. But what I'm ultimately trying to say is that Singaporeans in general should not be overly concerned over academic matters to the extent that they want to control and manage every single aspect of their child's education and learning process. A part of learning and growing is to experiment in trial-and-errors. I'm glad I had the chance.

P/S: I'm sure there are studies that prove that in the right doses, entertainment/leisure will enhance productivity, not hinder. So if you're stressed and nothing seems to be entering your mental faculties, go watch a YouTube video or something. It helps.

Hmm... is this post weird? I don't know. I'm just going to post it. It is what I feel about the local education scene, anyway.

This article was first published over at the blog of Sudo Nyme (a Raffles Alumni) on 7 May 2014. It is reproduced with permission.


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