Sunday, March 31, 2013

Prodigy Anthony Yip needs tuition :-(

I was very happy for Anthony Yip and his family until I got to near the end of the story. I quote

His father, orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Yip, 51, says the boy had three months’ worth of twice-weekly tutoring before the examinations.

Indeed if even a prodigy needed such help, we are indeed a tuition nation through and through.

This might be a long shot but tuition would be the death to us down the road. Good for scoring in exams but terrible at preparing you for life. A self deceiving excursion. I rather we learn from the Finns and especially the Israelis how to educate our young.

Our kind just cannot resist showing off especially academically given our Confucian roots. The seduction of success and status is irresistible. People are willfully blind to the fact that the world of the Mandarins which would have set you for life in officialdom is very different from today's realities.

“We were just trying him out to see if he was a prodigy like his siblings,” says Dr Yip, who is married to Dr Joanna Lin, 49, an oncologist.

I just hope prodigy eventually paves the way to genius. The record isn't encouraging.

Update: 9 pm

Just explained to my daughter why we should be most unhappy about being a tuition nation. We are turning a public school system into one that is in name only. The large tuition industry means that we are effectively living under a private school system with the best exam gaming and enrichment going to those who could afford it; may be those with the right connections even. It will in time subvert the foundation of this society. Citizens can't do much about this without mobilizing. Does the government want this? Think about it. The successful and most able to organize action are benefiting and they don't want change. The growing under class would want to turn this upside down. That is seething anger leading to revolution isn't it? But from sheer numbers they will throw out the government before that. Then what? How is this good for all of us? And if the government redistribute opportunities too much, the successful might leave. We aren't that far away from class warfare. This problem must be solved before the gap between the have and have-not become too wide and impossible to act.

Update: April Fool's Day 1:30pm

Just neat the ST has an article like this today. Reads like the book Start-Up Nation. I agree with the writer that's how we must refocus and retool ourselves.


  1. The private tuition industry makes the Education Minister look good regardless of how bad his education policies may be.

    I am now the Education Minister.
    I replace all school teachers with chimpanzees.
    The private tutors will correct all the shortcomings of the chimpanzee-teachers.

    As a result, I still achieve my KPIs as Education Minister.
    And I can say after 1 year as education Minister.
    You see lah.
    Chimpanzees are cheaper, better and faster than human teachers.

  2. The beginning of the end - when they commoditised education. Tutors are clearly making a business out of what should have been properly delivered in schools - imagine teachers at prestigious schools spend their whole weekends making tons of money giving tuition across the island and worst, only select those students who are bright so they can show "fruits of their tutoring labour" (!!)
    Whatever have happened to those dedicated educators who would dedicate themselves to helping the less fortunate and brilliant. It is indeed a pity that we may produce students with top scores in examinations and cannot even fill the jobs which have to go to foreign talent!

  3. The "secret" to success is no secret at all.
    You need just 3 things:
    A passion for what you do.
    A vision for turning it into a profitable reality.
    And an unshakeable belief in yourself.

    And if you can do all of these 3 things while being faithful to your values.
    You will be a very rare breed in this world.
    A happy success story.

    Now I ask you.
    Does the Singapore education system nurture any of the above 3 or 4 items I listed?


  5. I want a link back, i will add you to my links!

  6. Did you know that Anthony has been reading this blog? I am his classmate and he told me that some people made fun of him. I told him that they were just jealous. And so they are!

  7. With the kind of medical fees his father charge patients, they can afford tutors of any price !