Monday 26 August 2013

A different kind of meritocracy

Those who want Malaysia to be like Singapore which they claim to be better because of the republic's strict adherence to meritocracy should read this report,

Singaporeans want 'compassionate meritocracy'

For those who are too lazy to go to the link, I had lifted for them some points from the report which was about a survey carried out by the Singapore's Institute of Policy Studies,

Singaporeans want a more compassionate society that is less stressful, with more family time

respondents want a less competitive, more holistic education system, and one that is more inclusive, where students learn with others of different abilities and backgrounds.

strong support for values such as honesty, politeness and graciousness, while risk-taking and enterprise took a backseat.

the survey indicates "we want to move towards being a more inclusive, matured and gracious society".

"There are certain aspects of Singapore society which have grown disproportionately in certain dimensions and other dimensions may have been neglected - very broadly speaking, the quality of life aspects."

Okay, Iet me start on this by saying that I have never really consider myself to be one of those anti-Singapore Malaysians. In fact, I do enjoy my regular visits across the Causeway back then when I was based in JB. I particularly like hanging out at the beautiful and very clean public parks during weekends and holidays.

But I don't think I would like to live in Singapore as I don't think I can have a better quality of life there compared to the one I'm having here in Malaysia.

Yes, maybe I can earn a higher income, but I think life in Singapore can be quite stressful due to the hyper competitive level at work place and also in everyday life. 

My Singaporean cousins for instance started this being competitive business since they were in kindergarten. There's the kindergarten classes, lots of homework, tuition, ballet classes, piano classes etc.  They were as busy as their hard working parents. All that in the hope of them being competitive so that when they grow up, they may survive the Singapore's meritocracy system.

Well, maybe things are now changing there. Maybe the Singaporeans have begun to appreciate a more laid back lifestyle...such as the one we are having in Malaysia.

I think the most ideal is to find a formula of balancing between the two. 

I think Singaporeans need to relax a bit and not be too kiasu while Malaysians should cut down on bullshitting (especially of the political variety) as well as be more disciplined and productive.


  1. In Malaysia, there should be affirmative action, NEP-like policy to address hard core poverty among the Indians especially those who live in the urban areas. The ones who live in the ghettos of the cities. With recent high profile cases involved large number of them, there is a desperate need on the part of the government to tackle this issue once and for all. More and more of them have turned to crime to earn a living.
    Like the research I have read, these type of group have issues of self-esteem, shame, hopelessness due to their economic and social background. These group of disadvantages form a sub-culture group among them and involved in the underworld activities. Terrorizing our street to show that they are the heroes of the downtrodden. This kind of problem is not unique to Malaysia. In Europe, the French have a problem with the impoverished minority group. Most of them are of Middle Eastern descents. The French government too are struggling to come up with policies to improve the socioeconomic background of these people.
    Maybe we could give them like 3 percent to 5 percent quota in everything like scholarship distribution, places of university, places in the civil service, access to government contracts, and scores of other assistance so that they have an opportunity like everyone else. We could show them, that there are opportunities for you if you want to improve your life.
    Even the US have a affirmative action policy for the minority black and Hispanic so they wouldn't left behind by the aggressive and highly competitive European Americans.

  2. Singapore's meritocracy system is laughable.

    It's a double standard propaganda which intend
    to counter Malaysia's UMNO systems.
    It works well only for the Chinese until today.

    Today, Singapore very own so called meritocracy
    system is failing as it's own citizen is losing out due to globalization.
    Due to even playing field....
    Foreign talents are more ambitious, hungrier,
    determined and have an edge over hard working 'robot-like' Chinese Singaporean.

    Unfortunately, this made Singaporean Chinese lose it's effectiveness to compete against foreign talents including the Malaysian Chinese
    and Chinese that came from China who are more
    "ruthless" than them (Singapore Chinese)

    Indirectly, this "meritocracy" system suddenly help non-Chinese Singaporean to catch up.

    The pay scale for jobs previously whose majority occupied by the Singapore Chinese are decreasing due to the level of competition from China, Malaysia, India, Philippines and Europe
    (Jobs where all the money's are....)
    eg: accountant, finance, banker$ etc

    But jobs that are more commonly linked to Indians, Eurasian and Malays remain to them as they are still able to compete with foreign talents due to its "talent based" job structure rather than "hard work" routine job structure.

    eg: Lawyers, programmers, footballers, entertainments, designers etc..

    Which is why nowadays, the one that is complaining are usually the Chinese Singaporean (as always, obviously) rather than the rest of non-Chinese Singaporeans...

    Now the meritocracy system is biting back their a$$..

    1. I think I know why Chinese Singaporeans are complaining. If you have dealings with them, you know they are very refined group of people. They speak English very well and they speak softly too. Most of them can't speak Chinese.

      So now they are being surrounded by loud Chinese Malaysians and Chinese China. These Chinese did not go through LKY's proper behaviour training. The Jinjang mari kind. They speak loudly everywhere, even in lifts. They didn't go through Singapore national service and yet enjoy the same benefits. It is no wonder the original Chinese Singaporeans are feeling oppressed by their ruthless and loud brethren..

    2. Tell me a place of interest in Singapore? Maybe to get my kids to experience a visit to Singapore I can just take them to Bukit Bintang or Petaling Street areas? Crowed with of busy looking Chinese and foreign faces?

  3. Warga Singapura bangsa Cina ramai yang menjadikan Thailand, terutama di sebelah utara, sebagai rumah kedua mereka dan membuat pelaburan hartanah.

    Mereka mencari ruang dan keselesaan yang tidak terdapat di negara mereka. Di situ mereka seperti hartawan dengan tukaran wang Baht berbanding dollar Singapura.

  4. Where Singapore leaders took a wrong turn and lost faith in the Almighty God who provides for the honest, the intelligent and the temperate:

    REUTERS Singapore, 2013:
    Although Singapore's casino takings have dipped as some of the novelty wears off on a small island of 5.3 million people, earnings at the two resorts likely topped US$1 billion the past year as visitors poured in from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and further afield.
    However, there are rumblings about social ills. Some lawmakers question whether Singapore really needs casinos and counselors say they see more people who cannot control their gambling desires. For Jimmy, the opening of the two all-hours casinos pulled him back into a gambling addiction he had managed to keep in check for 14 years, sending his world crashing down with losses of S$250,000 (US$204,100) over 13 months at the baccarat tables.
    “Casinos did bring more jobs, more visibility for Singapore, more economic benefits,” said the education professional, who is now free of debt and in counselling. “Yet it is also undeniably true that the undercurrents behind these benefits are there too — broken families and ruined lives and the increased social costs that come with it.”

  5. I too have family in Singapore. They too hv problems getting good jobs bcos of foreign talent. Bosses all india-mari brown -nosers. Some of my Sing friends hv gotten jobs in US and want to stay there bcos they find Spore repressive. One guy sd last straw was when he was sitting outside bistro smoking when cops spotted his cigarette pack was bought overseas and didn't hv some local stamp. Kena fine. He sd what kind of country where cops scrutinise your ciggy pack?

  6. "But I don't think I would like to live in Singapore as I don't think I can have a better quality of life there compared to the one I'm having here in Malaysia."

    Just think of the crime here..maybe one fine day as you are walking along some roads in Malaysia and some guy come and snatch your handbag and left you in a coma or slashed you with a machete and left you for dead then you might wanna ponder what you have said.

    And what I said is not is really happening in Malaysia.

    1. Ah yes, crime here snd there in JB 24/7, and also jam here and there esp at causeway during weekends and hols.( friday jam into JB, sunday jam exiting JB)
      Any explanation for this weird phenomena?

  7. Live in Singapore ah ?
    Haiyah Subang Jaya also now I find unbearable but still not too bad
    although fast becoming Singapore

    life is to be lived and enjoyed

    bukan malas. rimas dengan superfast pace and berebut-rebut dengan makin ramai manusia yang tak makan saman

    we must check this now or else in tme to come life will start to lose meaning like what this Annie article is about. when life is showing characteristics of one like in Singapore or Hongkong. We will need to have more doctors and psychiatristsi to treat us

    this is what many average man on the streets do not want to come to. Vote PR please. We will there quicker than we know

  8. I am a Melayu.
    A little bit more Melayu than Annie.
    Annie story about Singapore has similarity to Melayu Malaysia

    So is Singapore way the way to go ?
    Meritocracy my foot !
    Let's Muhyiddin get Dr Mahathir's help to redefine and redesign the NEP for all Malaysians so that we remain as true Malaysians in Malaysia and enjoying the Malaysian Hospitality for ourselves. Others who subscribe are welcome tumpang sekaki. For centuries this blessed land has had plenty to offer.

    1. Jasper Bloodstone26 August 2013 at 19:14

      "This blessed land has had plenty to offer".


      But how does it get out of the "middle income trap"?

      Or is that a figment of someone's imagination?

      If meritocracy is no good, what is the alternative ?

      All-out affirmative action and damn the consequences?

      Did Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft get to where they are by being soft-touch affirmative action or by aggressively recruiting (and retaining) the "best and brightest"?

      Just ask the Malaysians (and ex-Malaysians) who are working in these companies.

    2. a little bit more Melayu than Annie = Melayu Perkasa

  9. wah so many UMNO goons here jealous about Singapore success !!!
    Tolong kasi check one SGD is equal to how many RM now ??
    What is our university world ranking compared to Singapore ?

    1. If defending one's pride is construed as jealously, then you're totally off tangent.
      Rising or falling xchange rates does not deter most Malaysian from having a descent spread on the table. Taking away the University world ranking also do not deter Malaysia from producing excellent heart surgeons, neuro surgeons, fighter pilots, and clever and cunning accountants!

    2. Another simplistic answer from a DAP-leaning simpleton. This idiot thinks that economic performance is based mainly on currency exchange.

      Another indication of this commenter's double digit IQ is his belief that a higher university ranking means that the country is more advanced. If that's the case, then singapore is more advanced than korea! Last I checked innovations in cell phones, cars, TV, and internet are coming from South Korea, NOT Singapore.

      You Anon at 20.37 please suck LKY's dick... Remember he looks like this:


    3. yo RBA or whoever you are,

      Singapore can continue to be Singapore and that's all right with us. Jealous.. no la and never will be
      Success.. Singapore is looking more now to be victim of its own success. Malaysia.. it's not that Malaysia is unsuccessful, moderate success ok and we are more than happy with it.

      SGD1 to MYR, I don't know about you but I couldn't care less. I don't see it as measure of happiness, do you ? And if you do see it this way, otak you kecik. Sila pergi besarkan sikit. You may go to Singapore universities to do this. No Malaysian will stop you. As matter of fact you are encouraged to permanently live in Singapore and please don't come back to Malaysia if you are now living here.

      Singapore = High Income nation
      Malaysia = middle income nation and Malaysia already is and will be trapped in it as Jasper Blackstone said.

      And you know what high income ka, low income ka, middle income ka, there are all numbers. The truth is it takes a lot less MYR to live a decent live in Malaysia than it does in Singapore and this is good enough.Inflation is manageable, unemployment is low enough, growth is comparatively reasonable in well diversified economy. Again these are all numbers. If you want to live to be governed by numbers, Anon 20:37 and Jasper you are most welcomed and the choice is yours.

      For me I only wish there is less number in religious people like the Evengelists and the Ostads to preach around the country. And less number of super liberal low moral type people.

      Malaysia shall be fine unless the UMNO led government or even the future DAP led PR government (if elected) starts to sell the country for their own gain in the name of economic liberalization.

  10. Hi Annie,

    I checked out the Institute of Policy Studies and if this is the website of the same IPS, then I'd say they have their hearts in the right place.

    At the Parti Sosialis Malaysia fund raising dinner, Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj said that socialists are not against affirmative action per se, but in fact support it if it's implemented based upon need across all ethnic communities, or something to that effect.

    The kind of "meritocrary" spoken about by parties such as the DAP and pro-Pakatan Rakyat supporters has more to do with enabling more business opportunities of the capitalists of one ethnic group versus the capitalists of another ethnic group.

    Such people are neo-liberals and I have no regard for them.

    The kinds of efficiency, cleanliness and facilities Malaysians like myself, Annie and others are impressed with Singapore for, exist often to an even better extent in developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe. Yet, these countries have been welfare states, where the poor, the unemployed and the elderly are supported by the state, even though such facilities are increasingly being cut back by their pro-capitalist governments.

    These countries also have a relatively large land mass, natural resources, agriculture and diverse production industries which provide some kind of fall back on to survive, if some other area fails.

    Singapore's "admirable" situation comes about from it being in rather desperate economic straits, after it was excluded from Malaysia, and it had to struggle to attract foreign investment to provide its people with economic opportunities.

    Yes, the PAP did a good job under such a chalelnging situation and such measures may have been necessary for the time but now that Singapore has become prosperous and a developed nation, it's time for it to adopt more normal policies practiced by other developed countries, and it's people expect that, as the survey found.

    Anyway, quite a lot of Singaporeans have been leaving for less stressful places.

    Still, I always enjoy visiting Singapore and using its public facilities such as its MRT, and I would work there if someone gave me a job at good enough pay but I'm not too sure if I'd like to retire in Singapore.

    1. IT.sheiss you are full of what germans would say as 'Scheiße' = shit. The PAP did nothing amazing. What they did was akin to releasing flies onto a dead animal, and letting fly-maggots consume rotting flesh, to pick the bones clean.

      The maggots are the Chinese. And Singapore is just a small dead rat skeleton of an island.

    2. "What they did was akin to releasing flies onto a dead animal, and letting fly-maggots consume rotting flesh, to pick the bones clean."

      And how did doing that affect the Singapore economy and its development?

      Did you read through my statement above calmly and unemotionally?

      If you had, you would have realised that I'm just looking at Singapore objectively.

      Singapore has managed to become a developed nation, with a high standard of living but at a cost to its people which is not necessarily desireable for others.

      Part of that could be due to the U.S. helping to prop up its economy with finacial investments because it wants a presence in the region, like a "Israel of South East Asia."

      Also, I predict, and some Singaporeans agree, that once Lee Kuan Yew passes away, there will be infighting between factions within the PAP which can tear it all apart.

  11. "Meritocracy in its wider sense, may be any general act of judgment upon the basis of various demonstrated merits; such acts frequently are described in sociology and psychology. Thus, the merits may extend beyond intelligence and education to any mental or physical talent or to work ethic.
    In rhetoric, the demonstration of one's merit regarding mastery of a particular subject is an essential task most directly related to the Aristotelian term Ethos. The equivalent Aristotelian conception of meritocracy is based upon aristocratic or oligarchical structures, rather than in the context of the modern state".

    Nah.. Wikipedia says this. Not me.

    So why are we always walking along a narrow definition of meritocracy every time the word is spoken ?

    Intelligent forum must really define this word in the context of this country because it is a sickening word to hear when not appropriately define.

    1. A rather long exposition Ms. Annie but for the sake of elucidating "meritocracy". This is from Purdue University:

      Many people have heard of the rhetorical concepts of logos, ethos, and pathos even if they do not necessarily know what they fully mean. These three terms, along with kairos and telos, were used by Aristotle to help explain how rhetoric functions. In ancient Greece, these terms corresponded with basic components that all rhetorical situations have.


      Logos is frequently translated as some variation of “logic or reasoning,” but it originally referred to the actual content of a speech and how it was organized. Today, many people may discuss the logos qualities of a text to refer to how strong the logic or reasoning of the text is. But logos more closely refers to the structure and content of the text itself.


      Ethos is frequently translated as some variation of “credibility or trustworthiness,” but it originally referred to the elements of a speech that reflected on the particular character of the speaker or the speech’s author. Today, many people may discuss ethos qualities of a text to refer to how well authors portray themselves. But ethos more closely refers to an author’s perspective more generally.


      Pathos is frequently translated as some variation of “emotional appeal,” but it originally referred to the elements of a speech that appealed to any of an audience’s sensibilities. Today, many people may discuss the pathos qualities of a text to refer to how well an author appeals to an audience’s emotions. Pathos as “emotion” is often contrasted with logos as “reason.” But this is a limited understanding of both pathos and logos; pathos more closely refers to an audience’s perspective more generally.


      Telos is a term Aristotle used to explain the particular purpose or attitude of a speech. Not many people use this term today in reference to rhetorical situations; nonetheless, it is instructive to know that early rhetorical thinkers like Aristotle actually placed much emphasis on speakers having a clear telos. But audiences can also have purposes of their own that differ from a speaker’s purpose.


      Kairos is a term that refers to the elements of a speech that acknowledge and draw support from the particular setting, time, and place that a speech occurs. Though not as commonly known as logos, ethos, and pathos, the term kairos has been receiving wider renewed attention among teachers of composition since the mid-1980s. Although kairos may be well known among writing instructors, the term “setting” more succinctly and clearly identifies this concept for contemporary readers.

  12. When I was young and SGD1=RGT1 my friends and I loved hopping onto the early flights and back by late flights (cheap fare) fm KUl on weekends for shopping and makan there. Esp to look for new computer softwares. Those were the days and my family and I have never been there for the last 20yrs. We have more here in Malaysia.

    Malays wld prefer to go places like Indonesia, Thailand, Phillipine, Vietnam or Cambodia as we can see the different cultures and interesting places of interests there and of 'cos shopping. Outside Asean countries, prefer Japan, Taiwan, HKong, China, India for more interesting sigh-seeing etc. The Arab countries of 'cos when given a chance to go on group tours. For studies, Aussie/NZealand, European countries including US and even Russia.

    So Singapore never come to our mind as there is almost nothing that is interesting.Rasa2 buang masa, letih dan buang duit saja pergi sana.

    Probably where Malaysian Chinese is concerned, and as they share similar interest, language, ways of life, Singapore is their one and only nearest heaven on earth?

    1. You have an interesting point. I was in Vietnam last week and there were quite a few Malays on the flight there and back.

      Actually, these places have much more to offer than Singapore in terms of culture, art, history, places to visit, etc., at affordable prices more commensurate with our level of affordability.

      If I did not have relations in Singapore, I would have little reason to go there.

    2. IT.Sheiss, so please don go singapore, better go Vietnam to have relations, cheap to handle.

  13. There are those who prefer Malaysia.

    And there are those who prefer Singapore.

    Like the durian - most people either love it or hate it.

    So there's no need to quarrel over which is 'better'.

    But of course, there are also those who like both - and are able to take in from both what are good for him or her.

  14. Hmmm

    Singapore, the land of promise to some but to me more of the land of people who think they are better than anyone else.

    But after preaching day in and day out how well they managed their country, they come here, buy their dry goods, the clothes, the bling-blings, the house to retire and use our petrols before going back to their promised island and telling everyone how low class the malaysia is. While at home enjoying all the goods they get from malaysia.

    Do I hate singapore, NO, but do I think they are better than Malaysia, NO.

    :) sarah

  15. if singapore is so much better than malaysia then why do we see a lot of singaporeans hanging around JB doing their shopping, dining etc? Kenapa tak makan KFC or McD kat tempat sendiri sahaja? Pasal apa tak beli groceries kat your own backyard? Pasal apa nak rebut2 beli rumah kat Nusajaya?

    Singaporeans are not really wealthy (income tinggi tapi cost of living pun tinggi, saving pun minimal tu pasal bangla keja spore 10 tahun boleh balik bangladesh jadi millionaire pasal banyak saving masa keja di singapore tapi singaporean tiap2 bulan dapat gaji bayar hutang saja tak kaya2..cuma hidup dapatlah enjoy makan sedap bawak keta besar tapi lain2 tu habuk pun takde)..

    Dipendekkan cerita, walau apapun orang kata mengenai Malaysia, exchange rate teruk,university tak bagus etc banding dgn spore, hakikatnya aku bangga jadi orang malaysia pasal negara ini luas kaya dengan hasil bumi, hidup tak stress, nak tanam durian, tangkap ikan,buat rumah dan pondok takda sapa yang menghalang..singapore saiz hanya sekangkang kera senang nak manage jadi jangan mendabik dada..kita dah buktikan kita boleh buat lebih baik dari singapore through putrajaya..

    aku dah lebih 12 tahun menetap di luar malaysia sehingga hari ini dan aku akui malaysia jauh lebih baik dari singapore

    Akhir kata HiDup Melayu Tanahairku (jangan jadi hamba Cinabeng..)depan kita mulut manis belakang kita dia mengutuk dan menghina

    1. bodohnya anon 01:09, simple economic factor pon tak erti why singaporean shop and dine in JB..kah..kah..kah... takkan McD and KFC punya ayam lebih sedap di JB ?? mungkin juagak gadis di JB lebih cun dari s'pore kah..kah..kah....

    2. anon 12.29 : nampak sangat cinabeng yang reply ni..ha ha..padan muka lu..muka tak malu..kena sound sikit dah gelabah..allo time belajar tinggi2 dulu and understand economics and bahasa melayu betul2 before condemn orang lain sebagai bodoh..

      orang spore turun jb pasal harga barang jb lebih murah..thats what i'm trying to say..understand now cinabeng?you sekolah sampai darjah enam ka?bahasa melayu tak pass ka?

  16. With their high SGD exchange rate compared to MYR, they're also the one to 'sapu' Malaysian subsidized items come to Malaysia. Admit it or not, they also lived on Malaysia subsidies during weekends or holidaying in Malaysia with highest crime rate.

  17. In Singapore a high-end luxurious bungalow (i.e.4-bedrooms, land area of 1,400 sq meters, and a large garden) can cost as high as S$35,000 per month.Terraced houses and semi-detached houses are less expensive and can be rented for approximately S$8,000-S$13,000 per month.

    Really pity them. Wonder how many of them can afford to stay in such homes?

    1. Anon 04:23, you don't have to pity the Singaporean, they know how to take care themselves, don't be a busybody ok, baik jaga diri sendiri dulu.

      Sewa rumah hang dah bayar ke belum ?

    2. Terrace or link houses kat Malaysia pakai EPF 2nd account pun boleh bayar cash le, suami beli satu isteri beli satu. Young graduates bru kerja pun mampu beli.

      I pity the rich Singaporeans because many have no choice but to live in pigeon-like flats or apartments they call homes.

  18. Jasper Bloodstone wrote:-

    "But how does it get out of the "middle income trap"?"

    By eliminating corruption, improving efficiency and developing a commitment to quality and professionalism in what our workers do. Admittedly, this is what Malaysia and many of our neighbours such as Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, etc lack.

    Besides that, Malaysia, Singapore and many of our South-East Asian neighbours are known for developing and making any particular innovative product or service but are still very much reliant on imported products, hence our industries are not great creators of high marketable value products, unline Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

    Also note, that many of the high-income economies in the world, such as Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, have some form of welfare state which takes care of their poorer citizens and many have some forms of affirmative action in place to assist minorities who have been or still are discriminated against, still face discrimination or are economically worse off.

    "Did Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft get to where they are by being soft-touch affirmative action or by aggressively recruiting (and retaining) the "best and brightest"?"

    Running a country is not like running a company, so that kind of neo-liberal argument does not cut.

    What have these companies done to lift up the overall sagging economy of the United States or of California state?

    In any case, Micrsooft co-founder Bill Gates does not have a degree and would not be employed by Microsoft if he applied today.

    In fact, India is no thinking of developing its other industries besides IT, which despite all the media hype, hoohah and hulabaloo over its IT industry, still India has very wide disparities between rich and poor.

    As history testifies to, failure to address economic disparity and economic hardship has resulted in social unrest which resulted in the French revolution, Bolshevik revolution, the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, etc.

    "Let them eat cake," Marie Antionette said, and she lost her head.

  19. There will not be any unrest in Singapore. Just like Israel, the ziochinese will quickly and simply kill all the rioters as brutally as possible. They are heartless.