Sunday, September 07, 2008

National Security Coordinating Council

Dear DPM Jaya,
For some years now, I have belonged to the revered professional whose sole responsibility is to inspire and to be a teacher, according to the new MOE recruitment campaign. The students I teach supposed to be among the brightest of the land and in some ways are. These are the students who have believed that the aim of education is to groom and produce the next generation of leaders for the nation and each of them believe that they will be a future leader. However flawed on however many levels this is, it is how they see themselves and each 18 year old has the right to have great ambitions and ideals.

What has disturbed me over the years and is increasingly irking me is their schizophrenic and skewed perception of the societal reality they live and will live in. There are many aspects that are flawed but let me concentrate on one particular one that will be of interest to you and the National Security Coordinating Council.

I have found it part of my responsibility to ensure that the students I send out into the world are critically aware of the world they live in. Sometimes that means teaching them to be cynical and to question their unquestioned loyalty and ability to rattle off, on command, the five pillars of defence in Singapore, the five pillars of good governance in Singapore and the five reasons why Singapore is a safe and peaceful society amidst all the turmoil. Credit must be given to the National Education programme in Singapore because at every juncture, in every way possible, when questioned, the students have utmost belief that we are a racially harmonious society and that we are a united people that will stand the test of trials because we are Singaporeans before we are Chinese, Malay, Indian or Others. It has always managed to floor me, how unfailingly able they are to parrot all this and with utmost confidence declare that there is not one racist or prejudicial bone in their bodies because they are Singaporeans and they are racially tolerant of the other races.

And this is where the fissure turns into a great fault line that if not addressed, will cause a tremendous eruption at some point. While worldly wise and knowledgeable in some areas and academically ahead in quantifiable areas, these same students who are destined for greatness are dangerously myopic and racist. No doubt they have grown up in a time where terrorism is a great threat just like the generation before them grew up thinking that all communists were evil. The problem however, lies in the stereotypical prejudices. This is a generation that considers terrorism a new threat and a threat that has been brought about by one religion and that religion is Islam. This is the generation that on one hand is able to declare that they live in a racially harmonious society and declare that each individual has the freedom to practice their religion but on the other hand bitterly and blithely classifies all Muslims as terrorists and all terrorists as Muslims. They, who live in a region whose dominant and primary religion is Islam, consider themselves superior to those who worship Allah because they consider everyone who worships Allah and fasts during the month of Ramadan a potential terrorist out to carry out jihad and blow up the world.

So, despite all their brave declarations of civil harmony, the elite of this generation will grow up with such a warped mentality and when I think about how they are going to be ones who will possibly be shaping the foreign policy direction of the country, I quake in my boots and feel that I would be doing society an injustice by allowing them to graduate into society. Better to keep them cloistered within the walls of the school till we are able to re-educate them. The problem however is that it takes more than just their one teacher to undo all the inherent discrimination that they have developed. It is indeed true that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and this mentality that our young possess is indeed a dangerous thing, in that they are blind and unaware of these prejudices that are deeply entrenched within the psyche.

It is an issue I feel that the NSCC must address from a young age and it is obvious that whatever messages that the NSCC has been crafting and sending into society have been gravely misinterpreted or are in dire need of a drastic rethink.

Thank you.

A peon working to mould the future of our nation, on minimal wage.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:27

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