I enjoyed reading Dr Tommy Koh’s letter to his grandchildren in 2065. (appearing in The Straits Times’ Opinion page, 3 August 2015). Dr Koh projected forward to 50 years later when Singapore celebrates its 100th anniversary. Then I read about “RI now a ‘middle-class’ school” reported today in the Straits Times. This set me thinking.
What do I hope to see in a society such as Singapore?
I can understand that economic growth is important for her citizens to enjoy a higher standard of living and the buzz in the environment. Competition is part and parcel of such a society. Chasing for results, fame and wealth can overwhelm an individual who may not do as well as another person for various reasons. This can start as young as when the person takes the important streaming PSLE. For some, it may require plenty of stress to cope with it.
I ask myself whether is it worth it? Besides the material well-being of a person, there is also the value system of a person (so called the heart aspects). This value system can see a person through difficult times.
As an educator, I am happy to teach an average student who put in effort to learn. They are the ones who will give me immense joy when they do well in the examinations. I like students who go out of their ways to help the underprivileged members of the society. These are the people with good hearts. I like students who know the value of respect for the elderly, teachers, parents, friends, workers and all living beings (like being kind to animals). I like students who are honest and stand by this principle even when it is an easy way out to lie. I like students who are humble and gracious.
These are possible personality traits and we as parents can nurture them in our children.