Tan Chuan Xin: Day 6. 7

Day 6

Student Dialogue

The five issues for student dialogue today were immigration, social stratification, education, youth employment and gender equality. All these issues deal with achieving social-economic equality. Personally, the two issues that concern Singapore to a large extent would be social stratification and immigration. I am a fervent believer that the government has done its best to ensure equality in all the other four sectors, as well as curb the problems there.

For education, the meritocratic nature of Singapore’s education system ensures that all children will get an education regardless of their family background and social status. Thus, equality in education is not a major issue in Singapore.

For youth employment, Singapore has a very low unemployment rate, and youth unemployment is not a big issue because there are various avenues for finding jobs, such as job fairs that are held to attract the youths to take up the job postings. Also, there are various intern programs and attachments those youths can partake in, which will increase their employability.

As for gender equality, one of the delegates from Singapore has pointed out that in Singapore, it may actually be a case where the females receive preferential treatment than the males, such as in issues like divorce cases, where the parents file for custody of the child. Of course, gender bias against females is still observable, in cases of wages. However, the woman’s charter fights actively for the equality of woman in Singapore, thus again not a big issue.

However, these are problems that other countries face, and it is a really big problem for them. I gave the example of Malala, a girl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban simply because she went to school. These issues that other countries face are real and serious, and a lot has to be done in order to curtail or resolve them.

Social stratification is still prevalent in Singapore. The lower income groups are a community on their own, and the top percent of Singapore hold most of the wealth of the country. The lower income groups hardly interact with those from the higher income groups, and their residential distracts also segregate them, where the rich live in large executive houses and bungalows while the poor require assistance from the government to live in heavily subsidized 1 room flats. This is a problem, but I believe that education would be a way for the lower income to break free of the poverty cycle, and if not join the higher income, at least become middle class.

Immigration is a problem that has recently been cast into the spotlight because of the population White Paper announced that projected a population of 6.9million by 2030, where 45% of the population will be immigrants and only 55% Singaporeans. However, as a delegate has shared, the immigrant population in London was actually higher than the locals, which shows that this problem is not just Singapore’s alone. However, my personal belief is that Singapore was a country of immigrants, and through the ups and downs we have come to call ourselves Singaporeans. Ultimately, assimilating the immigrants is not an impossible task because we have done it before; we just have to be more accepting of them and not think of the immigrants as outsiders.

Dragon Boating

I have done dragon boating before so the sport was not new to me. Of course, it did build teamwork as we had to count together and pull our oars in tandem.

Paintball

PAINTBALL WAS EEEEEPPPPIIIIIIICCCCC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I loved it ❤ it was so much fun coming up with the strategies, shooting the gun, hitting others and getting hit >:3 I got a bruise from a rather close range shot but it was fine 😀

Singapore Discovery Centre Tour

The games in the SDC were rather old, but they still achieved their intended aim, which was to give Singaporeans and other people from different countries some knowledge about Singapore. It was nice showing the people from other countries the games and getting the answers right!

Cultural Night preparation

Cultural night preparation was pressurizing at first, and it still is, but Aloysius was a bigggg help. I’ll get to that later.

We did our routine and the facils came over and gave us a lot of comments, which really put a lot of pressure on us. We came up with the performance in two days because the original idea of a skit got turned down by the teachers. Therefore, we thought that we did a really good job given the time that we had, which was two days, to come up with the performance. The comments by the facilitators really dampened the mood for us. However, I do appreciate that they were giving us constructive comments, and the genuinely hoped that we would give our best performance on the cultural night and make ourselves proud. Of course, this put a lot of pressure on us, which was tough.

However, the facils were all very encouraging, particularly Aloysius. He gave a very inspiring, motivating and relieving talk in the dark, turning off the lights. I really appreciate the fact that we have awesome facils like these, who know what to say and how to comfort and reassure and inspire us when we need it.

Love you facils ❤

Day 7

Sungei Buloh Conservation Activity

To be honest, this was my first time at Sungei Buloh since I don’t recall my first visit when I was young. However, the guide was very knowledgeable, and able to explain so much to us, even those things that are seemingly unrelated to nature, he was able to give a comprehensive answer and elaborate on it. The tour brought me through the mangroves that I have studied in the textbooks, as well as see some of the animals that I have only heard of but never actually saw them in real life, like the mudskipper. Frankly, nature is a wonderful thing, and I like to look at that in my own free time. It is rather sad that so many mangroves has been lost due to deforestation to make way for urbanization and industrialization. The selfish part of me doesn’t mind that, but it is a constant nagging thought that the environmental degradation will ultimately come back and haunt us in the future, which may be my generation, as we are already experiencing global warming. It may be even worse off for our children’s generation, and the future that they may inherit is a scary prospect. It is also a very sobering thought that one day; these surviving mangroves may ultimately be lost because there is such an urgent need for space to build. It ultimately depends on what the government views important – heritage and environment or economic progress.

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