Friday, 2 November 2012

Watz Buzzing - 2 Nov 2012

Understanding why PSLE needs to be changed

Putting so much at stake and so much pressure of 12 year old children is very unhealthy and harms their long term development. It causes our children to over-achieve in the beginning and underachieve in the longer run because it puts the emphasis the wrong areas - exams over love of learning, learning fast vs deep understanding of basic principles.

To illustrate this lets look at some numbers. Suppose you take groups of students from various countries to test them. Lets take Israeli students, Hungarian students Austrian students, American students, Swedish students etc at age 14 , just after PSLE age and test them. Lets test them for math and instead of using all our  students lets just have Malay students whom the PAP (the former PM Lee) frequently claims are weak at maths. Someone has actually done such a test [Link]and these are the results:

So what is the secret in the Israeli education system that makes it different? They spend the first 5-8 years of education encouraging their students to ask questions rather than teach them to answer questions. We do the opposite - we measure the success and achievement of a student and teachers by their ability to answer exam questions. Primary school education is all about learning the facts and methods to answer questions...and year after year the questions are made harder and harder differentiate students in terms of ability to answer questions. We destroy the ability of our students to challenge ideas because the faster the learn and accept, the better they do at the exams. This is why the Israeli system that produces 14 year old who are 19 places behind us in standardized maths and science tests come roaring back to over take us later. We start fast ...but they run further!...and it is the distance that matters.

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PSLE Maths: Malays 60.1%, Chinese 89.4%

I refer to the Ministry of Education's press release on 29 OctoberMajor ethnic groups performed better at GCE "A" Level exam”.

It states that
“The performance of the major ethnic groups in the PSLE and GCE "O" level have remained stable in the past 10 years. At the GCE 'A' Level, the overall percentage of students with at least three 'A'/'H2' Passes and pass in General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry improved from 85% in 2002 to 91% in 2011. The statistics released by the Ministry of Education serves helps to inform the communities on how their children fared in the national examinations over the past 10 years”.
Percentage of Students Who Passed PSLE
The worse performing ethnic group was Malays at 92.3% in 2011, and the best was Chinese at 98.9%.
In 2002, the figures were 90.5 and 98.2%, respectively.

The following are the statistics for the worse and best performing ethnic groups for various categories. (Note The “Others” ethnic group has been excluded in this tabulation) 

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Have you seen a PSLE child cry?

The PSLE results are always met with joyous celebration and recognition for the bright little boys and girls who have done well. The parents will be proud, the schools and teachers will be proud, the community will be proud too of the children’s success. How many people will notice the little boys and girls sobbing in the corners, starring blankly at the result slips which said, failed, or average, no good?

At the tender age of 12, little children must face a devastating blow of knowing that they are NG. When the parents are understanding it may be a consolation. When parents are unreasonable and daft to place all hopes and desires on the poor child’s PSLE result, life can be very miserable. Many children will live in fear when the results are not up to their parents’ expectation.

Is it fair to put the poor young things through such a traumatic experience when many did not really know what is going on? Actually, for those who are less sensitive and a bit dull, it is a blessing. It is those that are aware of the hopes and wishes placed on them by their parents and knowing what the parents want and what it means to fail to achieve that will face the full might of being a failure at such a young age. And they would not know what to do, and who to turn to. The sight of their disappointing parents could be so frighteningly cold and ruthless.

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Employment of Foreign Talents: locals are undermined

Cases of cost cutting by Singapore employers in their recruitment of foreign PMETs to replace their local workforce are becoming a trend.

Yet, employers are denying the actual reasons behind their hiring practices. Reasons like laziness, negative work attitude, refusal to work long hours and job hopping on the part of Singaporeans are often cited for the choice of employing foreigners over locals.

Whilst this may be true for some Singaporeans, it is also greatly exaggerated. Deep down, we all know it is mainly about dollars and cents. The current competitive

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Comparative advantage of a FT in Sin

Sinkieland is not only a paradise, a Disneyland to the FTs. It is a gold mine, like the gold mountain of California in the early 20th Century. Every poor peasant would risk life and limbs to go the beautiful country called America. Singapore is everything a FT can ask for, especially those from the third world countries when the comparative advantage is simply too good and too many. In America of old, they were exploited, discriminated, the govt and system were hostile to foreigners.

In Sin, the foreigners were welcomed with open arms, govt budgeting funds to help them to assimilate to the new environment and people. The govt treats foreigners even better than the locals. Many came for top jobs, replacing the locals with full blessings from the govt, as foreign talents. What more do the foreigners want?

Take the cost of bringing up and educating a Sinkie here compare to those from the third world, the latter costs nearly a pittance to the millions needed to bring up a child. The cost here ends up with every child a losing concern. For a FT from a third world, it is big profits, plus exchange rate advantage, the return is unimaginable. 

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Grassroots chairman jailed for stealing from elderly

A former chairman of a resident’s committee (RC) and town councillor, Ms Lee Shwu Huah, 47, was jailed for 4 weeks for stealing $26,000 from an elderly neighbour. She was sentenced by the Court today (31 Oct).

The court heard that Lee accompanied Madam Au, 81, who suffered from amnesia, to DBS Bank’s Rochor branch on 11 Apr to apply for a POSB ATM card. She then kept it for safekeeping.

Half an hour later, Lee used the ATM card and withdrew $1,000 from Mdm Au’s account.

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PRC Ferrari driver Ma Chi was speeding at 178km/h before fatal crash, 31 Oct 2012
TODAY newspaper reported that The Coroner’s Court saw a video footage that showed Ma Chi had stepped on the pedal to increase speed from 169km/h to 178kmh/ between the pedestrian crossing in front of Bugis Village and at the point of collision.
In the horrific accident that happened in May this year, Ma, 31, a China national, allegedly did not stop or slow down at the junction of Victoria Street and Rochor Road even though the lights were red. He crashed into a taxi, which hit a motorcycle.
Three people died – Ma, taxi driver Cheng Teck Hock, 52, and the taxi’s passenger Shigemi Ito. A female passenger in Ma's car, Wu Weiwei, and a motorcyclist, Muhammad Najib Ghazali, were seriously injured. Full story

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Ng Boon Gay trial - now CPIB chief wavers

t must have been a torrid time for the prosecution so far. First, their star witness Cecilia Sue flip flopped. Now the CPIB chief appears to be wavering. Too many "I don't knows", "not sure" and "can't remember". How is the prosecution going to move on like this?

Excerpts from ST's report below. I have underlined the parts that show the chief's lack of confidence and his apparent loss of memory. Mr Teng Khee Fatt is the CPIB Chief, while Mr Tan Chee Meng is Boon Gay's defence lawyer.

Defence lawyer questions CPIB interview processes

Why did CPIB/Mr Teng choose to believe Ms Cecilia Sue about some things and not others?

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NUS Disciplinary Board Bukkake on Alvin Tan

OK by talking cock about him, it only feeds his wanton desire for attention and publicity. He probably gets a woody every time he thinks people Google for his videos of him doing his gal or talks about his brazen sexcapades. But I can't help it. I have to say something especially since now Alvin Tan says he wants to cum back to NUS and study. I thought he earlier defiantly said he was going to screw NUS law school and dismissed with stoic bravado he doesn't need it as he was doing his own business? Err OK

I'm not a legs-shut-tight prude. If he wants to do his girlfriend and allow her to show her frightful-looking pussy to the world in photos and videos in the internet, so be it lor. I support amateur videos, so gotta give them credit for courage and confidence. OK the cynics would say it is instead stupidity and delusions. Anyway, weirdo Alvin should have realised the storm coming once his sex story would be out eventually.

And it was not a video in a handphone stolen by a jealous guy or lesbo gal who wanted to do Vivian but lost to Alvin. Neither was it that Alvin brought his PC for repair and the shop found the video and a community-spirited sharing-is-caring staff uploaded into the internet. He and Vivian did it - both sex and uploaded it themselves. Cum to think of it, they really did themselves in.

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OPINION: Happiness is not for sale - Seah Chiang Nee

Malaysia Star, 27 Oct 2012
A FEW years ago a Cabinet minister visited Bhutan and came back declaring that in his view the tranquil mountainous kingdom “is not the Shangri-La on earth”.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that he had met a cross-section of people from the Prime Minister to the chief monk to ordinary folks.
His conclusion was that “the Westerners’ romanticised version of this ancient kingdom does not fit the reality of what I saw. Bhutan is not Shangri-La on earth”.
His remarks were made in reply to an opposition MP’s proposal to start a National Happiness Index in Singapore, similar to Bhutan’s.
Khaw’s Bhutan viewpoint was no surprise to Singaporeans who have often heard former premier Lee Kuan Yew say that building GDP must take precedence above all else.
With prosperity you can do many things; without it, trouble, he often said. Full story

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Income For Retirement

Our mandatory CPF contribution rate should, theoretically, put us in good stead. Except that in our situation, retirees continue to co-pay for their Medicare through the chunk eaten up by Medisave, plus premiums for additional cover like Medishield. And then there is the Goods and Services Tax.

Tharman's premise for the IRR numbers include the overpriced housing board flat, an illiquid source of funds which can be made available only by downgrading or pursuing a refinancing exercise. Assuming the house has already been fully paid for by then. He calls this "Our strategy to help them monetise the values of their homes in retirement." Tharman also pointed that many older Singaporeans have low CPF balances and are unable to achieve the IRR that "the study" has found.

These older folks bought houses at significantly lower prices, unlike the younger generation who is already seeing COV (cost over valuation) figures in excess of $200,000. We are told "details of the study will be released in the near future", but the released date was not indicated. Have you seen "the study"? Except for those still entitled to state provided pensions, one suspects the true picture of the IRRs may not be as pretty as painted. 

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$100 million worth of NS Vouchers – Who benefits?

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that 100 million of its taxpayers’ money will be spent, no one batted an eyelid, let alone question the decision. Some even called it a ‘nice gesture’. I am not talking about how much or how little money each NS personnel will receive. $50-$100 isn’t a small sum of money to me. I question not the amount of money, but the motive behind the action. For one, it bears a sick resembling of electoral carrots. Never mind on that, let’s move on.

The bigger question is: Who truly benefits from this $100 million bucks from our national coffers? Bear in mind these $100,000,000 of cash will be converted into vouchers before dissemination. Why the need to do this if the purpose is to reward Singaporean men who served their nation? With $50-$100 cash in hand, each Singaporean man can spend it any food of any joint of their choice which will pay the hawker’s salary or that taxi driver, the kind who doesn’t earn $7,000 per month, and so on. With $100,000 cash going around the economy, it ought to benefit more of the population. 

Vouchers. I pray that we are talking about e-vouchers than physical vouchers here. If it isn’t an e-copy, or something facilitated existing technologies, such as the scanning of our pink ICs, I would like to know which company is printing these vouchers and how fairly does this company wins the tender. Mind you, we are talking about 2 million copies of $50 vouchers here, not 200 vouchers. That contract value could be worth a year’s of revenue for many SME printing companies. We can really do with killing more trees with unnecessary printing of vouchers as well.

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