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Monday, March 06, 2006

Reflecting on the Singapore Plan....

I found this interesting read from Tomorrow which made me reflect a little on the Singapore Plan.

Maybe it just particularly touched a chord with me because I consider one of the few [some? many? rare?] Singaporeans who have experienced both the Singapore Plan and the Singapore Dream as they described it.

For those too lazy to click and read, *rolls eyeballs* the 2 authors write about their experiences with the Singapore Plan. The Plan was the one that told you to go to a good school, get a good degree, get a good job, get a good man, get a good funeral blah blah blah.

The Plan was also the one that always told you to wait till after your exams, after you graduate, after you worked a few years, after you married, to pursue your dreams and your love.

Regular readers of this blog and my friends will know that this is a familiar issue with me.

But anyway, I felt inspired to blog about it because, as I said, I feel like I'm one who has tasted both the Plan and the Dream. Both by teaching tuition and by entering the establishment. By doing things the way I wanted to, and by placing my career security and advancement in the hands of another.

I have to say that there are advantages to both sides. Entering the establishment trained me well. It awoke my mind in ways I didn't know, and focused my mind on education. Being somewhere where there are actually expectations on you in a way forces you to live up to those expectations. And forces you to better yourself and change in order to reach those expectations.

And of course the additional money in my bank account every month on the dot doesn't hurt either.

But the other? *sigh*

I went to the career fair with the DF over the weekend, for him to check out postgrad courses.

The boy became so excited over all the possibilities and the opportunities. Eagerly he perused through brochures from a dozen private schools and even overseas universities in Europe, excitedly talking about what it would be like to study in France, UK, Sweden......

I could only keep quiet because I knew I was stuck in Singapore for the next 3 years. And even then, financial circumstances would not be enough to send me to study in any of these places.

Looking back at the time I just completed my A levels, when I should have been checking out all these different places and possibilities. And what was I doing? Working because my parents convinced me it would be better for my resume after I graduated. [An older and wiser me now knows that in reality, the jobs that you get after your A levels are so menial and mediocre and possibly irrelevant that in terms of so called 'job experience' you're better off not working at all]

Now that I'm older, and stuck in a bond, is it too late? Have I lost 3 years of my life just like that?

Granted that the experience is good, but would it be worth it? For the other things that I could have pursued?

*sigh* ah well. Spilt milk and all that.

But I do notice some self-differences between the now-me and the tuition-me. The most major difference being I feel my creativity sapping. I know I don't draw as much, and I don't even blog as much. I read fervently because that's the only pleasure left for me to indulge, but even still there's a pile of unread books still waiting in my room. I watch more movies because it's the most convenient date of all. *rolls eyeballs*

I don't fiddle much with Photoshop, Freehand or Dreamweaver anymore, only Word for my lesson plans.

But I can still continue my Japanese and lindy because of my now-stable income.

What, I wonder, is the loss to me in the long term? If I can already feel the change in my mental abilities, will this gradually creep over me like some kind of social dementia? Will I simply succumb to the Singapore Plan and pile my kids with tuition and make sure they go into a good secondary school?

Will I cease to think about how things could be different, and simply accept them as they are resignedly?

As a last consoling beacon of light, the DF also gave me the idea of no-pay leaves.

Apparently some teachers do take up 1, 2 and even 3 year no-pay leaves in order to pursue Master's, marriage, or whatever they want. The advantage of this is that they can take a long break, and then still have a job waiting for them.

The disadvantage, well, the term 'no-pay leave' says it all.

But see, from the POV of a person who has been there, and who can now add the term 'experienced teacher' to her tuition resume........ and who wants to do so much more with her life than just go into classroom after classroom........

Well, we'll see what happens 3 years later. :p And hope I never succumb to that social dementia in the meantime.

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