In Singapore, we pride ourselves in our meritocratic society. Everyone has a chance to make it to the top, but if you are looking to increase the chances of your child (it’s probably too late for to increase your own chances by now if you are reading this), then here are some tips.
First, choose the right pre-school for your child (which starts as early as two-months old). Preferably one that has an angmoh-sounding name that you can’t spell, better still if its international, because it’s never too early to raise your child to be a culturally savvy global citizen, right? Never mind that the yearly fees can be more that what a low-waged cleaner earns in a year- we are a meritocratic society where everyone is at their rightful place in society.
Next, make sure that your child gets a head-start above his peers before he enters primary school. Phonics, drama, abacus, piano, swimming, rugby- with this, he will be able to read, speak, and write in the appropriate ways when they assess his IQ. If all else fails, at least he can still get into the right CCAs in future with the best DSA opportunities.
If you are not an alumni at one of those primary schools (you know, either those that have 1940s Chinese-inspired white uniforms or those with the word ‘Chinese’ in their school names but with students who can’t speak Mandarin), fret not. You can still buy a bungalow along Upper Bukit Timah Road within 1-2km of the coveted primary school, and qualify for priority balloting! If not, there’s always the international school down the road. After all, every school is a good school, right?
The PSLE is the critical juncture. At age 12, every child’s potential for greater things is fixed. Do it right, and his life will be on track. Do it wrong and he may just be relegated to being Normal, or if fortunate, maybe Express. But do it right and he will join the legacy of the Greatest Minds of Singapore to graduate from the same Junior College.
No fear of lack of places with JCs merging– once he gets into the secondary school with the Integrated Programme or the International Baccalaureate, he wouldn’t need to waste any time doing the Ten-Year Series for O Levels. Better still, he will have a shot at a perfect score at his IB exams, and qualify for top universities worldwide.
With all the odds in his favour, he will be on track to be an elite PSC scholar at 18, study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, return to be a high-flying civil servant/army officer at 23/25, and even be asked to leave his job at 40 to be a junior minister. We need the best talents to serve the nation, and our ministers must be passionate and serve from their hearts, but they may be tempted by higher pay in the private sector, thus their pay must be pegged to the top-performers there, so that with their financial status assured, they can serve the nation with all their heart.
if you do this right, your child will get a shot at success in Singapore. Do this wrong, and he may have to learn to be content with a $300k 4-room BTO in Bukit Batok. Coz hey, we are a meritocratic society, right? Everything is based on talent, skills, and hard work. Everyone can have a shot at success- but you can choose to help your child increase his chances.