Wednesday, September 27, 2006

National education, the ST and moderates | all about meeeeee

There are times when I hate the Straits Times. Then there are times that I hate the people who hate the Straits Times.

And then I realise that what I actually hate is this whole pressure-cooker society of Singapore, where people seem to believe that we're the worst/best city in the world. All these polar opposites - I swear, declaring that Singapore is Worst Country Ever is just our old friend exceptionalism, coming from the other side. We're Winthrop's City on the Hill, except when I say "hill", I mean "cesspit". It's the same idea, from the other side - we're either the best, or the worst.

I suspect that my stand on this is what also makes me a very boring person. Take the whole National Education/varying perspectives on history-teaching debate. I know that the syllabus is undergoing revision - well, part of it is. Aside from the issues of National Education is not history - and that is a very huge issue - I went through some of the NE analysis on the teachability of varying perspectives, especially the period that everyone loves to talk about. And the conclusion was this: if you could somehow arrange 30 hours to the day, with corresponding increases to history/SS periods... then yeah, you might be able to do it. Because of that, I'm a little worried about what's going to happen on the ground or rather in the schools - the teachers are going to be forced to teach more content while at the same time, throw in more analysis, with the result that the subject's going to get a very superficial treatment overall.

Anyway - the point of that anecdote was that I take a very heuristic approach to things, stand subject to mutatis mutandis, and as a result, stand somewhere between the iconoclasts and the conservatives. And a result, nowhere in the debate. Is that what's called being a moderate?

However, back to the ST. People say that the ST is biased? Sure. Only one? Only if by "only", you mean "every other paper in the world."

(except the BBC. BBC is God. Yes, I've just said this during Ramadan, God help me. )

The link that inspired it all: Why the American Media Sucks


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