Go with a smile!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The teacher parking hoo ha

A few thought about the teacher parking hoo ha.

First, the reason why parking was such a big issue in the first place is because land policies have driven up the cost of parking so much that it's become a significant financial issue.

Maybe it's easy for me to say, I work at a place where monthly parking is only USD80. I actually gave up my parking lot so that I can spend that money on my transit pass (quite unusual for "Mexico".)

Second, dragging money into this, which is the main reason why this issue got mooted in the first place, is completely contrary to the spirit of teaching, as a few people have pointed out. (https://www.facebook.com/Senthil.Zack/posts/10153371698103004) Teachers do not teach because of the money. They could have joined the evil tuition industrial complex. They sometimes pay for miscellaneous expenses. They don't put in claims for everything. You make advertisements for teachers and what do you tell them? They are special. Teach and touch peoples' lives. So since they are special, put your money where your mouth is. Best thing is, since teachers have to be in school so early, they don't contribute to traffic problems. Ask the little brats to take the MRT or the school bus so they don't have to clog up the whole area. You can get a good education anywhere. Anything that a school can teach, you can find it on the internet. So what are teachers for? It is the social element, the human presence that cannot be replaced.

Third, of late, it's become fashionable to identify the things that make Singapore great - the hawkers, the old style HDB flats, the national library, the dockworkers, the construction workers, the engineers - and screw the fuck out of them. It used to be that the teacher's word was authority (for better or worse). These days, the teachers have to listen to the parents, and the parents have to listen to the children. Taking away free parking from the teachers is just one more step in the pattern of teachers surrendering the status they used to hold in society. Next thing you know - in fact this has already happened - we'll be telling people that if you don't study hard, you will become a teacher. Parking has always been a contentious issue in universities, but the professors will always have lots that are reserved for them. Similarly for schools. We should recognise that the schools can exist without the administrators, the canteen operators, and, quite unusually, without the janitors because the pupils can always be asked to clean toilets. But they do not exist without the teachers. So teachers take on those jobs precisely because they are not being calculating. And is that an invitation to the rest of the civil service to be calculating for them? Singapore seems to be a place where you look at a guy, you see that he's already sacrificing for the greater good, and then you're like "good, you're already sacrificing. Maybe you should just sacrifice a little more."


Saturday, January 09, 2016

Java and Japan

I have once compared Java and Japan, when making the point that Java has an even larger population than Japan. Here are the similarities:

1. Ancient cultures that are partially based on foreign influences. Hinduism for Java, and Buddhism for Japan.
2. Very crowded island nations.
3. Great tradition in the arts.
4. Primary contact with white people are the Dutch.
5. Plenty of seismic activity. Volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis.
6. Had short periods of imperialism, and are infamous for being extremely brutal colonial masters. (Aceh / Papua / Timor under Indonesia, Southeast Asia / China / Korea under Japan)
7. Extremely hierarchical society. Hindu kings in Java / Emperor in Japan. Caste structure in Japan.
8. Similarities between wayang kulit and kabuki. Both are theater forms which emphasise courtly intrigue.

Of course, Japan has been more economically successful and modern than Indonesia, so it remains to be seen: can Indonesia emulate Japan to become a great economic powerhouse?