|Eat cheeseburgers? Or get eaten by a tiger car?|
Another source of underlying tension seems to be the relation with foreigners. It's the one country where the natives seem disadvantaged. For example, foreigners can enter the casino at Marina Bay Sands free of charge but Singaporeans are charged S80 for entry. I’ve especially noticed preferential treatment for foreigners in academia. Singapore has been very proactive in recruiting the top brains from around the world, especially in their universities. This has successfully skyrocketed Singapore’s positions in global rankings. NUS is supposed ranked 22nd globally and NTU (Nanyang Technical University) has risen over 40 spots in the last few years and also is in the top fifty. They offer ridiculously generous start-up laboratory funds… I’ve heard murmurs of post-docs being offered hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding for research. They recruit undergraduates the same way (between talking to the students in the Reddy lab and at SUTD, Singaporeans tend to be in the minority) and one can see how this could cause resentment especially because it’s hard for them to get a college education- only 20% of Singaporeans complete this degree! Education here seems to be an especially long road, which may contribute. After completing high school, students who want to continue on an academic track (as opposed to a more practical degree) typically enroll in two years of junior college then need to qualify via standardized testing for four years of university. Before entering university, all males are required to complete two years of service for the Army (which I heard about from couchsurfers Sam and Owen- they were sent into the jungles of Taiwan and Malaysia for training). So by the time guys finish their college degrees, they’re already into their mid-twenties and disadvantaged compared to students from other countries who don’t have to serve (Owen said he forgot everything he knew when he was living in the jungle). Luis pointed out yesterday how segregated different cultural groups here are, even though Singapore’s incredible diverse (all signs are typically translated into four languages). But whenever you enter a food court or look at people sitting on a bus, they're all separate... even living spaces are different- you've got Little India, Chinatown and what Deb calls "ex-Pat land".
|Random adventure of the weekend: Haw Paw Villa|
Time to observe a simple harmonic oscillator lecture at SUTD... at least physics is the same wherever I go! Au reviour!
|Ken and the mermaids... he fits right in!|