Singapore National Education by Mr Brown

Mr Brown
29 May 2003 to 17 June 2003

I have also learned lately:

1. That some people who watched the Matrix Reloaded may have to watch it again because they missed the first few lines of what The Architect said.

This is because some smartass shouted “Hey, KFC” when The Architect scene started, and the whole movie hall laughed, drowning out the deep and cheem words of the man.

2. That after watching The Architect scene, many people have now started using words like “Ergo” and “Apropos”.

ergo: (adv conj) therefore (formal)

apropos: (Adj) Of an appropriate or pertinent nature. (Adv) By the way. At an opportune time.

“Apropos, my wife has banned me from having spicy food. Ergo, Uncle, I would like a bowl of Fishball Noodles, dry, with no chilli. Thank you.”

And I am sure some smartass reader who studies Latin for fun, will be writing me soon, to tell me I am using the words wrong.

Shameless plug: That is why we all need Consultants

3. That some students from a local high-end Secondary school decided to beat up another kid, and capture it on video. Because they were your typical Young Overachievers, they did it again the next day.

As they were not from some shoddy Government neighbourhood school with poor kids (eh, they got DV camera one) and hooligans who do this everyday, the Independent boys’ school asked not to be named lest their precious reputation be harmed. Let’s just refer to it as Anonymous Clever School.

The Best Is Yet To Be indeed.

“Six Sec 3 boys tape themselves beating classmate
Three are expelled and three caned after cornering boy in classroom twice and beating him up” -ST 29 May 2003

4. That the six boys who beat their classmate up were “bright kids from good families”, and athletes too, one of whom was a star rugby player. So therefore, this is even more shocking, because this sort of thing is usually done by students from other low class schools who are slow kids from bad families.

Slow kids from bad families who do this kind of thing deserve to go to Boys’ Home, get a caning and a jail sentence. Bright kids from good families actually have a future, good results and a chance to go University and contribute to the society. Some may even be kids of important people. So we just expel and cane them, can liao.

5. That maybe, the six boys decided to beat and film up their classmate again because the first time round, someone’s fist was blocking the camera and they had to reshoot. Such was their dedication to their craft.

Or maybe they needed to capture multiple angles so that they could put it together in Bullet Time, as seen in The Matrix.

6. That Pahang residents have mud and worms coming out of their taps due to faulty water treatment plants and leaking pipes. Some people suspect that this is part of a top secret project to recreate the success of Singapore’s Newater Project.

If Singapore can have Newater, so can Malaysia! Malaysia Boleh!

“Mud and worms coming out of taps

PEKAN – The water supply problem in Pahang has become a nightmare for residents in several districts, with some people complaining of mud and worms pouring out of their taps.

Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob, while disclosing this, said that the authorities had also found a snake in a water treatment plant.” -ST 31 May 2003

7. That according to my referrer logs, someone typed “ass eating” on Yahoo and my site came up as search result Number 37. I do not know if I should be proud or embarrassed.

The link sent users to my home page where I wrote “See? I haven’t just been sitting on my ass eating Chinese New Year goodies and giving out Ang Pows. I have been writing real hard, ok?”

I hope the searcher was not too disappointed.

8. That at the annual Pre-U Seminar for junior college students to have a dialogue with MPs like Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, students declined to speak to the press because of a rule printed in their programme kits that stated:

‘If at any time you are independently approached by a member of the press… give a listening ear to the request but politely decline to be interviewed.’

The official reason given for this rule was “to allow organisers to balance the need to ensure that the activities at the event and interviewees’ schedule are not unduly disrupted with the need to facilitate the media in covering the event and interviewing participants”.

Perhaps the organisers were afraid that the students may actually, gasp, express an opinion. Or worse, a negative one.

That will surely lead to the collapse of civil society as we know it.

9. That students at the Pre-U Seminar were allowed to talk to the press if they had a Press Officer present.

But if they wanted to go to the toilet, it was ok to go alone. Unless they needed help wiping their ass. Then a Press Officer may be asked to go along.

10. That in his speech to the 510 students (not counting the three girls who went to the tuckshop secretly) at the Pre-U Seminar, DPM Lee told them that “…while material success mattered, ‘it is not everything’. They had to give a helping hand to those less fortunate, lest Singapore turned into a society with deep cleavages between the rich and the underclass.”

And of course, as we now all know, thanks to Sumiko Tan, that the midriff is the new cleavage.

11. That as part of their next school project, students who attended the Pre-U Seminar will being examining the deep cleavages of society.

12. That the single biggest learning for the 510 student attendees of the Pre-U Seminar can be summed up in two words, “No Comment”.

13. That the infamous video of the six students beating up their classmates is now making its rounds via MMS. One simple beating, filmed in digital video, converted to mobile video streaming. See it at Cannes next year.

These got-money-got-brains (or not) school kids, beating up a weaker kid, also want to get A-star. So much creative intelligence used up expressing a moment of brutal stupidity.

14. That when you vote upgrading, and you are living in the PM’s ward, you kinda expect the Government to finish the job. Or at least install the toilet doors, toilet bowls, and maybe even ensure the sewage pipes are unexposed.

“Four contractors later, and still upgrading not ready
Main upgrading works have come to a halt at nine blocks in Marine Terrace and some flats are left without toilet bowls

By Leong Pik Yin

A HOUSING Board main upgrading project in Marine Terrace has had three changes of contractors since work began in December 2001, and now work has stopped.” -ST 6 June 2003

15. That according to Mah Bow Tan, “only 10 of the HDB’s 100 upgrading projects have been affected by contractors who ran into difficulties.”

That’s only 10 percent of you putting up with no toilets and exposed sewage what, you guys complain so much for what. No reason to stop voting for upgrading.

16. That hundreds of HDB applicants who applied for flats at Punggol Field and Contract 26 in the Punggol estate had to find or book alternative housing because the HDB could not complete their homes.

Oh wait, it is not the HDB’s fault. It is their contractors’ fault. The contractors’ had the audacity to go bankrupt.

“Punggol flats delayed
ABOUT 560 applicants who booked one of the new Punggol 21 flats have been forced to look for alternative housing because the construction of their homes has been delayed.” -ST 5 June 2003

17. That after being scheduled to open in December 2002, then January, April, May 2003, the NorthEast MRT has been announced to be 20th June 2003.

Singaporeans respond with a big “Whatever.”

18. That a forum poster recounted a conversation his friend’s kid had with his friend and wife.

It goes like this:

“Child : Mommy why must I study?

Mother : Study hard so next time you can be a graduate and have a nice job.

Child : Then why is Papa not working for so long?

Father and Mother : …”

Maybe the child can ask that question at the next Pre-U Seminar.

19. That according to Han Jee Kun (Mrs), Director, Curriculum Planning and Development, Ministry of Education, the gag order printed on the Pre-U student’s programme kit was not a rule, but a piece of advice.

She says, “The intention was to allow participants who were not comfortable with being interviewed the option of declining the media’s request for interviews.”

Um, let us look at the text of the “advice” again:

“If at any time you are independently approached by a member of the press…give a listening ear to the request but politely decline to be interviewed.”

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

20. That the “Do Not Speak to the Press” Rule, um, ahem, “Advice”, will be removed from future Pre-U Seminar folders.

Students will probably be advised via telephathy.

21. That Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan, once more endeared himself to Singaporeans with his deep empathy for the common man who has to put up with delayed upgrading.

He made it clear that residents who hired their own contractors to finish the upgrading will not be compensated. He also stressed that only 10 of 100 upgrading HDB projects have been affected by contractors going bust. And there were no plans to review the way in which HDB awards its upgrading contracts.

All comforting words to the guy in Marine Terrace trying to shit without his toilet door or his toilet bowl, and waking up every morning to the joyful scene of exotic insects and the stench from exposed sewage pipes.

Opposition politicians will probably have a new war cry when the next election rolls around. “You want Upgrading? Remember Marine Terrace!”

22. That a father wrote in to complain that the his son’s unit wanted donations for the Annual Army Half-Marathon donation card to be at least a certain amount.

The official reply from Mindef was that no minimum amounts were asked for, just guidelines given.

In other words,

-the CO tell the S4 he wants the men to fall in at 0800h

-the S4 tells the OC that the CO wants the men to fall in at 0700h in Smart 4 uniform

-the OC tells the PC that the CO wants the men to fall in at 0600h in Smart 4, SBO, Helmet, and Rifle

-the PC tells the Platoon Sgt the CO wants the men to fall in at 0500h in Full Battle Order

-so the Platoon Sgt tells the men to fall in at 0300h in Full Battle Order and go for 24km Forced march

“RECENTLY my son, who is in national service, handed me an Army Half-Marathon donation card and asked me to help him get donations. He told me that the total donations must be of at least a certain amount. If not, he would have to top it up with his own money.

I would have done my best to help my son but why impose a minimum amount?


“Full-time national servicemen were asked to try to meet a target of $21 each. The target is not a minimum sum that must be achieved, but rather a guide. We think that this is helpful, given that there are a number of fund-raising projects by Mindef and the SAF every year.

Director, Public Affairs
Ministry of Defence”

23. That Pte Teo will now go back to camp and enjoy the blanket party from his Platoon mates because all of them will be enjoying weekend guard duty for the next 20 years (there is no minimum number of guard duties, it is just a guide).

All because “one of you buggers go and complain your fardder mardder over a stoopid donation card”.

Next time your enemy come to your foxhole, remember to complain to your fardder marder too.

24. That Pte Teo will now get to enjoy many “coffee sessions” and heart-to heart talks with his CO about the personal problems he seems to be having with his Army Half-Marathon donation card.

25. That the SAF Commandos have been barred from participating in this year’s Best Unit Award because of improprieties in their internal processes, like record keeping and fitness scores.

The motto of the 1st Commando Battalion happens to be “For Honour and Glory”.

Lee Kin Mun (Copyright 2003)
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Other writings may be found in the Website “BrownTown” at

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