The Sunday roundup

Actually published on Monday because I slept through a great deal of Sunday.
1. In case you somehow missed it, Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew died at 91. Some of the best pieces from BBC (and another from BBC), The Economist, personal reflections, and others.
2. Who is an expat and who is an immigrant (and who is a guest worker and who is an intruder)? Two commentaries on this from the Guardian and the WSJ. (Both are somewhat context-driven. Neither one fully captures the intricacies of how race, skin colour, and socioeconomic class interact. After centuries of colonialism the world is still coming out from under that long shadow.)
3. Also from the WSJ, for expat marriages, breaking up is harder to do. Note: The WSJ is the paper that once thought a middle-class family income was $650,000, so you ought not to be surprised when they entirely fail to consider what impact financial strain can have on the marriages of the transnational poor.

4. An important reminder on learning and teaching for competence, not grades, from Duke-NUS professor Ranga Krishnan who trains some of the country’s doctors-to-be. Grades, as a snapshot of a student’s learning curved against his peers’ at any single point in time, are a poor proxy for lifetime competence.

Sunday roundup

1. This was one of the best things I read last year: on immigration, class, finances and fighting for a better homeland. Ivy Lau, ‘My Father’s Hong Kong’

Unlike Baba, this year on October 1st, I didn’t watch the National Day celebration or sing “March of the Volunteers,” the Chinese national anthem. Instead, I joined in singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” as I watched the Umbrella Movement unfold on my computer screen. Just as the students sang the song to awaken a revolution in the musical Les Miserables, Hong Kong protestors bellowed the adapted Cantonese version as the anthem for their own movement. My job currently keeps me in the States, but sometimes I wish I could join the protestors myself, to be with them as they brave tear gas and sort recycled trash all night long, because I, too, cherish the hope of a different future that Hong Kong once held for my baba.

Fighting the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China for genuine democracy, the rule of law, and civil liberties might feel like a losing battle, much like fighting the demons of past regrets and the deterioration of your body. But Hong Kongers will do what they do best: keep calm, and keep on keeping on.

2. An interview with journalist Stephan Faris, the author of Homelands (the entire Kindle Single essay on open immigration is very much worth buying – I purchased it through my subscription to Deca.)

3. Closer to home, new-this-Parliament Nominated MP Kuik Shiao Yin stands up for single mothers and different ways of learning. I like her already:

“…The children of single mothers are Singapore’s children too and if we are a nation already struggling to replace ourselves, should we not welcome any new young life that has been given unto Singapore with equal honour? Shouldn’t all Singaporean children be automatically included in the State’s blessing?”

4. A very good piece from Immoveable Type on the private-tutoring arms race and the shadow education system. Which reminds me of my piece last year on the Gifted Education Programme hooha and the real underlying problems there.

5. And speaking of shadow education, a quick event announcement for folks based in Singapore:

Thursday, 19 Mar, 2015 12:15pm – 01:00pm – LKY School of Public Policy Lunchtime Talk – Bringing Shadow Education into the Light – The Growth of Private Supplementary Education and its Policy Implications

Speaker: Dr. Louise Elffers, Researcher, University of Maastricht, School of Business and Economics. Shadow education, or supplementary education provided by the private sector, is a growing phenomenon worldwide. Th­e most institutionalized systems of shadow education can be found in Asia. In South-Korea about 80% of primary and secondary school students attend private tutoring classes, with estimated yearly household expenditures nearing or exceeding public expenditure on education. In Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, similar proportions of students engage in shadow education.

Venue: Seminar Room 3-5, Manasseh Meyer Building, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 469E Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259774
Cost: Admission is free. This is a brown bag session and you are most welcome to bring your own packed lunch.
RSVP: lkyschoolevents@nus,edu,sg or https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/lunchtime-talk-on-bringing-shadow-education-into-the-light-the-growth-of-private-supplementary-tickets-15792702398
Contact: lkyschoolevents@nus.edu.sg
In Singapore, parents, MPs, and educational experts have raised concerns about Singapore’s status of ‘tuition nation’. As students’ school careers increasingly rely on education provided outside the public system, the growth of shadow education has been called a ‘hidden’ privatization of the public education system, challenging equality of educational opportunity and the human right of free education for all. In this seminar, we explore the causes and consequences of a growing shadow education system and its potential policy implications. Looking at a variety of policy interventions from various countries, we discuss how governments may address the growth of shadow education. We will look into interventions that aim to capitalize on the potential benefits of shadow education, as well as interventions focused on minimizing its negative effects on students, schools and society.

I can’t be there – please go and ask questions for me!