Edusave Character Award … It’s right

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 15 Mar 2012 letter by Mr Daniel Chan.

Mr Chan applauds the education ministry for doing the right thing in giving cash to students for demonstrating exemplary values. His reason is that in real life, good workers are rewarded with salary increments, frequent buyers get discounts, law breakers are fined, people who spend more are taxed more and that children should learn all these as early as possible.

When Wall Street bankers get paid millions for concocting toxic financial products, are they being rewarded for demonstrating exemplary values? Or are they merely being rewarded for bringing profit to the company?

When buyers buy more frequently, are they demonstrating exemplary values? The shopkeeper who gives the frequent buyer discounts does so in return for more business and more profits. He is offering bait in return for fish. Recognising exemplary value is the last thing in his mind.

When consumers consume more, are they demonstrating negative values? No, consumption is one of the four pillars of GDP. It is the basis to our market economy.

When people spend more, are they necessarily demonstrating negative values? Is the MOE demonstrating negative values by spending more in the new Edusave Character Award?

Mr Chan seems to be confused between what people do for personal gains and what they do out of kindness and compassion. He can’t seem to differentiate transaction from exemplary value. Students can learn the realities of transactions early, but they should not be poisoned with the idea that mercenary transactions equate exemplary values.

Mr Chan also refers to society’s willingness to pay a premium for talent. Is that really so? Ministerial salaries have been recommended by a committee. Does the committee represent what society at large is willing to pay our ministers? If we are really so confident about the premium we have set for ourselves, just add one question to our next census: “What premium are you willing to pay for ministerial ‘talents’?”

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One Response to “Edusave Character Award … It’s right”

  1. blue ray Says:

    To be a lapdog is already despicable enough, but to be an unthinking lapdog.. that takes the cake.

    Here, Mr. Daniel Chan, have a cake….

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