Sunday, November 09, 2003

I have regained control of my life

Citylights Chicago 2003 is over, and while it was not particularly what i would call a resounding success, i certainly think that it went reasonably well. having been totally caught up in the details and minutiae of organising the event, i hadn't spared a thought as to what would happen on the day itself. IE what the speakers would talk about, and so forth - we were more concerned with things like who would pick up the Ambassador, and who would be assigned to entertain which speaker and where would we get alcohol and could we serve it and a myriad of other things.

too tired to put together a long post, but certain things from panel discussion stick out in my mind:

(1) Ambassador Chan Heng Chee urging our generation of Singaporeans to speak out, be brave, to feel like we can be a part of and make a difference to our nation. she spoke to us of that feeling of patriotism that doesn't come from waving a flag and singing Majulah, but from giving a damn about the future of our country, for us and for our children and our children's children.

(2) Richard Lai telling us that censorship is sometimes entirely self-imposed, and suggesting that we are heading in the right direction, that things we could never have imagined saying ten years ago are possible now. telling us to keep trying, and not to expect everything must go our way; just because we have something to say that's different from the next guy doesn't mean we must expect the next guy to agree immediately.

(3) varied comments on the philosophy of education and censorship; freedom of speech; and what a Singaporean identity consists of

which reminds me of what jon and the rest of the Family were discussing a while back on the need for an evolving education system. i think this helped crystalise what i think is wrong with it: while perhaps i can concede that we don't need/can't afford radical change now in terms of execution, i think we need a fundamental rethink of our philosophy of education. it's entirely possible to teach the same kids the same subjects in a totally new manner: it can still be physics chem bio math, but in a less -memorise the formula and pass the exam- sort of manner, and in a more -learn from first principles and understand what is going on manner-. i don't think we can afford to throw structure and content out the window, but i think we do need to revamp our attitudes toward traditional methods of instruction.

that's all that's coherent that's gonna come out of this brain tonight. more tomorrow, perhaps.


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