The hypocrisy of the government: “Tell us your O-Level results!”

Forget what the government has been telling you. Your grades, all the way from you O-Level grades, matter. Especially to the government.

A friend of mine has been a debating coach for a while. He recently went to renew his registration with MOE as an instructor (people who want to coach school teams and students or run courses for students in MOE schools need to be on a register of instructors or something like that). MOE asked for his results. All the way from his O-Levels.

Never mind that my friend has consistently produced excellent results in his coaching career. Never mind that my friend graduated from Harvard. Never mind that my friend was a PSC scholar before he left to pursue his passion for coaching debaters. MOE still needed to know his O-Level results.


Who the hell knows?

Maybe someone in MOE didn’t get the memo… you know… the one that says that grades shouldn’t matter that much? Or as DPM Tharman put it very eloquently in his Budget 2015 speech: “We must become a meritocracy of skills, not a hierarchy of grades earned early in life.” Yet… MOE is asking someone who has clearly demonstrated his skill in being a debate coach for his O-level results. How hypocritical!

Ok. Maybe not hypocritical. Perhaps schizophrenic? One part of Government say one thing, then another part goes and do something else? Definitely signs of a splintered personality. Not consistent at all.

Ok ok… Maybe, just maybe, because debate is kind of academic, cerebral and intellectual… So MOE needs some objective way to ascertain that the applicant has the mental faculty, the intellectual skills to qualify for the job. But apparently, even if you tried to register to be a Judo coach, you would also need to provide your O-level results. Say what now?

“Aiyah. No la. It’s not that O-level results are important. Just submit la. No one will really look at it one la. You know… they’re just going by the books. You know… law by law…”

And that is a major problem. Civil servants applying stupid, pointless rules unthinkingly and unquestioningly. There may have been a time when there were good reasons to ask someone to show their O-level results in order to become a registered coach with MOE. That doesn’t mean that those reasons are still valid now. In fact, I would argue that the existence of such a requirement makes the government look really stupid, hypocritical and schizophrenic.

So why hasn’t anyone asked “Why the f**k are we doing this?” Especially since it’s such a simple issue to resolve. Stop doing it. Amend the form. Make life easier for the people applying. Save time for people processing the application. Send the right signal to the public that grades earned early in life don’t define you as a person. Everyone wins. Huge benefit. Very little (if any) cost.

So. Which is it? Our government is hypocritical (it doesn’t believe in what it says)? Or our government is schizophrenic (a part of it believes in one thing another believes in the opposite)? Or our government is mired in so much bureaucratic bullshit that it can’t dig its way out of?

Come on, civil servants. THINK! QUESTION! ASK “WHY”! I hope our government gets its shit together.


3 thoughts on “The hypocrisy of the government: “Tell us your O-Level results!”

  1. I don’t get this post. Has requesting his O’level results resulted in any bias in MOE’s handling of his case? Are his results released to the public? Other than spending 1 minute more to complete the registration, what impact does this have? If anything, I’d think this serves as additional identity verification.


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