About Teachers Leaving Singapore

A pair of young couple visited me today. It was rare to have strangers paying me a visit these days. The scary thing was the man even knew the names of my cars and asked me, "Where is Goldilocks?" when he saw the new old car in my car porch. That was when I realised I was a worse liar than I thought I have been. It was supposed to be a fictional blog.

It was a good chat. There wasn't a hint that both of them are secondary school teachers initially so I was surprised when I learnt that. These days, teachers are hip man. I tried recalling if I ever had teachers like that in school. All I could remember was Mr Chan the accounts teacher - the Chinese Mr Bean. Mr Sapuan, the geography (iirc, if he was teaching anything at all) teacher - one of the public enemies, if not the no.1. Then there was the sarcastic chemistry teacher whose name I didn't bother to remember, Miss Ho the Mathematics teacher with a glare that could cast you into ice. Other than the jokers, there were cool people of course. It would be dire if the entire body was filled with clowns. The upper sec discipline master, Mr Naim was cool. I remembered when I was walking down Commonwealth MRT station to take my first GCE 'O' Levels paper, he put his arm around my shoulders and told me I would be alright. Miss Chee the English and PE teacher, strict, responsible and competent. Most Singaporeans would look at her in a completely different light as Chee Soon Juan's sister. She was one of the best teachers that ever taught me. I'm sure there are ex-classmates who will agree.

When the promising young man brought up IELTS, I had mixed feelings. Seriously, I am losing count how many teachers expressed interest to leave Singapore. On top of that, the several ex-teachers I had already met here in Perth. Primary school, secondary school, JC, ITE teachers I've met them all. I am sure there are many others hidden somewhere here and a lot more in the Eastern States. 

Despite my disdain towards teachers during my school days, I had respect for them. I still do. Teaching is one of the most underrated professions in the world. In fact, some people don't even regard teaching as a profession. You don't have to be a teacher to imagine what kind of treatment teachers get from parents in today's environment. Doctors don't get these crap from their clients. Certainly not the architects. Definitely not the lawyers. To put things in perspective, parents are not even technically clients of teachers'. Whichever school principal who runs his or her school in a business-like model and advocates treating parents as clients should simply fuck off to the corporate world. There isn't a place for imbeciles who didn't know their roles in education.

Regardless what you think about teachers, there must be at least one role model who stood out and influenced your life in a positive way. The reason why I am able to write this blog despite my less than average academic record was Miss Ong, my primary school English teacher. Without her, I would be a much lesser person. With so many educators, role models (at least some among all) leaving Singapore, it doesn't bode well for our country at all. Not at all, ladies and gentlemen. Without a core of good, committed Singaporean educators, the country will rot from within. We are already witnessing the failure of our education system for at least one generation. It produced shitty people who treat their children's teachers as their maids.


  1. Hi, so you are from QTSS, never expected that haha. I was teaching there when you were there, I know because of the teachers you mentioned. Maybe I have even taught you.
    Have been reading your blog for the longest time, enjoyed it.

  2. This is embarrassing. May I know who you are, cher?