SMU exchange student completely understands S’pore after half a year here

What country is this?

By Nyi Nyi Thet | February 16, 2017

Kerry Dwyer is a Business and Economics Undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, who recently came over to Singapore for an exchange trip in August 2016.

That means, she’s been roughly in Singapore for half a year.

On Feb. 7, she published her magnum opus on LinkedIn detailing her time as an exchange student at the Singapore Management University, and her critique on the Singapore system in general.

It is flawless

Straight off the bat, she hit a home run, comparing our party system to the one seen in The Hunger Games.

For anyone who has seen or read The Hunger Games, the island’s one party system does not differ hugely. With a rigorous legal system that still includes the Death Penalty, anyone who steps out of line will know all about it.

Yes, remember when you had to sacrifice yourself, so your sister wouldn’t have to enter the death contest on the floating platform.

Education in convenience

Shen then moved on to this weird hybrid of praising SMU’s facilities, then subtly placing question marks on our ability to think for ourselves.

For example:

As SMU is the youngest university in a quickly developing country, their enthusiasm for education is one that cannot go unremarked from the moment you step foot in the complex.

That’s nice.

The modern, high comfort facilities they provide highlight the importance they place on their students and on ensuring they fulfil their potential.

With personal study booths, group project rooms, learning labs, multiple lounge and ‘nap’ areas as well as a food court, cafes and access to a brand new gym, they leave you with no excuse to venture far from the library.

That’s even nicer.


Studying as enjoyment

Then, she followed up with this.

This excuse however, is not something Singaporean students look for.

Wait, what?

For many SMU students, studying is a form of enjoyment. Overnight stays in the library are not uncommon and in fact, they are considered an achievement to boast about.

Yeah, Dwyer seems to hold this super weird notion that Singapore students have somehow been programmed like robots for academic excellence.

Life planned out at four years old

And that is because, she really does think that.

This is how she described how youths function in Singapore.

From the age of 4, Singaporean students have their futures mapped out for them. Whether they are destined to be a taxi driver or a heart surgeon is somehow expected to be evident from this age with their education and career path decided as quickly as they learn to walk.

Yeah, she was really going for that young adult dystopian novel narrative.

And what’s the difference between a local student who has only studied in Singapore, compared to one who has studied overseas?

The main differentiator between a typical SMU student and one who has been on exchange is that they don’t fall into the tunnel vision of the Singapore education system.

And, in a culmination of her rather strange worldview that Singaporeans are some study-bots who talk to each other in mathematical equations, she came up with this little gem.

This can be seen in the demand for European people to work in places like Singapore and Hong Kong, where our social skills are needed in order to compliment and enhance the intellectual abilities of the natives.


Now it is important to note that Dwyer did praise certain aspects of Singapore, and some of her criticism’s about the rapid pace of education in Singapore are indeed spot-on.

But, maybe stay in Singapore another month, before you write an essay on what Singapore really is like.

You can read her original post here and the spirited rebuttal by a SMU alumnus.


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About Nyi Nyi Thet

Thet has a chronic fear of teenage girls laughing at him. He sometimes puts on a cap in his room and yells “Gryffindor”.

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