S'poreans react strongly to RGS spokesman's statement on "ordinary Singaporeans"

Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.

Nyi Nyi Thet | October 24, 2019, 11:16 AM

The Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) has moved.

One of the oldest secondary schools in Singapore is moving to 2 Braddell Rise, in the Bishan/Braddell vicinity.

The move is seven years and S$90 million in the making. It was co-funded by the school and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

There are of course many reasons for the move, including being situated across Raffles Institution, leading to more collaboration between the schools.

One comment by a RGS spokesman however raised some eyebrows, here is the quote from The New Paper:

"Moving away from the luxurious condominiums in Orchard Road will allow our girls to reach out more to the ordinary Singaporean,"

Some felt the phrase came across as just a tad condescending.


Move to Orchard

But I beg to differ with those uncomfortable with the spokesman's comments.

As someone who has firmly been entrenched in heartland schools for all of my schooling days, I completely agree with the sentiment.

How else would those from schools in more well-to-do areas be expected to interact or bond with these odd little common Singaporean unless they reside within the same dwellings.

Empathy? Haha good one.

Just a suggestion though, perhaps the same courtesy could be extended to those from heartland schools such as myself.

Singapore has a lot of rich/ non-ordinary Singaporeans, how can those that school within the heartlands be expected to connect with the rich?

Through a shared thread of humanity stemming from our common desire to see those around us do well?

Haha good one. What are you, a child?

I cannot tell you how many fancy shindigs I have inadvertently ruined thanks to my inability to reach out to non-ordinary Singaporeans.

A well-meaning waiter will approach me with some hors d’œuvre, only for me to fly into a rage, demanding that he never insult my mother like this again.

It takes a good five to seven minutes for other guests to calm me down and explain that "no, he was asking whether you wanted a Canapé".

Egg on my face.

I will then sheepishly apologise to the bloodied waiter in folksy dialect, while wiping off some of the food that had gotten on my singlet and shorts, before digging out long strands of earwax with a longer-than-usual fingernail on my pinky to ensure no such misunderstanding arises for the rest of the evening.

Damn these heartland roots.

Maybe all these slight snafus could be avoided if I had only gone to a school smack-dab in the middle of Orchard.

Or maybe, just maybe, understand that no Singaporean, common or otherwise, enjoys being portrayed as props in shaping the life experiences of others, and perhaps be a bit more careful with how you describe an entire swathe of people?

Haha good one.

Image from RGS


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