Meritocracy – To Empower or To Ensnare?

“Singaporean earning low income = didn’t study hard, lazy, didn’t’ bother to upgrade their skills, basically doing nothing worthwhile with their lives = worthless bunch of people.. Can’t believe there are people with this mentality. Now, I am worried.” – Kevin Lee Apparently, this was a comment taken off from SDP’s proposal to peg ministerial salaries to the bottom 20th percentile of incomes. Have a look.

The first comment

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If you wish to see the full thread of comments, go to the Yahoo! article and select ‘Most Replied’.

Sadly, this is a shockingly real and accurate mindset that many Singaporeans carry today. Think about it. Growing up in Singapore, we are told that if we study hard and get good grades, we will get a good job and make a decent living for ourselves. We are fed with the message of meritocracy from the day we learn how to walk and talk. But there are three issues that meritocracy (at least in Singapore) fails to deal with.

1. Circumstances 

Face it, we are not born in similar circumstances. Some of us were born rich, others poor. Some of us in broken families, others in complete ones. While meritocracy promises that him.

While meritocracy ensures that one is not favoured because of his social standing, while it tries to provide everyone equal opportunities to shine, it fails to give everyone the same resources it needs to do so.

2. Definition of Success

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