Pritam Singh is proof you don’t need an ‘elite’ education

Pritam Singh is proof you don’t need an ‘elite’ education

Bonus harian di Keluaran SGP 2020 – 2021.

Singapore — A ‘hot mic’ moment made the news last week when PSP NCMP Leong Mun Wai, an alumnus of Raffles Institution, was called illiterate in a whispered comment among PAP MPs.

After the comment was made public, education and, more importantly, where one got one’s education again took centre stage in many conversations.

In Singapore, as in many Asian countries, going to an “elite” preparatory school is something many aspire to.

In a video that went viral earlier this year, a woman named Beow Tan became infamous for belittling strangers on a train for boasting to onlookers that she was from the elite Hwa Chong Institution.

And in the wake of the Parliamentary ‘hot mic’ moment, lists of who graduated from Raffles Institution (Lee Kuan Yew, Tan Cheng Bock, Chan Chun Sing, Jamus Lim) and Anglo-Chinese School (Goh Keng Swee, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Chee Soon Juan). National Development Minister Desmond Lee even received special mention, as he studied in both RI and ACS.

And yet, one name that will not be found among the alumni of such distinguished institutions is Pritam Singh.

The secretary-general of the Workers’ Party and Singapore’s first formally designated Leader of the Opposition, Mr Singh, 46, went against the grain and is proof that going to the “right” school simply isn’t everything.

This is not to say that Mr Singh was not an achiever in attaining his education, but the LO was more of a late bloomer, it seems, having earned accolades from his university days and onward.

His WP biography reads that he “won the Straits Steamship Prize, awarded to the top graduating student reading both History and Political Science, as an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore in 1999.”

Additionally, he has a Juris Doctor (cum laude) degree from the Singapore Management University and was a Chevening Scholar in 2003.

Previous to this, he attended Woodsville Primary School, Belvedere Primary School, Saint Thomas Secondary School, and Jurong Junior College.

At a commencement speech at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2018, he admitted to not having done his best in his younger days

“I fumbled badly at the Primary School Leaving Examination, entering the Normal stream in secondary school, and really bumbled my way into junior college and university,” he said.

He also acknowledged to the graduates that “throughout the course of my educational journey before NUS,” he felt “I should have studied harder.”

Mr Singh added that one of the things he has learned is that “a degree is only as good as your work ethic, attitude and diligence.”

In the same year Ms Lorene Nalpon, who had taught Mr Singh at St. Thomas Secondary School wrote in a Facebook post, ”Who would have thought that one of my quiet shy boys from Sec 1 Normal (5) of Saint Thomas would turn out to be a wonderfully eloquent and enigmatic leader of the opposition of Singapore’s political arena.

All the more, I think being in [a] non-elitist school prepares an individual to understand and appreciate all that we have in Singapore and how to truly move society forward.” 


Read also: Did Vivian Balakrishnan forget Lee Kuan Yew also came from RI? Netizens demand apology to RI students and alumni

Did Vivian Balakrishnan forget Lee Kuan Yew also came from RI? Netizens demand apology to RI students and alumni

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