Only 47 percent of Scholars stay in HDB


While the Stratis Times chose the headline “Nearly half of PSC awards to heartlanders” (ST, July 26, 2008), I prefer to highlight the still rather big and obvious gap when you compare the proportion of heartlander scholarship holders (47.0%) to the proportion of the general heartlander population (77.8%).

As mentioned in a previous post, 77.8% of all residential dwelling units are HDB flats, while 14.3% are condominiums and private flats, and the remaining 6.2% are private houses, according to Singapore 2007, Statistical Highlights (link).

47.0% is a far cry from 77.8%. We all can tell.

With that in mind, let’s see what Straits Times said:

“(Public Service) Commission says its figures show no discrimination based on family background…”

While I do not dispute the claim that PSC shows no discrimination, we can’t simply imply that from the figures. The numbers do not prove or disprove the existence of discrimination.

The gap between 47.0% and 77.8% is too big!

That said, let’s see what A*Star’s ex-chief Philip Yeo said, paraphrased by ST:

“… if two applicants have equally exceptional grades, (Philip Yeo) would award a scholarship to the one from a humbler household…”

Compare that with what PSC said:

“If they are equally deserving and both meet the PSC’s high standards, PSC will offer an award to both applicants.”

Assuming rich kids do better, do you prefer Philip Yeo’s style or PSC’s?


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  1. The kids may have rich parents. But why deny them of a chance to prove themselves if they show that they are capable of performing even without parental support. Scholarship is not bursary.

  2. The figures tell me that 53% of the the people (approx 20% of the total population)staying in private housing are more capable.

    Clearly, the poor given equal opportunity is a myth.
    I am not denying the rich for proving themselves that they are capable to perform without parental support. BUT they are what they are partly due to parent giving them “support” when they are in their younger days, giving them an edge. (they can afford tuition teacher,etc)

    However , there are poor people making it there , but their effort is far more than the rich. I am impressed with such people, and it call for my respect.

    Funny enough , there will be people refusing the see the facts , cold hard facts.

    Anyway this is how the world works , and precisely the reason why all strive to make it …. cos the rich and elite will have BETTER OPPORTUNITY which the poor will only dream about it …

  3. True… the children of the rich (or influential) are likely to have an easier time getting into mgmt position as network is critical. You don’t have to be outstanding to land a mgmt position, you just have to be average. For those without network, you have to be outstanding to get noticed and being average gets you nowhere.

    It is an unspoken culture but we all know that is happening everywhere in the world.

  4. Very true. Also one big advantage that I notice: the children of rich people are very comfortable with other rich, successful people. They can effortlessly connect, they right away recognize one another as being the same.

    Not so with the middle class kids. Years of upbringing seeing one’s parents behaving towards their superiors, bosses, etc., it takes real, conscious effort to train oneself to become comfortable with them.

  5. to all prior postings, you have all spoke my mind. I’d like to extend the same argument to broader sense in a capitalist society. The theory applies to health, education, social stability. Rich are not necessarily do well in all aspects of life, but, the have far better opportunity to do so. In my opinion, there’s however, a value where the rich and not-so-rich can cultivate better – FAMILY VALUES.

    I feel family values is the underlying mechanism towards achieving all others. One doesn’t have to be rich, or have plenty of spare times, or have an affordably a non-working parent to cultivate family values. This is almost an equal opportunity across families from all social status. The poor can have a good family values, while, the rich can have a poor family values. Cultivating family value is almost free, but, it comes with price of PRIDE and DETERMINATION which are also free.

    So, of course, for the sake of better future generations – we, who live in the current society shapes the future society. Take social status aside, focus on family value and upbringging is the key for better future.

    Don’t worry about whether scholarship goes to those living in HDB or bangalow.

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