This is how it goes:
Infant Care to N2 to N1 to K2 to K1 to Primary School to Secondary School to Junior College/ Polytechnic to University to Work.
Your dad didn’t went through The Route, he was off the beaten path. Way off.
He left school when he was in Secondary 2, a Fourteen year old boy who wanted to have his own smart-ass idea to take up a language course (日本語 seems like a good idea then.) and then become a tour guide and travel the world. The reality of course, is way off course. Your dad end up starting work as a retail sales guy (more like a boy at 15 years of age!) at Changi Airport.
I only started taking a Diploma course around 1997, after I finished my National Service. It was a part-time course in Marketing, and then from there, with your mum’s encouragement and support, I went on to take a Bachelor’s degree, and finally got is around 2009. It was also a part-time degree course from the Open University. I had to work and study at the same time.
Your mum, had it a little better off, she got her Accounting diploma with her parents’ support, full time course. And then she took a part-time degree.
Long story short, both your mum and I worked while we get our education. The Route, however, is a straight academic one, you probably do a couple of holiday jobs, internship, which is great, but that is it.
You boys might end up with The Route. That’s fine.
Even if you don’t, that is fine as well.
Your parents are not suckers for grades (Well, your mum does, a little more than your dad)
As long as you tried your best, as long as you aspire to meet the targets you set for yourself. As long as you boys grow up as decent young gentlemen, that is fine with me. Because this is your life, your education, your life’s work.
So make your education your work, don’t just go through The Route like it is The Route, have some fun, make some mistakes, work for some money, real, full time work. A lot of young folks went through The Route, like going through motion. There is little or no thinking, perhaps other than choosing JC vs Polytechnic. NUS vs NTU vs SMU vs SIT vs SUTD vs Private vs Overseas. That’s the easy part.
The thinking which is so dire and so missing is, what to do after that.
As your parents, we do not want to push the both of your through The Route. Even if it is going to happen that way, we want you both to make good, sound, sensible choices.
Don’t know is a good place to start
Even if you are not sure of your destiny, not sure what you can do after your degree. We are here to help. We will guide you to where you will find your answers, but we will not give you the answers. Heck, we might even throw in a few more questions.
The ‘don’t know’ is a natural thing. We didn’t know as much when we were younger. Problem is, more often then not, youngsters starts with a ‘don’t know’ and pretty much went through their lives ‘don’t know’ much as well, and what is worse is they end up with a ‘don’t know’ at the end of their journey. It is a sad life to live.
So go The Route, the education system in Singapore is world-class. But use the system, not let the system use you. It was never meant to be that way. Singapore’s education system gives all the young folks many, many alternatives. Even if you can take The Route, you don’t necessarily have to. You don’t have to be sheep, when you can become something greater.
So go for the value you are going to get out of an education, not forgetting that formal, academic education is great, but that is not the means to justify the end.