PAP Government and Scholars


This post is presented in 6 sections:

INTRO: Excerpts on Singapore scholarships
PART 1: Ministers’ Children and/or Government Relatives (Scholars)
PART 2: Scholar Scandals
PART 3: Foreign-Born Scholars in Government or Civil Service
PART 4: Reader Tip on Foreign-Born Scholars
PART 5: Additional Info



1) “Singapore’s science and technology agency A*Star [draws] on taxpayers’ money to offer scholarships. . .”

Source: WSJ

2) A government economic review panel recommended a target of 150,000 foreign-born students by 2012 — more than double the 2005 figure of 66,000.

Source: Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrant Population (2012)

3) The typical profile of our scholars has changed. The vast majority of scholars come from very wealthy family backgrounds. . .for the rich, the prestigious scholarship is more like a trophy.”

Source: Mr Wang

4) In 2008, the PSC revealed that 47% of the PSC scholarship recipients that year lived in HDB flats, and 53% lived in private housing. This is an over representation of private housing as up to 85% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.

Source: NCMP Yee Jenn Jong

barr cover

5) In Barr and Skrbis’ book Constructing Singapore, they systemically outline the elite selection and formation process in Singapore. As Singaporeans move up the education system into secondary schools and junior colleges, the ‘scholars’ are continuously sorted from the ‘commoners’ and the would-be future elite are herded together into a small number of elite institutions. The best are offered the coveted Public Service Commission Scholarships, Singapore Armed Forces Scholarships and those at the top of the pyramid of public service would then be absorbed into the elite Administrative Service and made mandarins.

Ho Khai Leong [concedes] that the pervasive extent of state socialization has nurtured a cookie-cutter generation of leaders with relatively similar political outlook cut out from the same mould.

Source: Examining Meritocracy & Elitism in Singapore (Soh Yi Da; 2013)

6) Concerns have been raised among parliamentarians and members of the public that foreign students may be depriving Singaporeans of university places, and that taxpayers have to subsidize their fees.

Source: Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges (2004)

7) “EACH YEAR ABOUT $360 MILLION IS SPENT ON FOREIGN STUDENTS. . .the PSC spends about $400,000 to send each scholarship recipient overseas.”

Source: Act for Singapore + AsiaOne

8) This is absurd. Government scholarships are funded by taxpayers’ money and should be channeled where it is needed most.

Source: Hsien-Hui Tong (2014)

9) These “foreign talent” students [are] “hand-picked” by the officials of Singapore’s Ministry of Education after being put through written tests and interviews.

Source: Privilege, Prejudice, Predicament: “PRC Scholars” in Singapore (Yang P., 2014)


Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean pinning the rank epaulette on his son Eng Siang’s uniform. Source: ST

10) Surely, as top-dollar ministers, these fathers should be going to their colleagues to say:

“Hey! Thank you for thinking so highly of my son. But I cannot accept this. Could we give it back so that we can give it to another candidate whose parents cannot afford to pay?”

An officer and gentleman would, in my view, say that.

Source: A Singaporean Says (re: ministers’ children getting government scholarships)

11) The PSC is vested with the disciplinary control of civil servants.

In 2012, 71 new disciplinary cases were reported to the PSC. Together with the 46 cases that were brought forward from the previous years, the PSC processed a total of 117 cases in the year.

The three main types of misconduct for cases completed in 2012 under the Regulations were Immoral Behaviour, Indebtedness and Theft/Robbery.

Source: PSC Annual Report (2012)

+ + +


1. LEE HSIEN LOONG + Family Members = Scholars

Lee Hsien Loong was awarded the president’s scholarship in 1970 and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAFOS) scholarship in 1971. His brother Lee Hsien Yang, and his sister Lee Wei Ling were also President’s Scholars. His son, Li Hongyi, is a PSC Scholar.

His father, Lee Kuan Yew, was awarded an Anderson Scholarship to Raffles College, while his mother, Kwa Geok Choo, was a Queen’s Scholar. His wife, Ho Ching, was a President’s Scholar.

2. MAH BOW TAN + Son = Scholars

Mah Bow Tan was a former Colombo Plan Scholar and President’s Scholar.

According to John Harding’s website, Mah Bow Tan is the father of Warren Mah (who received an MAS scholarship to study overseas; funded by Singapore taxpayers).

A concerned netizen says:

Over his 19 years as Cabinet Minister, Singaporeans (and NOT the PAP) have paid $2m Minister Mah Bow Tan an estimated handsomely-humongous S$33 million in total salary/bonuses.

Despite above, he did not send his son Warren Mah to university on “Father’s Scholarship” (i.e. out of his own pocket) but managed to land him a Govt Scholarship (from Monetary Authority of Singapore) to study at the prestigious University of Pennslyvania in USA. The MAS scholarship is worth some S$300,000 — which again, by PAP standards, is merely “half a peanut.”

3. TONY TAN + Son = Scholars

Tony Tan was a recipient of the Singapore Government State Scholarship in 1959. Tony Tan has 3 sons: Patrick, Philip, and Peter.

Patrick Tan Boon Ooi is an Associate Director at A*Star’s Genome Institute. He was a recipient of the president’s scholarship and the Loke Cheng Kim scholarship in 1987. The Loke Cheng Kim scholarship is an overseas bond-free scholarship offered by a non-profit organisation.

4. TEO CHEE HEAN + Son = Scholars


Teo Chee Hean is the father of Teo Eng Siang. Teo Eng Siang received a PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship in 2005 to study International Relations and Philosophy at Brown University (scholarship funded by Singapore taxpayers). Brown University’s tuition fee for 2015-2016 is US$48,272 per annum.

A netizen says:

Shameless Teo Chee Hean. He is a million dollar minister and his son gets a free scholarship fully paid for by Singaporeans. This is disgusting.”
— Alex Tan, 2012

5. PHILIP YEO + Son = Scholars

Gene Yeo is the son of former A*Star’s Chairman Philip Yeo. Philip Yeo was the sole recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in 1974.

Funded by the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Graduate Fellowship from Singapore, Gene Yeo earned a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 2007, A*Star wanted to sue a graduate student blogger for implying that the agency was corrupt.

The 25 year-old blogger alleged that A*Star “bribed universities to enrol its scholars, paid professors to accept scholars into their labs and suggested that its scholars enrol in universities with which it had ‘connections’ rather than the more expensive, top-notch ones.”

Source: Straits Times

6. DR. ALINE WONG’s Son = Scholar

Prof. Wong Tien Yin, a former President’s Scholar, is the son of former senior minister of state, Dr. Aline Wong.

7. GRACE FU’s Son = Scholar

Minister Grace Fu Hai Yien is the mother of Marcus Lee Jian Ying, an SAF Overseas Scholar.

8. BROTHERS of NG CHEE MENG = President’s Scholars


Ng Brothers | Image by Roy Ngerng

Ng Chee Meng, former Chief of Defence Force and PAP Candidate (2015), has two brothers: Ng Chee Peng (former Chief of Navy) and Ng Chee Khern (former Chief of Army). Ng Chee Peng and Ng Chee Khern were President’s Scholars.

9. TAY ENG SOON’s Daughter = Scholar

Late senior minister of state for education Tay Eng Soon is the father of Lucy Tay. Lucy Tay is a President’s Scholar. A 2007 article mentioned she was with MOE’s personnel department where she helped recruit teachers.

10. BROTHERS Teo Shiyi + Teo Tse Hsiang = President’s Scholars

Teo Shiyi was one of the four President’s Scholars in 2002. His elder brother Tse Hsiang was awarded the prestigious award in 1998. His mother, Teo Po Chu, was a director with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

11. KO KHENG HWA + Daughter = President’s Scholars

Ko Kheng Hwa is a former President’s Scholar and former Director at Singapore Economic Development Board. His daughter, Stephanie Ko Qian Wen, received the president’s scholarship in 2007.

The Public Service Commission, which awards the scholarship, said Stephanie — from Hwa Chong Institution — is the first recipient to have a President’s Scholar as a parent.

13. SERGIUS WAT ZHIWEN + Brother = Scholars

Sergius Wat is a President’s Scholar and Singapore Police Force scholar. His older brother is a Singapore Armed Forces scholar.

12. SIM ANN + SIBLINGS = Scholars


Article on Sim Ann’s “brainy” scholar family. Source: ST, 22 July 1998

According to a forum post, Sim Ann’s sister, Sim Min, was awarded a Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship, while her brother Sim Kai was a President’s Scholar.

The above image from ST and Hwa Chong Institution’s President’s Scholars page lists Sim Ann and Sim Kai as recipients.

PM Lee Hsien Loong has known Sim Ann’s mother for 30 years.

A forum post has some details on Sim Ann’s grandfather being executed in the People’s Republic of China for treason. Will update this section if there’s more info on this in future.

The archive is still available in the China national archive.

Now Sim Ann, his granddaughter, is selling out Singaporeans — it should not be a surprise as it seems treason runs in their family blood line.

Sim Ann’s sister is Sim Min, 34, who was awarded a Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship. Her brother Sim Kai, 31, is also a President’s Scholar.

Daughter of executed Prisoner PRC ID number (XD4429372J) – Choo Lian Liang
Father – Sim Hock Kee

This is a family of nation betrayers.

Source: Helium

Former Minister of State for Education, Sim Ann, has avoided national issues, the problem of foreign scholarships, and the low intake of local graduates in Singapore universities.

14. WALTER WOON’s Twin Sons = Scholars


Walter Woon and sons. Source: NUS

Alexander Joseph Woon Wei-Ming, the younger twin by 10 minutes, is a President’s Scholar. His fraternal twin brother Adrian Gerard Woon Wei-Xin is a PSC scholar. Their father is former Attorney-General Walter Woon, and their mother, Mrs Janis Woon, is a deputy registrar with the Family Court.

15. HENG SWEE KEAT + Wife = Scholars

Heng Swee Keat was a Singapore Police Force overseas scholar. His wife, Chang Hwee Nee, was a President’s Scholar. Chang is Deputy Secretary (Planning) at the Ministry of National Development.

16. DESMOND CHOO = Scholar

Desmond Choo, PAP Candidate for Tampines GRC (2015), was awarded the SPF Overseas Merit Scholarship in 1997 to study Economics at the University of Chicago.

His uncle is Choo Wee Khaing, a former MP who was charged with 3 counts of corruption in 2011.

17. YONG PUNG HOW’s Daughter = Scholar


Newly installed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) takes his oath of office before Chief Justice Yong Pung How (R) and witnessed by Singaporean President S.R Nathan (C) at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore, 12 August 2004. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN

Yong Ying-I is the daughter of former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, a close friend of LKY.

Yong Ying-I was an Overseas Merit Scholar.

18. LEE YOCK SUAN + Son = Scholars

Lee Yock Suan served in the PAP Cabinet from 1987 to 2004, and was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1980 to 2006. He was a President’s Scholar.

His son, Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, was elected to Parliament in 2011 as a PAP MP for the Jurong Group Representation Constituency and was made a Minister of State in 2013. Desmond was a Legal Service Commission Scholarship recipient.

+ + +



Former Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar Jonathan Wong Wai Keong was sentenced to five years’ jail in 2012.

Wong was convicted for possession of child pornography in Britain in 2010.

Despite being caught in England for possessing child pornography, local media reported that Jonathan Wong taught in a secondary school after he returned to Singapore.


Former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay was charged in 2012 with four counts of sex-related corruption.


Cecilia Sue and Ng Boon Gay, 2013.

Ng was accused of corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from a female IT executive, Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, by assisting to further the business interests of her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems in dealings with CNB.

Ng recounted that there were at least 20-30 times he and Cecelia Sue were sexually intimate during their three-year relationship.

Ng was a PSC scholarship and Singapore Police Force Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.

A netizen comments:

The most worrying part to me [with Ng Boon Gay being acquitted in 2014] is that Shanmugam is setting a precedent now, by saying that even though there is plainly a conflict of interest, there is no corruption. 

Source: Sam’s Alfresco



Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee.

Alvin Tan was an Asean scholar and had been on “leave of absence” from his classes for almost a year when he started uploading pornographic pictures and videos of himself and his girlfriend Vivian Lee on a blog titled “Sumptuous Erotica.”

An estimate shows that it may have cost the Singapore go­­­vernment — the benefactor of the Asean scholarship programme — at least RM275,000 (S$110,000) to fund all of Tan’s seven years of study in the city state.

The highly prestigious scholarship is awarded to only 170 undergraduates from nine Asean countries annually. It covers tuition fees, accommodation and also provides an allowance for the recipients.

Source: AsiaOne


Teacher and former grassroots leader Chua Ren Cheng was a Head of Department in charge of selecting MOE scholars at the Ministry of Education. He is a former MOE scholar.


Chua Ren Cheng leaving the court, 2012. Source: AsiaOne

In 2012, he “confessed he was a sinner” and was charged for having commercial sex with an underage prostitute.



“Get out of my elite uncaring face.” — Wee Shu Min, 2006

Wee Shu Min, a daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim, is notorious for deriding a Singaporean blogger for his views on the anxieties of Singapore workers. Miss Wee was on RJC’s Humanities Scholarship Programme.

In dismissing the blogger’s views in 2006, she wrote:

“Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?

“There’s no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, ‘far too survival of the fittest. . .’ If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable.”

[She concluded by telling the blogger] to “get out of my elite uncaring face.”


Eng Kai Er is an A*Star scientist who took up two scholarships.

She was fined $2,000 for walking naked through Holland Village with Swedish exchange student Jan Philip.

In 2014, she criticised her scholarship’s bond in a blog post and set up a “No Star Arts Grant” in protest, pledging to give $1,000 a month from her salary to support arts projects for a year.


Ouyang Xiangyu is originally from China. She was expected to complete her A*Star National Science Scholarship PhD studies by 2018 and return to Singapore to complete her bond.


Ouyang Xiangyu, who was listed as a scholar studying at California’s Stanford University. Image: Examiner

In 2015, she was arrested and charged with poisoning her research classmates at Stanford University with a potent chemical that causes burning sensations in the mouth and throat.


In 2014, former Straits Times journalist and SPH scholar Eisen Teo was sentenced to 1.5 years in jail for two charges of having sex and oral sex with an underage girl.

According to the Statement of Facts, presented in court by Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong, Teo first took special interest in the teenage girl when he learned from reading her blog that she was “clinically depressed, suffering from insomnia and was being bullied in school.”

Comments by netizens:

1) Why did the judge give [Eisen Teo] such a light sentence?? He is a scholar, shame on him to prey on young girls. He planned his move, told lies, to take advantage of her. A scholar with low morals and integrity. Hope the girl is on the road to recovery. I hope his wife divorces him. Fancy his wife baking in the kitchen and he is so bold to have sex with another girl in the room.
(– Mavis Teo)

2) Most scholars produced in the Singapore system are like this: narcissistic and incapable of human understanding.
(– nimal)

Source: Yahoo


Ong Teck Chin is a Rhodes scholar and former ACS(I) principal. He resigned after an investigating panel stated he had “behaved inappropriately towards a male teacher.”

ACS’s stated aim is to have every student be ‘A Scholar, an Officer and a Gentleman.’

Apparently a biology teacher in his 30’s contacted The Straits Times and alleged the principal had “behaved inappropriately” towards him. 

Ong had reduced his teaching duties and created a new position as his de facto personal aide, jetting off together on overseas trips to recruit foreign scholars. Yes, the foreigners competing with your ward for a place in the school are proactively sought and groomed by the principal. With the blessings of MOE. Paid out of your income taxes.

Source: Singapore Desk


Lim Hwee Hua, a PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship holder, was Singapore’s first female Minister and Second Minister for Finance and Transport in 2009.

Before she was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister, Lim was Temasek Holdings’ managing director of strategic relations. She quit politics in 2011.

From John Harding’s website [John Harding was the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Singapore’s Inland Revenue Department (IRAS)]:


Lim Hwee Hwa: Former Minister and current director at Tembusu Partners.

Here is the BIG CONNECTION with the Singapore Government that is making it all happen. Andy Lim’s wife is Lim Hwee Hua (former minister). Lim Hwee Hua was making nearly four times as much as President Obama, but this is not enough for the crooked lady. She has set up her husband, Andy, to run a scam investment company, where, as an investor, you can get residence in Singapore.




Ex-SAF scholar gets jail for $500,000 bribe offer. Source: Straits Times, 16 April 2005

Eng Heng Chiaw was a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) scholar.

Eng was accused of making a S$500,000 bribe offer to an executive of Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency, Sin Boon Wah, in exchange for information on tender bids in a defence ministry contract for the naval helicopters.

He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 56 days imprisonment on 15 Apr 2005.

12. SUN XU

Sun Xu was an NUS PRC scholar. Each NUS undergraduate scholarship, which covers school fees and accommodation, is worth between $18,000 and $25,000 annually.

Sun was fined $3,000 for making “improper, insensitive and disrespectful” remarks.


“More dogs than humans in Singapore.” — Sun Xu | Image from Stomp SG

He had written: “The most annoying thing in Singapore are those ‘uncles’ who stare at you, or complain endlessly when you accidentally brush past them. . .[there are] more dogs than humans in Singapore.”

Source: AsiaOne


Chan Wei Kiat was a captain with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and an RSN scholar.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail for having paid sex with an underage prostitute.


Peter Lim was the Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and a former Public Service Commission overseas scholarship recipient.

In 2013, Lim was convicted for corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from a female employee of Nimrod in exchange for furthering the company’s business interests with the SCDF.

The judge noted that as the highest-ranked officer of SCDF, Lim was expected to lead by example and “displayed unimpeachable conduct,” adding that his actions brought “embarrassment to the public service” and loss of reputation to the SCDF.

+ + +

PART 3: FOREIGN-BORN SCHOLARS in Government or Civil Service



Khaw Boon Wan, a Colombo Plan Scholar (Batch 1973), addressing fellow alumni at Jurong Country Club. Source: FB

MP and PAP Chairman Khaw Boon Wan was born on 8 December 1952 in Penang, Malaysia. He studied in the University of Newcastle, Australia under the Singapore Government Colombo Plan Scholarship.

In 2002, Khaw Boon Wan was said to live by the principle of a Chinese Buddhist saying:

“Be always mindful of those who have brought you benefits, and remember to reciprocrate.”

It seems that netizens think otherwise of Mr. Khaw.


Google Screenshot: Khaw Boon Wan described by netizens as a “fake Buddhist.”


Ipoh-born Tan Zhongshan was awarded an Asean scholarship by Singapore’s Ministry of Education after completing his A-Levels at Temasek Junior College. After his studies at Cambridge University, he returned to Singapore to join its Legal Service commission.


State Counsel / DPP: TAN Zhongshan

As of Aug 2015, Tan Zhongshan is a State Counsel / DPP in the Financial and Technology Crime Division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The Singapore Legal Service is the collective body of lawyers (Legal Service Officers) who serve in the courts, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and the legal departments of various government ministries and statutory boards in Singapore. It controls the appointment, dismissal, and disciplinary action of members of the Service.


Former RJC student Liu Chen moved to Singapore from Shandong, China, in 1997 with her mother and father. She became a Singapore citizen in 2005 and received a President’s Scholarship to study economics at the University of Chicago.

At the time of this posting, Liu Chen is Head of the Sectoral Manpower Unit, Manpower Policy and Planning Division at the Ministry of Manpower (LinkedIn and



Maung Thet Naing Win (centre), receiving the SAF Overseas Scholarship at a ceremony. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Myanmar-born Maung Thet Naing Win was the recipient of the prestigious SAF Overseas Scholarship (Safos) in 2013. He became a new citizen in 2008.

The scholarship is given to only a handful of top students each year. Notable past recipients include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

SAFOS scholars are groomed for the highest levels of command and management in the SAF and beyond.

+ + +


If you go to the A*Star web site, plenty of the scholars are foreign-born — India, China, Vietnam, Malaysia.

This is a small selection of foreign-born scholars.

1) Dr. Wei Fengxia (born in Shandong, China / A*Star scholar)

2) Neil Huynh Hoai Nguyen (born in Vietnam / A*Star scholar)

3) Ng Jie Qi (born in Selangor, Malaysia / MOE scholar)

4) Vijay Raj Singh (born in India / NTU scholar)


Xiao Yifei graduation, 15 August 2015. Source: FB

5) Xiao Yifei (born in China / President’s scholar and RJC alumnus; was holding dual citizenship when she got her scholarship)

+ + +


These individuals are not scholars — interesting info nonetheless.


danny lim

Danny Lim, 2010. Source: ST

Danny Soo Ee Hock was a former grassroots leader who took upskirt photos of women. He was stripped of a National Day medal given to him in 2010.

MrBrown says:

The odd thing was that Danny Soo was arrested in July 2009 and awarded the PBM in 2010. Guess no one informed the award committee.

Source: MrBrown / CNN



Ex-director allegedly cheated SLA of $11.8m to buy Lamborghini. Source: Stomp Courtroom

Christopher Lim Chai Meng and his superior Koh Seah Wee (a deputy director at the Singapore Land Authority) were convicted in 2010 for their roles in cheating Singapore government agencies of S$12.5 million.

Lim pleaded guilty to 49 counts including money laundering. They allegedly used the money to buy apartments and cars including a S$1.6 million limited-edition Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV and a Ferrari F430.

Singapore’s Education System – The Truth Behind The Myth


* Featured on TR Emeritus, TRS, SG Daily, All SG Stuff, and The Insider.


When I was growing up in Singapore — I migrated to the U.S. when I was twenty — what caused me a lot of grief was the education system.

I don’t have a vendetta against the schools I attended. Some teachers really cared about students, in a way which went beyond how the students were performing academically.

It is the education system itself which I don’t remember fondly.

I always feel disheartened with reports in the establishment media that paint a rosy picture of Singapore’s education system (like here, here, and here). Few of them give a comprehensive overview of the real effects of the system.

Such reports do not dilute the clear memory I have — through direct experience — of the disadvantages of the aforementioned system.



// Photo by Caroline Chia/SPH

I did quite well throughout most of my years as a primary and secondary school student in Singapore (Katong Convent Primary School and St. Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School, respectively). I attended Temasek Polytechnic for 1.5 years (I was enrolled in mass communications).

I switched from the pure science stream to arts stream when I was in Secondary 3, by choice, because I preferred the arts curriculum and the subjects there.

I didn’t hate math or science — I just had a higher level of interest in history and literature instead of a triple science combination (physics/biology/ chemistry).

Some of my fellow schoolmates at the time were shocked beyond belief that I made that switch.

Schoolmate #1: “But you’re the smartest student in the whole level!” (I was the top student for two years.)

Schoolmate #2: “OH MY GOD. What are you doing? You’re throwing away your future!”

I just kept quiet at the time as I thought to myself:

Dudes, all I’m doing is switching from the pure science to arts stream BECAUSE I want to study subjects I’m actually interested in. How is this going to limit my future? If things are really so confined or restrictive, I can seek out other avenues later, even if it means checking things out in another country if the situation is so bad that I have to extricate myself from it entirely.

Turns out that I did end up removing myself from the situation entirely. Why? Because (many years later), I realize the value of being capable of independent thought, instead of having to conform to a system.

Now I don’t mean the exact opposite, where systems are completely useless because everybody should be “free” to do what they want (and that’s coming from somebody who’s a self-described author/artist/non-conformist).

But when there is a problem, or problems, with a system, then it is in everybody’s interest that those points be made clearly and factually.


The extreme “rote learning” method in Singapore forces students to score well for the exams by memorizing and regurgitating facts.

The only time I started to enjoy reading and writing Mandarin was once I was out of school — because, hey! Things were actually more interesting (songs, comics, films in Mandarin), as opposed to the memorization of words/characters/vocabulary without the slightest element of engagement or fun.

“Just memorize, get good grades, and you’re The Perfect Role Model Student.”

Never mind if you can’t think for yourself or have no interest in formulating your own opinions on what is right/wrong, on what you like/dislike, on what you really want to do or be in the future.

“Work hard, study hard, get a good job (in the following lucrative sectors: banking, law, medicine, engineering, accountancy) — and you’re set for life.”

THAT was the real mantra of the Singapore education system, when I was a student in it for 12 years straight.

Notice that it is elitist in principle (the narrowing down of certain sectors that are “better” than the rest — and “better” solely because they are the traditionally financially lucrative industries).

There’s no room for any creativity or anyone to pursue their passion if it falls outside of what is deemed to be “good.”

The real truth is that it’s not what’s necessarily good for you — it’s what’s good for the Singapore economy (with citizens having been referred to as actual economic “digits”).


I wasn’t ever miserable as a student to the point of suicide, though it has driven many others over that edge.

But I remember the dreariness of school holidays, which weren’t vacation time at all, due to the loads of homework designed to keep students “industrious.”

And if homework wasn’t enough, there were the tuition/supplementary lessons as well as extra-curricular activities which literally ate up any remaining free time I had.

Now that I think about it, I think the loads of homework were partly designed to keep me from having “free thoughts” about anything else apart from being a good student (refer to “the real mantra” in above section).

Kids and teenagers shouldn’t be growing up in a pressure-cooker environment that stifles their minds, on top of having their voices or opinions silenced and/or not valued.

Yes, there should be some limits. For example, if a student was expressing him/herself rudely, or being violently disruptive for the sake of being rebellious.

But in an education system that equates “stress” with “industriousness,” and anything that doesn’t neatly conform to it as “rebellious,” it’s easy to “feel like an outcast even if one is desperately trying to fit in” (I read that description off a friend’s blog ‘about me’ page when we were 17).


I quit my polytechnic course halfway because I didn’t feel particularly motivated, inspired or engaged with the course material.

Now again, I was enrolled in a mass communications course.

I didn’t enroll in that course because I had aspirations to be a deejay or TV news anchor. I enrolled because I had an interest in media and society, and maybe journalism, since everybody in Singapore told me that that was the field I should look into because I liked to write (dismissing the fact that what I like to write is fiction!).

There were several things that eventually made me so dissatisfied and disillusioned, that withdrawing from the course (with no backup plan or ANY idea what I was going to do thereafter) was still a better option than completing it just because I had to.

I remember one instance very clearly during my first year there.

During a journalism class, the very nice/friendly lecturer said with a compliant smile:

“Guys, as we all know, this is Singapore [so there are just some things you can and cannot say in the media]…”

My classmates were cool, friendly, and smart.

But I remember how everybody just took what the lecturer said — with no protest, no questions, no nothing. It was a very uninspiring moment because I was secretly expecting more.

While I admit that I didn’t do or say anything at that point either (I was a very quiet, unhappy mass comm student), that was the moment which made my 16 or 17 year-old brain “wake up” to the fact that I really wasn’t happy, with my life, situation, everything, and that I had to do something about it instead of being crippled by indecision.

Instinctively, I just felt it was wrong that it was accepted practice that nobody could really “speak their mind” in my country of origin without any serious repercussions (these articles on Gopalan Nair, Nicole Seah, and the late Jeyaretnam show the kind of treatment that “the opposition” has to go through).


As a student, what I really wanted to be educated on was how to be a happy, purposeful and productive HUMAN BEING (not a “digit” for the economy).

I wanted to study subjects I had a real interest in, in the hopes it would help me identify my potential areas of skill and expertise so that I could eventually make a living from doing something I enjoy.

What kind of message is the system giving, when generations grow up in a stressful environment where you’re separated into “elite” or “non-elite” schools, instead of being part of an environment that endeavors to identify and bring out the best in each student (not all of whom have solely academic talents!!).

The following paragraph from a perceptive article says it all:

“The views of some of Singapore’s ‘elite’ students are revealing and disturbing. . .While the education system can produce excellent engineers and scientists, can the same be said of raising potential leaders who are sensitive to society’s needs?”
(Seah Chiang Nee, The Star Malaysia)

To me, one of the primary purposes of education should be to enable students to become capable, global-minded citizens, who have some kind of mental/spiritual/emotional involvement with their chosen line of work because of the contributions they can make to society, big or small.

An education system which suppresses independent thought, discourages the act of questioning, and dismisses this thing called ‘passion’, is not going to produce ideal human beings.

Here are the things the system does promote the development of.

It fosters apathy. It fosters inarticulation (uh, ah, um, hmm). It fosters subordination to the system’s one and only goal.

It produces people who are afraid to think, unable to question, and uninspired to seek out the truth.

Perhaps most disastrously, it fosters the belief that any kind of change is impossible. Heck, even the thought of any kind of change is an unwelcome thing (think of all the trouble you’d get into!).

But change is possible (which is what really scares the ones who are most invested in not disrupting the status quo).

People are not being delusional when they say:

“Every single action we take, however small, does have an impact on change…if we have the means to contribute, like with writing skills, it would be a pity not to use it.”
(Gopalan Nair, Singapore Dissident)


I published this blog post because like many other people who express similar views, what I’m interested in is The Truth.

That is just one of my many interests I developed outside of the education system that has been the focal topic of this article.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their informed thoughts with others.

* * *

Websites With More Information:

(1) The Fascism of Singapore (by an Israeli Math PhD who studied in a Singapore university)

(2) Singapore Education Producing Timid, Robotic Minds (online political activist)

(3) The Educational System in Singapore (concise forum post on an overview of the system and what can be done to improve it)

(4) Singapore Schools Shaping Elitist Mindset (article by The Star)

(5) Observations on Elitism in Singapore (by a former teacher of an ‘elite’ secondary school, with a mention on how wealth can be a handicap)

(6) Why Do We Do This To Our Children? (on young students in Singapore committing suicide over examination stress)

(7) Celebrities leave Singapore because of kids’ education (The Online Citizen)

Quality Erotica



* This post is part of a short series on Quality Erotica:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships



Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”


After reading Fifty Shades of Grey (which was romance/fantasy), I thought of the (high-quality) erotic books I own because all of them gave me a really good grounding with regards to love/sex/relationships (in both fact and fiction).

In the above photo of my “erotic stash,” the first three books which introduced me to the world of erotic literature were:

(1) Edgar Allan Poe Anthology

(2) Anais Nin’s Little Birds

(3) D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover

I got those three books when I was 16 years old (nothing prepared me for the deviant wonder of Anais Nin — LOL!). Poe isn’t exactly an erotic writer (in the “sexual” sense) though one of his love letters in the anthology really opened up my perspective on relationships.

These are high-quality erotic books (what “erotica” should ideally be about) which “deal openly and excitingly with sexuality as a part of human experience” (to quote my co-author on Teen Guide, Matt Posner). Wikipedia (erotic literature) is a good resource if you want to learn more about this type of literature, and find the classics.

I’ve always (1) had a high level of interest in sex, (2) found sexuality to be a fascinating subject matter, especially when it’s intense/raw/realistic/non-superficial.

The books in my stash showed me what “real sex” is all about [as compared to the type of sex that most of the “mass media propaganda” (to quote Dr. Alex Comfort of The Joy of Sex / Part II in this series) likes to sell to consumers].

It really made a difference because I learned (and continue to learn) a lot about the true scope of what love/life/sex is all about. I wasn’t aware of it, but I think this entire stash helped me to understand the importance of developing a happy and relaxed sexuality (another quote from Dr. Comfort in The Joy of Sex).

I hope you find some good reads here ;)

* * *

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

For now I’ve divided my stash into five sections —

PART 1: Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Non-Fiction
PART 3: Poetry
PART 4: Fiction (Novels / Anthologies)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

[PART 1: Erotic Art Books]

kama_sutrakama sutrakama_sutra3

1. The Kama Sutra Illuminated: Erotic Art of India |

Blurb: Features 200+ artworks, accompanied by excerpts from the Sir Richard Burton translation of the original text. Long treasured as an uninhibited exaltation of erotic and mystical bliss, the Kama Sutra is a sublime gift for lovers — and lovers of beautiful art.


“Decency, reality, and love;
Personal views and public opinion–
One who knows the Kama Sutra sees through all such things,
And is not programmed by one’s appetites.”

(Kama Sutra 7.2.51)

It was from this book that I directly learned how the actual/ancient Kama Sutra was not a sex manual (as it’s taken to be in Westernized cultures), but as something psychological to enhance a person’s personal/spiritual life. P.S. It’s a HUGE book with very high-quality prints.

Links: | Kama Sutra Quotes

* * *


2. Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature |

Blurb: This illustrated anthology presents a collection of the very best examples of sexual art and literature spanning two thousand years: from classical Rome and the ancient East to the novels of D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller. Artworks from Aubrey Beardsley, Henry Fuseli, Gustav Klimt, Thomas Rowlandson, and many others are juxtaposed with literary pieces from such names as C. P. Cavafy, Frank Harris, John Cleland, Anais Nin, Boccaccio, Christina Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, and Casanova.


Sadly, following the liberalization of the laws governing the publication of sexual material, a great deal of second-rate, ugly and pernicious stuff has also become available. This was inevitable but it does not argue for suppression. Indeed, it makes it vital for good erotica to be published, so that we can see for ourselves the difference between the life-enhancing, and the sordid and destructive. . . (Introduction / Page 7)

Best parts of the book =

1) the blend/presentation of pieces of erotic art, alongside excerpts of the finest literary erotica in the history of publishing/the written word

2) the scope of the selected works (which span over 2000 years of both Eastern and Western cultures)

This book which combines erotic art and literature is definitely one of my favourites in the entire stash.


* * *


3. Icons of Erotic Art |

Blurb: This intimate, exquisitely produced collection offers provocative insights into what distinguishes the merely titillating from the masterful. Icons of Erotic Art brings together 150 sublime examples of this dynamic, covering nearly every major period on art history: ancient, Renaissance, and Rococo paintings; treasures from India, Japan, and China; Impressionist and Modernist masterpieces; even caricature, cartoons, and Pop Art. The result is a dazzling display of artistic eroticism and a new understanding of how its power transcends time and temperament.


For the statue’s 500th birthday in 2004 Michelangelo’s David underwent an eight-month cleaning process to remove years of pollution from the marble surface.


Image from Wikipedia

Working in daily proximity to this erotic icon, one of the restorers was overwhelmed by the experience. She was quoted in the press, saying: “I felt so much emotion when I found myself face-to-face with this giant. My heart was beating too fast. I had to call the doctor.” The ordinary viewer, gazing up at David’s 4.34 meters, cannot fail to be equally impressed, both by the heroic size and the vulnerability of David’s extraordinary body. (“The Voluptuous Male” / Page 18)

Gorgeous book and very informative.


* * *


4. Art Nouveau and the Erotic |

Blurb: The swirling sensuous forms of Art Nouveau are synonymous with the erotic. This concise, fully illustrated study shows how the idea of the erotic was given visual expression by artists and designers, creating in the process some of the most striking and representative works in the new style.


Art Nouveau designers created a style they deemed appropriate for a complex modern world. The style articulated widely held anxieties caused by opposing forces within society: nature versus technology, individual versus community, nationalism versus internationalism and — most significantly in the context of the erotic — the physical versus the spiritual. (Introduction / Page 8)

Don’t let the compact size of this book fool you ;)


* * *

mangayaoi mangayaoi_manga_2

5. Skyscrapers of Oz (Yaoi Manga) |

Blurb: From tailing your lover to walking your dog, no job is too small! Mari and his partner Yoichi are drop-dead gorgeous “Handymen.” But they also have a hidden (and dangerous) other side. Their latest job is, of all things, to sleep with Yu, a beautiful male student! But instead Mari finds himself rescuing Yu from an attack, then sheltering him in his own apartment!


Click on the second and third images above.

Yaoi also known as Boys’ Love, is a Japanese popular term for female-oriented fictional media that focus on homoerotic or homoromantic male relationships, usually created by female authors. I probably should “expand” my manga knowledge but that was an erotic one I got by chance that I enjoyed (very nice/cool drawings, especially if you find yaoi manga ‘sweet’).

Links: | Wikipedia (Yaoi)


QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships


Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)



* This post is part of a short series:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships



Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”

[PART 2: Erotic Books / Non-Fiction]

The art books (in Part I) were nicely complemented with some non-fiction texts. I just so happen to have exactly five erotic art books and five non-fiction books on sex, at the moment.

These non-fiction books provided me with a lot of “valuable information” re: subconscious desires and that kind of stuff. I have a love for hidden things in life (I’ve always had an interest in what lies under the surface, re: the things that matter).

* * *


6. The Perfumed Garden |


The great English explorer and author Richard F. Burton offers this translation of a work on sexuality, female sexuality in particular. Selected contents: Concerning women who deserve to be praised; About women who are to be held in contempt; Concerning everything that is favorable to the act of coition;  Prescriptions for increasing the dimensions of small members, and for making them splendid. This book contains much erotic poetry.


The Master of the Universe has bestowed upon them the empire of seduction; all men, weak or strong, are subjected to the weakness for the love of woman.

(The Perfumed Garden, Page 75)

Very well-known book that I’ve yet to read in its entirety.


* * *


7. The Hite Report on Male Sexuality |


Over 7,000 men, ages thirteen to ninety-seven, speak out about: What they think of women — as wives, lovers, and friends; why a majority of men like marriage but are not faithful; what they think about love — and why they often distrust it; how they feel about giving women clitoral stimulation; why they often masturbate even with a regular sex life…and more.


“The only time I am anxious that I am not ‘man enough’ (hate that juvenile, macho expression!) is when I have inexplicably lost my hard-on and cannot continue. What the hell happened? I ask myself. How come? How delicately am I balanced, anyway? It is frustrating and embarrassing. It makes me feel like I am a little helpless boy, guilty usually. I feel ashamed.” (Page 399)

Another very well-known book. I read both Hite reports (on male and female sexuality) — I enjoyed the male one a lot more. That’s not to say that the female one was not good. I just found the male one a lot more ‘illuminating’ ^^.


* * *


8. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sextrology |


In this funny, insightful, and practical guide, Megan Skinner, astrologist extraordinaire, explains how to use the stars to find the perfect sexual mate. She profiles the sexual traits of each of the 12 signs, then shows every combination of them and what to expect in bed.

• Ideal for anyone interested in astrology
• Easy to use, encyclopedic in content
• Includes coverage of Sun signs and Moon signs
• Discusses the influence of each planet and house on the sexual dynamics of each sign and each couple


Venus and Mars connections are all about your sexual chemistry — Venus is the “feminine” aspect of love, representing your deeper sexual and romantic needs. Mars is the “masculine” aspect of love, representing your most primal sexual desires. (Chapter 10)

A good INTRODUCTORY text to the subject of sexual astrology.

On a slightly more advanced level, I’m a Venus conjunct Pluto in Scorpio 8th house (which kind of explains this entire series of blog posts…).

Links: |

* * *


9. The Joy of Sex |


An international bestseller since it was first published in 1972, this updated edition brings this imaginative, uninhibited guide to lovemaking and sex to a whole new generation. It has been revised in such a way to retain Dr. Comfort’s original, revelatory advice while making it appropriate for the 21st century (balances responsibility with the importance of happy and relaxed sexuality in people’s lives). The drawings capture in full, frank detail the intimacy of the act of love.


Real sex is the sort our culture and most mass media propaganda don’t recognize: not that intercourse, or masturbation, or genital kisses aren’t real sex, but some other things are real sex too, which people need, but which don’t excite our time and age. . .

(The Joy of Sex: “Appetizers” / Page 57)

Also a very well-known book. I absolutely adore the 80 very nicely done line illustrations (realistic, simple and very sensuous/intimate).


* * *


10. The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People |


From the indefatigable Wallace family, authors of The Book of Lists and The People’s Almanac series (New York Times bestsellers that sold over eight million copies internationally), came 1981’s The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People.

This compelling bestseller that kept many a reader up at night with its two hundred revealing profiles and three hundred rare photos just got better with a dozen new entries on the nocturnal fascinations of the iconic Tupac Shakur, Carlos Casteneda, Jim Morrison, Nico, Wilt Chamberlain, Ayn Rand, Kurt Cobain, Princess Diana, Aleister Crowley, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Hutchence, and Malcolm X.


“I loved my mother like a lover,” Lawrence admitted after her death in 1910. . .Always thin and consumpive, never particularly virile, with tousled hair, a “flaming” red beard, and eyes “intense as blue stars,” Lawrence attracted by the force of his personality a succession of wealthy, titled patronesses. “Income on two legs” he called these women, who subscribed to the Lawrencean sexual mystique and subsidized his nomadic lifestyle.
(Prodigal Son: D. H. Lawrence, Page 190)

This book is a real riot. I’ve read many of the profiles and have yet to be disappointed!



QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships