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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ris Low: Miss Singapore World

Ris Low won Miss Singapore World. This is, apparently, a competition to determine the prettiest girl in Singapore in some respects. Unaccountably, this girl with a lopsided smile, won. I find this odd, in itself, since I have seen, since I arrived in Singapore, many a better looking person...but heh, perhaps those others didn't want to enter.

Anyway, Ris Low, has become more famous for her personal "qualities" than for her "beauty". When first elected to the crown of Miss Singapore World, she was heavily criticized for her risibly low command of English. She seems to speak her own version of "unintelligible". In truth, she is a heavy Singlish speaker with an original style. Ris Low classics include "bigini" for "bikini"; "leopard preens" for "leopard prints" and "zipbra" for "zebra". She can't even pronounce "red" which she says as "RAD". At times, her speech departed so much from communicative norms, in any language, that she simply could not be understood - even by Singlish speakers.

Ris Low embarrassed Singapore through her poor grasp of English. Many felt that she made Singaporeans look uneducated. (Well, she does...) However, her poor English could be forgiven on account of her presumed risibly low intelligence. She has, yet, in her public appearances never given any evidence of being a thoughtful person. Now, however, she has given much evidence of being a thoughtless one. Ris Low, believe it or not, has been convicted of multiple charges of credit card fraud!

Seeing her lopsided smile in the My Paper, with the words "Guilty of Credit Card Fraud", felt rather surreal. It was as if someone was saying a bad joke twice. We have already heard the joke about her English...now we have to hear the joke about her morality.

Rather astonishingly, Ris Low stole credit card details of PATIENTS while working as a patients' service assistant (that is SOME service) in a healthcare facility. She then went on an idiotic spending spree buying such necessary items as two gold anklets for a $1,000, a $698 mobile phone and dining out at an upscale restaurant. In total, SIXTY charges were taken into consideration for her sentencing. She was convicted of five charges of misappropriation (akin to stealing), cheating using illegally obtained credit cards and IMPERSONATING the identities of the card owners.

What really astonished me about this case was the lightness of her sentence. She was given two years supervised probation. It seems clear that the fact that she is a beauty queen seems to have had some influence over her sentencing.

To my mind, a beauty queen should be more than a pretty face (and I don't think that Ris Low is even that, since, by my standards, she is not good enough to even be an entrant in such a show). A beauty queen should also be a decent person with integrity and heart. I say this because beauty queens represent their countries. As representatives they should show the BEST of their countries...not only in beauty (she is not the best) but in character (she is not the worst).

Ris Low fails as a beauty queen precisely because she fails as a human being. She has proven to be dishonest. She is so risibly low in moral character, that she thinks it OK to steal from hospital PATIENTS to buy herself gold ankle chains. It is absolutely revolting. The people she stole from have enough worries and stresses in their lives dealing with their illnesses, not to have to deal with the sudden knowledge that someone has been using their credit cards fraudulently. Just imagine the shock of those patients to discover that it was a HOSPITAL staff member that had stolen their cards? It is appalling.

Ris Low should not represent Singapore in anything. She shows, if anything, that Singapore is a place of poor moral standards. Ris Low grew up in Singapore. Therefore her almost unintelligible speech and lack of a moral sense, are the products of her Singaporean upbringing. Both facts, make Singapore look very bad.

Singapore should take more care in its choice of "Ambassadors", if it wishes to be seen in a good light. Then, again, perhaps it is more truthful of the true nature of young Singaporeans today, that someone like Ris Low should be an ambassador. Perhaps her character is no more than a reflection of a generation who seek short cuts in all things; who value materialism above morality - and who think that they can get by on looks alone, with no other redeeming quality or ability at all. Ris Low, therefore, represents the Singapore of tomorrow: characterless, amoral, far from bright and not really that beautiful.

So, Singapore has a decision to make. Either it should show Singapore as it is becoming (see Ris Low's description above), or as it would like to be seen.

I have a view on this. Generally, I think a country should show the BEST of its people. It should highlight the exemplars. In doing so, it gives all people of that nation something to aspire to - but it also shows what that country and its people can achieve. This is not lying about a country, for everyone knows that not everyone is as beautiful, talented, honest etc.

Ris Low is not the best that Singapore has to offer, in any sense of the word best. She is not the most beautiful person in Singapore. She is not the smartest person in Singapore (in fact, she is not the smartest person anywhere). She is also not the most honest person in Singapore (nor is she anywhere). If Singapore wants to show its young people as they can be, then show Ris Low to the world. If Singapore would like to show its young people as they SHOULD be...then get someone else. Anyone else would be better than this risibly low choice of a human being.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to:http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals.If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3438598/ As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of credits...so please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3305973/ My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:06 AM 

24 Comments:

Blogger ozob said...

Hi.

You speak as if Ris Low's rise to her position was the collective result of the majority of the population selecting her. And whilst wielding that unjustified assumption, you take the opportunity to critique the country.

Unfortunately, if you have been in the loop, or even reading the news, you might find that Ris was selected by a panel of judges. That is hardly a representation of "Singapore" as you call it.

Your articles are mostly good, it would be nice if you could keep it up that way. There's little to no point in writing an opinion piece attempting to tear apart a country for the actions of an insignificant individual.

Regardless, I am rather doubtful that this comment will be posted in verbatim as past records show. I do hope that you will consider leaving more than a reply to an invisible comment as you have done before.

Cheers.
lozo

12:13 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Lozo or Ozob, or whatever actually happens to be your real name.

I have a finer understanding of the selection process of beauty queens than you might imagine. It is a democratic process which is open to all entrants, in a country. Thus, any girl in Singapore could be entered in such a competition. The girls would then be judged by a panel, as you note, whose task it is to find the girl who best meets the criteria of beauty, poise, style etc. Note that these judges know that the girl they select will be in competition with girls from around the world, so it is in their interests to select the MOST beautiful girl, the MOST poised, etc. Thus, in this way, the girl selected should be the best from all the entrants from Singapore. Since this is so, the winner of such competitions is, in a clear way, a pretty good guide to what is happening among the young women of Singapore. It is worrying, to me, at least, that Ris Low is considered the best option among Singapore’s young women (at least, among those who entered).

Ris Low was elected to her position by a democratic process. She is, therefore, as representative of a population as any other elected individual. Having been selected as the best of Singapore, Ris Low is, in fact, a very interesting piece of human evidence about Singapore itself. That should be obvious. I will leave it to my readers to think further on what it says about Singapore.

You seem not to have actually read my post. It is almost entirely a discussion of Ris Low. It makes little mention of Singapore, other than to advise Singapore what is best to be done in the situation. The only real references to Singapore come when I point out that such a girl as Ris Low is not an isolated phenomenon but will come from a social context (that is what I was trying to point towards). Thus, she is the way she is, because of social influences upon her. Thus, if she is poor at speaking English, you can bet that many of her friends are too…for she would have learnt her speech patterns from the people around her. Indeed, government ministers have spoken out on Ris Low’s English, saying that it is “typical of the girl on the street in Singapore”. So, in that respect Ris Low is typical. Now, she is also dishonest. I would be unsurprised if in that respect she is not also accompanied by many of her fellows in her social circle and age group. There is merit in the saying that “birds of a feather flock together”. Thus, we can expect that such criminal acts would not be uncommon in a Singaporean of her social background. She is unlikely to be too atypical. Her behaviour will arise in large part from what she has learnt around her. One thing she has not learnt is integrity. It is probable that the people around her don’t have much of it either.

My post is NOT an attack on Singapore. To read it in the way you have, shows that you are acutely sensitive to criticism of Singapore. It is actually a friendly piece of advice to Singapore on the issue of its choice of Ambassadors. It quite surprises me that you can characterize it as an attack. It is only a discussion of Ris Low’s risibly low standards of behaviour. That is all.

You are also unfamiliar with Blogger. Comments from readers cannot be edited before publication, as you suggest. They can only either be published whole or not at all. So, you are off the mark there.

I only ever leave a comment invisible if it is just unacceptable to be published, for reasons of decency etc. Some comments are highly offensive and/or stupid. They don’t deserve an airing and have no place on the internet. Furthermore, I wouldn’t want my children reading some of the silly things people sometimes write.

Your comment has been published…so your fears are unjustified.

Furthermore, just because you don’t like my post, that doesn’t make it any less well written than the ones you do like. You are just showing signs of cognitive bias. All the posts have the same author and same standards of authorship. It just happens that you like some and not others. That is all.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Weiye said...

Hi,

I would give the benefit of doubt to the statement that "It seems clear that the fact that she is a beauty queen seems to have had some influence over her sentencing."

She was convicted and sentenced in May, whereas she won the title on 31 July.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading your post.

Warmest Regards,
Weiye
Source: http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Crime/Story/A1Story20090924-169805.html

5:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for your comment Weiye.

However, it must be noted that Ris Low has quite a history as a beauty queen and has according to various reports, won other titles over the past couple of years. So, in fact, she WAS a beauty queen at the time of sentencing.

Kind regards

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Ris Low reflecting the corruption in choosing-beauty-queen-democratic-process? She might not be the most beatiful, most intelligent candidate. Or the youth of Singaporean is corrupted, that she is the best around?

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this comment will not be relevant. I just want to ask. In your point of view, what is the meaning of life? What do we live for? What is the ultimate mission of human beings, being brought to this world?

4:30 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. the remarkably ill-informed and irrelevant comment from someone regarding my son, Ainan.

Firstly, he WAS accepted into GEP when he had just turned 7 years old. Furthermore he DID jump many levels, at once, in Chemistry - he did Chemistry at Raffles College and other places, at seven. You have not been reading your newspapers very well, have you?

We withdrew him from the GEP because they were not providing him a long term Chemistry practical class (they said it was too resource intensive). What they offered instead was a long term theory class intervention - which we didn't want since he was well able to do theory at home.

You seem very paranoid, I am afraid. This post is not, as you seem to think, some kind of "oblique boast about my son"...what a completely mad idea...it is just a comment on Ris Low's recent conduct: nothing more and nothing less.

I don't really understand why you think GEP is so great. We have been in it...it is not what people think. It is a waste of time, in many ways.

It surprises me that any Singaporean can be confused on the issues surrounding Ainan's experience with the GEP. They have been written of in newspapers and on my blog. Why would you persist, therefore, in propagating lies? It seems that you have a chronic case of jealousy.

Why not take a deep breath - and relax?

9:53 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I don't know what happened in the election process regarding Ris Low. Perhaps they couldn't attract better candidates to join the pageant. Or perhaps they should look at their selection criteria. (For instance, include an assessment of honesty and English language).

It could be that too few Singaporean girls are interested in applying for such pageants. This, however, does not seem to be a problem in most countries.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Oh, to the commenter re. Ainan.

NO. Most of the hostile comments we have noted on the internet, regarding him, do NOT come from America or Europe. Oddly, very, very oddly, almost all of the hostility has come from people like you: Singaporeans.

Generally speaking, the Europeans are the friendliest people on the issue. Indeed, some countries are very warm and welcoming indeed. Singapore isn't, however.

Again, you need to check your facts.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Meaning of Life.

A full answer would be a long one. However, I will say this: the core is to express yourself. That is to fulfil who you really are. If you are a beautiful girl...become a model or beauty queen, if that is the essence of who you are. If you are gifted with words and have much to say...become a writer - and so on. Whatever it is that is your essence, make sure you manage to express it, in your life.

There is more, but that is the core.

Good luck on living a meaningful life...for you. For each of us, what is meaningful will differ. Only you can decide that.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By the way, from the extremity of the comments on Ainan from the poster I haven't posted, I am left to wonder one of two things: are you insane? Or do you have a personal connection to Ris Low - which would, therefore, explain, the extreme emotion present in your posts?

All the facts of Ainan's life are against what you are saying and against what you believe. A complete refutation of your viewpoints exists in newspaper articles published over the last two and a half years...yet you persist in what amounts to delusions. It is rather worrying.

Ainan took all the GEP assessments when he had just turned 7...and ACED them. That is why they advanced him a decade or so, in Chemistry, immediately. This was covered in the Straits Times and other newspapers. Perhaps you should READ more and RANT less.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the unposted hostile poster...re. GEP.

I thought everyone knew about Ainan being accepted onto that programme when he was 7...I read about it in the ST and in the New Paper. (There it talked about all the tests he had to pass for GEP.)

Why don't you get your facts right, first, before arguing?

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re. Meaning of Life

Thx, for your answer. You's enlighten me. Perhaps, u might consider to write an article about it one day. I believe all of your readers will enjoy reading it, especially from the point of view of prodigies' father. Thx a lot.

Regards,
A Malaysian.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Meaning of life.

I am glad you appreciate my thought. It is good to hear that what I have written is valued.

Yes. Perhaps I should post on it, sometime.

As I said, best of luck in expressing the truth of yourself. It is the most worthwhile task.

Kind regards

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Najib said...

Hi,

While I enjoyed the opinion piece that you have posted above, I felt that you might have gone slightly overboard with your criticisms and, shall I dare say, insults.

Perhaps it is the online trend now that we pile on the critical "insights" against Ris Low but one must wonder whether are we too quick to judge someone just by virtue of her winning a beauty contest.

First off, to say that she fails at being a human being is rather harsh. Are we so quick to deem her as an immoral and dishonest person just by a single offence? While cliched, let me pose this question to you then. What if it was your friend/child/parent/spouse? Without knowing the reasons and circumstances behind her actions do we condemn her to being a failure at being a human being and dishonest and immoral? Or perhaps, just perhaps, it was a moment of folly, an influenced decision or just plain rash? But is it possible that she was a dishonest person all along? Perhaps. But I would not be so quick to jump to that conclusion.

Your assertion that her beauty queen status might have influenced her lighter sentence. But perhaps, just perhaps, she was remorseful in front of the judge? Or the judge recognises it as a rash and a thoughtless act rather than a deliberate attempt to steal? But if, as you said, her beauty queen status is involved then we have more things to worry about in our judicial system.

To me, I would rather judge a person through her informed actions rather than moments of folly (if it indeed was one). I might stretch it too far here, but perhaps, one should look as to the reasons why she chose to be a personal assistant in a healthcare facility. And which probably led to her pursuit of her current educational goal. Am I too foolish in seeing the good side of people or perhaps I am a victim of over-analysis.

While I admit, her poor grasp of English is visible, but I can also say that for a majority of the Singapore population. Some more visible than others. But is this a mark of being uneducated? Can one simply hear a person speak and then decide whether she is educated or not? Perhaps I beg to differ on that subject. Mind you, her Singlish may be bad but it was not unintelligible to me. Yes, the words we not enunciated well but I could understand what she said throughout the whole video which you were quoting her "classics". Perhaps I have a higher exposure to a larger number of "uneducated" people who is unable to enunciate English words well.

While she has her flaws and her criminal record, one still must applaud at her courage to enter such a contest. One must still wonder if Singaporeans do really think that Miss World and Miss Universe contests are a chance to showcase the country's character, moral and physical assets. If that is really so, then isn't it food for thought that the ladies who we feel are more deserving to represent the country do not even aspire to be the country's chosen. Perhaps I was foolish, years ago, when I thought that it was every girl's dream to represent their country in a Miss Universe/World since they, as you said "shows the BEST of their counries".

-Najib

5:05 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Najib,

You are being WAY too forgiving. You are also making a VERY strenuous effort to minimize her actual crimes. Her credit card fraud was NOT "a moment's folly"...as you are trying to persuade those who read your words. It was, in fact, the stealing of seven credit cards, on separate occasions, from different patients, at different times - and their use, for a total of well over SIXTY offenses, over a period of two months. This is not "a moment's folly", it is a criminal career. You cannot have "a moment's folly", over SIXTY times in a row, in a two month's period. This is clearly the action of a woman working with criminal intent. It is not, as some dismiss, "a mere mistake". Nobody makes a "mere mistake", involving seven different credit cards (as I have read elsewhere), used on over SIXTY different purchases.

I would have the same reaction to this action no matter who committed it. Unlike you seem to imply, my moral standards do not vary from person to person, depending on whether I know them or not. It is reprehensible in the extreme for a person in a position of trust, working in a healthcare facility should STEAL and DEFRAUD her own patients. If you cannot see that, then you suffer a kind of moral blindness that leads, in itself, to many problems with regards to morality and law, if not tempered by others.

What Ris Low did was wrong in every way you look at it. Those who try to excuse it are, basically, saying that youngsters have the RIGHT to steal because they are young. They are saying it is OK to defraud if you are pretty and not very bright. They are saying that ANYONE makes mistakes, so lets forget about the whole idea of the law, of crime, of morality, of the ownership of property, of respect for others, of betraying trust and being honest. Let us throw out the idea of integrity - because, after all, it leads to awkward moments like having to realize that youngsters these days may not have any - so, rather than admit that, let us just pretend integrity doesn't matter.

Najib: I don't know if you know Ris personally, but your response is the kind of response one might expect from someone who does. It is a response that dismisses the whole idea of morality, integrity, honesty, decency - and replaces it with something much more insidious. If everyone were to adopt your beliefs and outlook,it would not be long before the whole of society descended into wholesale criminal chaos. You are, essentially, advising the abolishment of moral and legal standards.

I would suggest that Ris Low has made it VERY, VERY, CLEAR what kind of young woman she is. Her crimes were committed on over sixty different instances, over two months. This is not a case of a mistake, or an oversight - it is just a young criminal at work.

The other question that the whole situation poses is: has Ris Low committed any other crimes for which she was NOT caught? Most people of criminal mind, tend to commit many, many crimes before they are first caught. Is Ris Low an exception to this trend? Or has she done other things we don't know about?

You do the whole of society a disservice by trying to dismiss her acts as a youthful "moment of folly". I would accept that possibility if it had been but one occasion - but even that yielding to temptation would show a poor character at work. No. What you have here is something unacceptable, if you wish to maintain any moral or legal standards in society at all. If you accept what Ris Low did as "a moment of folly" - then you should let off ALL young criminals, of their crimes. After all, could they not be "moments of folly" too? You end up with a society that does not maintain a stand against crime at all. Do you want that? Do you want your society to descend into criminal chaos? Treating Ris Low's acts very lightly - as you are - is a very big step towars such a criminal chaos.

In a way, a bigger crime than Ris Low's own acts are the urgings of people like yourself, to overlook her crimes. Now, that is one crime that should not be overlooked.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By the way, it is clear from your comment, in describing over sixty different acts over two months, as "a moment of folly" that you have not even bothered to acquaint yourself with the details of her crimes, before commenting on them.

Really, it is advisable to do so, before coming to a view, as you have. It would have helped you to understand that your view was not supported by the evidence.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

"towars" above should read "towards".

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Najib said...

Hi!

Wow, I did not expect such a prompt response from you.

Just for the record, I am not acquainted with her in any way.

First and foremost, I believe I did not actually feel that her crimes were justified. I believe she was rightly caught and rightly sentenced. But yes, I do admit that I might have trivialized them.

My point though was the quickness to judge the moral of a character by just the basis of a set of actions without knowing the circumstances behind them.

I am sure a person's character is made of many dimensions. What made her go on that spending spree may be due to a character flaw or it was perhaps due to some other reason unknown. But there is no denying from the fact that what she did was a crime. Although, I do have faith in our judicial system. Instead of the severity of the sentence be seen as "an influence of her beauty queen satus", perhaps there were these circumstances that the judge has observed and thus deliberated the sentence due to those circumstances. And will a truly dishonest person, and morally bankrupt person actually stop even after being convicted?

You implied that my thinking would have made a lot of juvenile criminals get away with crime. While the paragraph above has actually prove this as untrue since I am not denying the punishment of the committed crimes, perhaps I would like to throw a spin to it. If the judge were to be so quick as to jump into a moral condemnation as you have shown, instead of geting probational sentences and giving these young people a chance to rediscover their right ways, instead they would have spent time behind bars, and perhaps ruined their future lives in a country such as Singapore.

But alas, while I might be against all the hostilities and insults that Ris is getting, I do share the view that she does not have what it takes to actually represent the country. To me, she does not display the depth of thought based on her answers in her interviews which I feel is more of a concern than her actual unintelligeble English.

I still stand by my food for thought at the end of my previous post. Where are the girls that we do really want to see representing Singapore? Or perhaps there are certain mindsets among our educated ladies that prevent them from participating in such events?

-Najib

6:43 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you, Najib, for expanding on your views.

The judge, no doubt, has reasons for leniency, though we are not privy to them. Perhaps he thought her too "vulnerable" to go to jail. Whatever was the reason, I think the public reaction to Ris Low's crimes is actually likely to be very GOOD for her. You see, the strength of the reaction, in some quarters, is likely to bring home to her just how unacceptable such behaviour is, making it much less likely that she would become involved in crime, again. So there is good in the situation, that may not be apparent.

Regarding the poor quality of local beauty queens...this is strange. Most countries have no difficulty raising high quality entrants for such competitions. Perhaps there are cultural factors, in Singapore, holding women back from presenting themselves for selection. Before any rise in standards can be expected, these factors would have to be addressed. I am not familiar with what they might be. Perhaps many educated women look down on such girls...that might be the problem.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it appropriate and justifiable to judge a country of near 5 million based on the indeed questionable morales, mannerism and oral communication of English of one individual, Ris Low ?

I came across your post of Ris Low and as much as I would agree with some of the points mentioned, it is biased in its criticism of Singapore, especially the youths. As much as the growth of an individual is shaped by different factors like culture, social factors, and etc, it is definitely a very strong statement to make against a whole country of its lack of qualities. To label the youths of Singapore with the ones used in the articles, it speaks volume of the biasness in the article.

If its really meant to be a discussion or opinion of Ris Low, I see no reason for the criticism of youths of Singapore and Singapore as a country.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You are funny. You are funny precisely because you have leapt to an allegation of “bias” without even reading and thinking about the article above. If there is bias, it is your own. You have a bias against anyone who dares to state what Singapore is really like.

Might I direct your attention to the last paragraph? It states that Ris Low is not the best of Singapore, in any sense, and that there are better people who could have represented Singapore. Excuse me, but, where is the “bias” in such a conclusion? I have been fair to Singapore, but you have not been fair to my comment.

My argument is a simple sociological one – but one that appears to be beyond you. What Ris Low is, did not come from nowhere. In fact, high ranking public figures, in Singapore, rose up in defense of Ris Low, saying that her poor command of English was “normal” for Singaporean youths of her background. So, high ranking Singaporean public figures have said what I was saying…but you seem neither to be aware of that nor to condemn them for it. With Singaporeans like you (I assume you to be Singaporean since no-one who does not live in Singapore cares about it in any way at all…and why should they?)…if a foreigner comments on Singapore, you attack them, but if a Singaporean says exactly the same thing, you remain silent…how typical.

High ranking Singaporean public figures have said that Ris Low is typical of her generation. I have said the same thing. So, why are you attacking me for it?

Like I said, I have no bias – you do. You have a bias against all foreigners who speak about Singapore in anything but the highest praise.

Then again, Ris Low was elected to REPRESENT Singapore. Thus, in some very real way, her selection means that somehow she typifies or exemplifies her country. Now, Singaporeans made this selection – not me – so they are stating clearly that Ris Low is somehow a great Singaporean. I cannot help but note that if she is a great one, what are the rest like? Presumably they lacked her “qualities”…so would have been worse.

My opinion of Ris Low and her relationship to her generation is shared by many SINGAPOREAN bloggers and commentators who have noted that there are many people like her in Singapore, today (some of them noted it in her defense, saying she was just typical)…but heh, I don’t suppose you have been posting nastiness on their blogs/sites too? I doubt it. They would have to be foreigners before you troubled to attack them.

It is very telling that you are unable to see that the article above has an essential balance in it: I point out that a girl of Ris Low’s type is a function of her background and upbringing and so merely reflects her social stratum (in other words, there will be hundreds of thousands of people quite similar to her in Singapore). I also pointed out that there were better people in Singapore and that they should represent the nation. That does not show bias it shows two things you have a lack of: social understanding and a desire to help.

I would suggest that before you leap to attack those who write on Singapore, in future, that you learn to read with discernment before doing so. Otherwise you are just showing your own biases at work.

One more point: I have taught in Singapore’s schools and colleges and the general standard of English is pretty poor from the typical student. The bad students are REALLY bad – some of them much worse than Ris Low. She is not an extreme case of poor English, in Singapore, since there are much worse cases out there. Even Singaporeans regarded as having “good” English by local standards, do not fare well in international comparison. But heh, no doubt you wouldn’t accept such experiences…because you are biased…

6:50 PM  
Anonymous camy said...

good entry...
"Singapore should find the BEST to represent herself!"

5:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, indeed. One doesn't have to stand on a Singaporean street for more than five minutes to see several better candidates for Miss World, pass by, than Ris Low. The mystery is why she was considered the 'best'?

Thanks for your comment.

7:22 PM  

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