Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No Joke

Yeah, even though Kenny got into the act, this ain't no act.

Just gotten Harold &Kumar Go to White Castle - made me hungry for those White Castle burgers. As usual, there's hardly anything that one cannot take away from. Hell, even a bad song or a bad rendition, you can get something out of it.

And I think discrimination's sort of rearing its head right here. Yeah, I 'fess that I'm not without bias. But at the same time, we are taking things abit too far, with too much hoo-haa over who deserves to be subsidised more in university, over the way non-Singaporeans are crowding out our neighbourhoods, and all else.

Sure, local students deserve to enjoy greater subsidies, especially if the State aims to get a higher proportion of each cohort into university. With this in mind, perhaps those that are in charge (and they definitely know who they are) ought to serve up the appropriate balance with regards to subsidies/scholarships for local and foreign students. From a personal point-of-view, it seems that it might be a better deal to consider more scholarships and financial aid for locals at the undergraduate level; it should be at the postgraduate level where the field is levelled up, like how the universities in the States have been doing. Consider this: if the focus of the State machinery is towards R&D, especially in the hard sciences, won't it make alittle more sense to consider attracting talent (both local and foreign) at the postgraduate level, where research is the main focus (for both the scholarship/subsidy holder and the State) rather than trying to attain a First Class with a GPA 4.0? Also, some departments in local universities (at least for mine) have a high preference towards employing teaching staff who had gotten their Ph.Ds overseas; in that sense then, local universities have their work cut out in terms of how to retain the future services of these top minds when they attain their Ph.Ds. To sum up ,this not only helps vindicate the presence of non-locals, but it can also divert more useful resources, financial and/or otherwise, to better help and support local undergraduates attain their BA/BSc and meet their (the relevant agencies) projected targets. In a way, this could mean far better returns for local universities than the present situation - for example, they will have a better pool of postgraduates because these people would have a proven track record elsewhere prior at the undergraduate level.

On the other hand, foreign students, or foreigners for that matter, might be getting abit too much stick on their backs. There's this one scene in H&KGTWC which is pretty hilarious, but at the same time, pretty scary as well. When the white cops were arrested and being led away, the main guy had a slew of racial slurs and foul language running off his tongue, but not before trying to distance himself by disclaming that he's not racist (yeah right.). Which kinda reminds me of the similarities and differences of the attitudes I've seen and read regarding foreigners here. The thing is, it seems unavoidable and inevitable, if one places oneself (by choice or not) in a foreign land - heck, I figure if I'm gonna get accepted in some US/N.America university for a Ph.D place with some form of subsidy, OR if I end up as a Chinese bloke working in a Chinese restaurant in Europe, I might have to endure the same type of treatment from the Americans/Europeans. Perhaps its time to cut some slack off that stick; after all, the decision to leave one's homeland is hard, and often forced upon, especially if one's barely making ends meet; alternatively, there exists a much better deal elsewhere; OR both. Can one be faulted for wanting a better life? Should one turn down an opportunity that promises better satisfaction and more benefits? Are we insidiously no more/less equal than a typical racially-myopic WASP?

The balance is never inert; indeed anything and everything can cause an extremely exothermic reaction. Point is, is it of any fruitfulness or usefulness in targetting the people themselves, or are we better off making the world a better place for you, and for us?


On a more informal note, there's this conversation between Harold and Kumar that's pretty interesting. Just two lines, but it kinda connected.

(On H's reluctance to approach Marie, H's neighbour down the corridor and whom he had developed a serious crush on)

K: You are worthless.

H: I'm not worthwhile.

I'm already kicking myself for not watching this earlier; now Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is elevated from nowhere to a MUST-WATCH.

Signing off................ Off-day Tuesday.............

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