So Much for World Class Education

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) is ranked at #23, while National University of Singapore (NUS) is placed at #25, making NUS the second best university in Asia. But it appears that Japanese people typically look at Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) ranking which places NUS at #22 and UTokyo at #31, making NUS the best university in Asia. That’s why I get a lot of hoohas whenever people learn that I graduated from NUS. I never did think I’m smart, and I still don’t think I am. For one, I’m very bad at expressing my thoughts and ideas, which usually results in lots of misunderstandings especially in this era when “communication” is conducted via social media sites such as Facebook.

I’ve long given up on trying to make arguments on Facebook even though I used to enjoy such discussions with friends at the school canteen. But while I’ve moved to just relaying facts and not opinions, people seem to assume that by laying out a fact means that I agree with something, and sometimes, they get creative on a simple line I write. For example, when a friend S was asking people to get over the idea that religion correlates to morality, I raised the fact that since religion teaches morality, it is inevitable that people correlate them. This started a war between S, her husband, and me (i.e. 2 vs 1), which I gladly avoided when they both started assuring each other by “Liking” each others’ comments that “religion is not needed to raise moral people” totally neglecting the fact that I’ve never once mentioned anything close to that idea. They created a totally new argument on my behalf and begin shooting it down. Straw Man Fallacy, a tendency of many people on my Facebook list apparently. A more recent one saw a French friend M complaining about how Japan doesn’t have stronger laws to eradicate racism like the UK’s Racial Relations Act. I offered a possible reason for the lack of such laws and she assumed that I think it is okay for Japan to not know and not have laws that prohibit racism. So, after some many such situations, I figured perhaps the problem doesn’t lie with how they interpreted my ideas, but how bad I am at expressing my thoughts. And I graduated from the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences where expressing our ideas is crucial. I should probably avoid getting into potential arguments hereafter.

Japanese people think of me as a powerful being by virtue of me being a graduate of NUS. Throw me a UTokyo undergraduate anytime, I can bet they are much smarter than I am. Forget UTokyo. Get me a Kaisei High School student. I can confidently say they know more stuff than I do. Regardless of how people see me, the idea of education that we had instilled in our minds was that it would be a tool to making money. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn how to make money. I learned how to work for people.

Till recently, I didn’t know how housing loans back home can easily double the amount you pay for an HDB unit you buy. For example, if you were to take a $500,000 loan over 35 years to purchase a $550,000 house. At the end of 35 years, you would’ve paid over $1 million. So, even if you could sell it off at $1 million, you’d still be making a loss.

The only thing I’m good at is saving money, which really is a fool’s way of planning for the future unless I can save much faster than the rate of inflation. Doesn’t sound likely. And to top that off, I quit my job a year ago to start doing my stuff. So, so what if I graduated from NUS? I’m no better, if not worse, than the average salaryman from the average university.

Teach me how to grow my money. Anyone.


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