Welcome to the Ministry of Small Matters

Opinion  |  James Chai
Published:  | 

COMMENT | Welcome to the Ministry of Small Matters. This ministry has everything - ministers and officers who are well-paid and well-fed, posh hallways and grand offices that impress every guest, the aura of power that runs through every feudalistic vein. But the ministry has no research department.

The ministers agreed that a research department was not necessary since only small decisions would be made - the ones that are easy to understand, easy to execute. They understand the foremost mission is to not upset the electorate or push through a vision that could radically alter the system.

Make only small decisions so you can show the people that you have done something, even though no substantive improvements to the people’s lives are felt. Tell the people that change is generally hard and change is specifically hard because the ministry was left with a big mess of the past.

Remember, only make small decisions.

The most highly-anticipated area of change was in education. Most people who have gone through the public education system know that there is an entrenched problem that requires urgent attention.

The people expect the government to articulate a new vision on what education should be so that our children’s lives will be better than ours.

Should education train our skills to match the requirements of the market? Should education serve as a tool to correct long-standing inequality?

Should education be used to hone a sense of patriotism so that citizens are ready to participate in the development of the country? Should education make our children critical and creative citizens ready to chart a path of their own? Should education be designed specifically and individually, rather than generally and collectively?

But the people were left disappointed. The common man frowns at the “black shoe, black socks” policy that seems to have been the only policy that stayed in everyone’s mind. There was a short-lived reading campaign launched by the ministry that was as forgettable as the last book we read...

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