“We have the traditional path of people going into law and other professions when their first love was theatre and the arts” (Creative Industry Gets A Boost, Miss Sarah Chang).
I read with tremendous interest the report, “Creative Industry Gets A Boost” (August 13, 2010) by Miss Sarah Chang, particularly because of the underlying message that the traditional path of academic excellence should no longer remain as the singular route to success. Although the administration – through the Ministry of Education (MOE) – has made certain in-roads into the diversification of the education landscape in Singapore, the changing global demands have provided greater impetus for the MOE to move ahead more speedily and decisively from the status quo.
In the recent decades, we have observed the establishment of new institutions such as the Singapore Sports School (SSS), and the introduction of novel programmes and courses such as the Integrated Programme (IP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). Pedagogies and approaches in an assortment of schools have been consistently modified to expose students to more diverse fields of interest, and to grant them ample time and space to explore and grow beyond existing realms. Nevertheless, the administration’s insistence on economic productivity and professional distinction in regular professions has constantly nudged young individuals to give up their passions in more obscure fields, and instead function as cogs in our fiscal machinery.
The first step to lure more young Singaporeans to pursue their passions would be to expose them to a greater variety of career options in the arts, in theatre et cetera; and simultaneously to increase the number of study awards and scholarships to encourage them to further their studies in specialised institutes. Following their graduation, the respective corporations and agencies in the private and public sector would be able to tap on significantly on their education and talents to further groom many more generations who have married their passions with their careers. Different pathways should be offered to allow individuals to make more informed decisions for their future.
Beyond the students themselves, parents and educators must also recognise that while the fields of engineering, medicine, business and law remain extremely important and relevant, they should allow their kids to mould their visions based on their interests and abilities. In this dynamic twenty-first century – like a young professional rising up the ranks in a multi-national corporation (MNC) – a musical artiste or a creative producer has every shot at fame and fortune, with dedication, heart and perseverance.
Ultimately, those who succeed in their lives are those who strive on conscientiously despite the setbacks and challenges they may face; regardless of their choice of education, profession and careers.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.