One thing about life in Singapore, the people here sure do like their numbers. Everything is measured in numbers, it seems. Adults are measured by their salaries, and children are measured by their grades in school.
But honestly, numbers don’t tell the whole story. I guess they probably tell you the bottom line, but there’s always more to everything than just the bottom line.
In a recent Vikings win over Jaguars (Go, Vikings!), the score was 26-23. You look at that number, and you’ll be like “Yeah that was probably a close game.”
But calling it a close game is a a gross understatement! Check out what happened in the game:
- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson put in an incredible performance for someone that’s just come out of a major surgical procedure – and also surpasses Robert Smith (the football player, not the lead singer of the Cure) as the Vikings’ leading running back of all time.
- The Vikings coughed up a late-game lead when the Jags converted a 4th-down play and took the lead back with less than a minute to play.
- As if that wasn’t nail-biting enough, the Vikings come back and bring the ball back up to Jag territory with 4 seconds left on the clock!
- An unproven rookie kicker ties the game with a huge 55-yard field goal, bringing the game into over-time!
- The same kicker then secures an over-time lead with a 38-yard field goal.
- New NFL rules allow the other team a shot at an OT win because the Vikings didn’t score a touch-down, and the Vikings defense steps up their game to prevent another Jaguar comeback.
- My favorite team wins their first match of the season, and likewise I lose the first game in my fantasy football league.
Once you know the full story, suddenly “26-23” just doesn’t cut it anymore as a way to describe the game.
Likewise, a kid’s report card doesn’t tell you his full story. Maybe he’s not so good in maths, but he makes up for it with incredibly creativity. Maybe that creativity can’t be graded properly, because he’s either not enrolled in an art-related class, or his teacher is just a scumbag.
It’s the same with paper qualifications in the working world. Singaporeans (especially those in the public sector) place an incredible amount of trust in a job-seeker’s resume. It seems like if he/she comes from a good school with good grades, HR will spring a hard-on the size of China.
Never mind that this candidate is only good at memorizing and regurgitating text books and will Blue Screen of Death whenever he/she is faced with a problem that isn’t described in a book somewhere, has the EQ of a goldfish, or has no proper work experience… as long as this person has a National University of Singapore alumni sticker on their car, their resume goes onto the top of the pile.
It pains me that the same douchebags that sit around in a circle comparing their school grades (I’ve overheard lots of conversations where they say things like “my school had 24 students in the top 1% of last year’s A-levels”) will eventually be elected into political positions or be hired into senior positions in the government. Their parents will constantly brag about how their son earns a five-figure monthly salary and went to a prestigious school, while the parents of a hardworking and good-willed social worker will be too ashamed to even mention they have a son.
I hope that someday, Singaporean society can start to look beyond the basic facts of numbers and realize that a person’s worth comes from more than just their salary and grades.
Random Trivia: When I first got interested in the NFL, I chose the Vikings as my favorite team of all time not because their team color is purple (it actually looked blue on my TV), but because they had a player with the same name as the lead singer of The Cure.