Saturday, January 19, 2008

Obama On National Education

"In lines that stretched around schools and churches; in small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come." ~Senator Barack Obama, Iowa, 3 Jan 2008 (text)
A few hours after Obama victory at Iowa two weeks ago, I watched his speech on Youtube, and sat stunned as he talked about 'one people, one nation', amongst other things. It just seemed incredible to me at that time how he was just getting better and better at his speeches. This guy sure doesn't look like a politician. Politicians aren't supposed to be hopeful and uncynical. Politicians aren't supposed to make Youtube viewers sob just a little bit... As I thought more about the Obama movement and how parts of his speech are similar to our own National Education pronouncements, it suddenly dawned on me that those of us in Singapore who don't really like 'NE', and wish to see it being reduced in schools might have gotten the thing backwards. It now seems to me that far from reducing NE, we should be actively engaging in it because there is still much to be done. But it can only work when we are honest with people, when we say it like it is, when we acknowledge the intelligence of the population, that 'together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things', as Obama proclaims. Indeed, we can, as one people, and one nation.

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