I applaud the The Public Service Commission (PSC)’s bold decision to offer a scholarship for the pursuit of a master’s degree in Buddhist studies at Oxford University.

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

I applaud the The Public Service Commission (PSC)’s bold decision to offer a scholarship for the pursuit of a master’s degree in Buddhist studies at Oxford University.

Our culture and educational system has largely been influenced by what economists call the human capital model.

In short, the focus is on helping students find better jobs, increase their incomes, and become a productive resource for the economy and society.

As a result of influence of the human capital model, many students may not fully develop their characters, values, and responsibilities to the people around them.

Learn how to work together to address social injustice and environmental challenges.

They may consciously or subconsciously believe that success is measured mainly according to economic, financial and material terms.

Meritocracy is thus treated as a zero sum game. They have to beat others in academic and other assessments to do well.

Another downside of an over-emphasis on the human capital model is that many students may be more interested in cultivating disciplines that can help them enjoy a higher income or improve their socioeconomic status.

As a result, there may be an over-emphasis on studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Students may be less inclined to undergo broader and deeper learning programmes, and to seek a better understanding of the people and world around them.

Sadly, some of these programmes can help students better appreciate the finer things in life, think more creatively and critically, and pursue more meaningful and sustainable causes.

Is it possible that over-emphasis on the human capital model has contributed to many of the issues in society, including the Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome, a prevalent issue in many quarters of society?

Perhaps, it’s time to re-think and refresh our culture and educational philosophy, and review how we can help students achieve more holistic, balanced and altruistic outcomes.

Become a wise, moral, responsible, and useful person who is proactive in helping those who are less advantaged, and in strengthening workplaces, communities, and society.

Students should be enlightened to believe that they can win while at the same time, help others to win. That way, everybody can enjoy a bigger win in the grand scheme of life.

Otherwise, students may perceive that helping others should only be done after they have done well in material terms, and it’s a secondary duty.

To help us develop a more holistic, balanced and effective culture and educational system, we should groom an adequate number of our future leaders in different disciplines, including religious studies.

Religious studies, including Buddhist studies can help leaders strengthen their moral compass, develop positive values, and cultivate healthy principles to guide them in looking after communities and society.

They can also help our leaders develop not just compassionate and inclusive economic intelligence, but also creative and aesthetic, emotional and cultural, and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences.

When our leaders have these intelligences or a combination of these and other intelligences, it can help them better lead, manage and work with others.

Learn to better appreciate beauty and aesthetic values, and become more creative and innovative.

And be able to communicate hard issues and tough decisions in a more humane, persuasive and effective way.

In addition, there are ample evidence to suggest that by having a higher level of diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism in the leadership, it can contribute to improving creativity and innovation.

When there are adequate leaders who are trained in different disciplines and exposed to a wider variety of experiences, they can also bring forth different ideas, concepts and initiatives that may help achieve radical breakthroughs and results.

It bodes well to remember that the faster the world changes and the more advanced we become, the more we should return to roots of our being, core of our values, heart of our aspirations, and a higher purpose of living.

These are values that you may not find online or download from the Internet, nor can they be programmed and executed by robots, drones, and other automated technology.

Technology cannot fulfil the deepest human needs, enhance our sense of security and stability, and help us reach out to develop meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

In the near future, advanced technology will put into our hands the power to create accelerated and scalable problems or accelerated and scalable solutions.

Therefore, the advancement of technology should be underpinned and guided by moral, ethical and spiritual innovations.

The rise of more advanced machines should help us become more enlightened in focusing on what truly matters in work and life.

We should become more purposeful, productive and progressive in achieving worthier and more fulfilling pursuits.

As I’ve always said, the worst disease is not to have a heart for people and the environment.

Religious and other social studies can potentially help to galvanize our collective consciousness to help the last, the lonely, the lost, and the least.

And galvanize our spirits and energies to help resolve war, poverty, and other forms of pain and suffering.



I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

Follow me on:

Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Let’s connect on instagram.com/patrickliewsg
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //twitter.com/patrickliew77
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

My Quora https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Liew-5?share=24abf3c1&srid=uL2Gz

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: