Breaking Bonds In S'pore

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Breaking Bonds in Singapore Never in the history of Singapore has bond-breaking being so fiercely debated. It stole the limelight in the reporting scene in the Strait Times for much of the period between early July to mid August this year. It erupted when 25 undergraduates currently on overseas scholarships saying they do not see a problem in breaking their six-year scholarships bonds in an interview by the Sunday Times(Sunday version of the Strait Times) as reported on July 9 2000. Moreover, 11 out of the 25 undergraduates admitted that they do not intend to serve the six years of bonding. When news broke out, it created a big commotion in the community. There were comments from various sides namely the public, the sponsors, the government bodies and academics alike. It is similar to being grouped as deviant behavior of the group as viewed by the society. The act of non- conformity to a set of norms in Singapore modern but still conservative society is what is worrying the critics.

No one has ever heard of breaking bonds until a Mr. Hector Yee comes into the picture in February 1998. He was an National Computer Board (NCB) scholar who broke his bond because he wanted to do research under a distinguished professor at his university but the NCB insisted that he returned to serve first. Mr. Yee refused and paid a compensation sum in order to break his bond. The public came to know about this when the government boards (Economic Development Board and NCB) decided to name bond breakers publicly to stem a worrying trend. ("Boards named bond breakers to stem worrying trend", Strait Times Interactive, February 28 1998). Mr. Hector Yee was one of those named. It is simply ideological power at work here as illustrated using...