Thursday, August 21, 2008


An article, published in the Sunday Times last week, on local graduates’ views about donating to their alma mater parallel those of mine, that there is an apparent lack of attachment to our alma mater.

While varsities in Europe and America have not much of a difficulty in garnering millions of dollars donated by their alumni, Singapore’s alumni seem to need much goading, or even cajoling from their alma mater towards giving to their alma mater. NUS and NTU are not getting the donation amounts they could have possibly ‘reaped’ from their thousands of ex-students. The only lone bright spot, which fared slightly better in figures was SMU, and this might stem from a deeper sense of attachment to the school inculcated in their students and alumni?

Since graduating from one of the local universities some years back, I have been consistently receiving newsletters and brochures from my alma mater pleading me to donate to their school development. However, as highlighted earlier, I feel no sense of attachment or bonding to my alma mater, with which I have spent good four years. The same sentiment was echoed by many graduates in the same report when surveyed.

Every moment in my alma mater was spent attending lectures, tutorials, doing projects, flitting from one faculty to another, taking cross-faculty modules. The lecturers and tutors did just average, not really forging the sense of intimate bond with me or any other students that could be developed in secondary schools. To be honest, many of these lecturers or tutors were also researchers, Master or PhD students, or appointment holders, juggling many hats thus it is understandable they had limited time to grant further coaching to students after class. What they give outside of class to students was still much appreciated, welcome and an excellent dedication on their part.

True, students could take part in many CCAs in varsities and along the way, develop an inkling of affection for the school……..but this come at a premium, the spectre of falling grades amidst the cut-throat, tenacious and unrelenting competition for the ‘A’s among the locals, the PRCs and the Indians.

Thus, is it any wonder I and many could not feel an inch of attachment to our alma mater?

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