“Don’t ask me what’s my age, I’m ageing every second,” shared Jade. The 63-year-old is a teacher at NIE International, whose key mission is to develop Singapore as a leading global educational and research hub. Jade used to teach Mathematics and Science (Chemistry) in secondary schools for over 40 years.
Jade’s journey in education began when she was awarded a teaching scholarship in the 1960s. At that time, being a teacher was a means of supporting her parents. Her family was poor, as with most families in Chinatown then, “Being poor means all the more I needed to be hardworking,” she shared.
She goes on to note the differences in Singapore then and now. Jade finds a striking lack of community spirit in today’s society. “Nobody needs a tutor if you have good children. It boils down to parenting. Chinatown was full of poor people and single parents, but we didn’t go astray due to our closely-knit ties in the neighbourhood. Today, there is no neighbourliness. RCs (Resident Committees) may bring our seniors out with good intentions, but they usually sit there and do nothing. There is more work [for the community] that needs to be done.”
However, she believes that change can start from the home, and cautioned that our society should not be too dependent on our Government. “You must have the conscious effort to so what you think is good. Charity begins at home. If parents don’t care, you think that children will care?”