Writer Of The Week

Mr Chee with his girlfriend, Ms Pham Nguyen Tuong Van, 28. Mr Chee writes on education, legal and social issues, having been trained in social sciences and the law.
Mr Chee with his girlfriend, Ms Pham Nguyen Tuong Van, 28. Mr Chee writes on education, legal and social issues, having been trained in social sciences and the law.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROBIN CHEE MING FENG

Who: Robin Chee Ming Feng, 34, private tutor in General Paper.

My family: I am an only child. My dad is 62 and my mum is 61.

My home: A flat in the western part of Singapore.

My passions: Competing in quiz competitions, watching art house movies and sports events, compiling lists of top restaurants and hawker centres, researching popular culture of the 1970s and 1980s, and travelling.

I first started writing to the Forum page in...: 2005, when I was studying at the National University of Singapore, on the poor phrasing of a survey question resulting in inaccurate observations about undergraduates' views.

Many of my friends noticed the inaccuracies in the study but chose to remain silent. I decided that doing so would only add to the notion that local undergraduates are passive and submissive.

What I write about: Education, especially on the recent changes to fundamental policies in primary schools and in tertiary institutions; sports-related issues such as the cost and availability of sports broadcasts and the Government's investments in sports; legal policies (as I was previously working in the legal sector); matters concerning social issues, national identity and integration, sharing what I have observed as a former sociology lecturer/tutor; as well as local politics.

Why I write: To provide alternative views to debates on issues pertinent to Singapore. As an individual who is trained both in the social sciences and law, I believe it is also my duty to share what I have learnt and observed from these two fields.

There have also been occasions when I wanted to support the views of another writer and also to correct what I felt were misconceptions made by another writer.

I read the Forum page because...: It functions as the heartbeat of Singapore. One glance at the letters published is all it takes to know how Singaporeans feel about any given issue. It is also refreshing to get a glimpse of the comments and ideas from the ground up.

My wish for Singapore: That it would be a nation which celebrates its talents in the arts, humanities and social sciences and not just its talents in the sciences and information technology sectors.

That it becomes known for its leisure opportunities and is not just celebrated as an arena filled with hard-working people.

That it would be more open and accepting of individuals with unique preferences or attributes, and that its citizens would be more inclined to be engaged with and to voice their views on matters important to them.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Writer Of The Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe