Obsession with ranking reports and indexes

I have a million-dollar question without tio-ing TOTO – what’s with our obsession with all these international ranking reports or indexes?

I guess it started off with the more regular universities rankings where NUS was constantly ranked top in Asia – but not anymore when PRC’s Tsinghua University overtook NUS. Maybe when you type tsinghuarejects.com, it would now be redirect to NUS’ website?


And how can we forget the Pisa – not Pizza – rankings by OCED. The ranking showed that we are indeed book-smart, but not street-smart, as Singaporean students topped the ranking for Maths and Science.


But I think the turning point was the “lame-ass” Oxfam report that ranked us below Ethiopia and Afghanistan for tackling inequality. The report made our government damn “hot” until two of our Ministers decided to question the report’s “erroneous indicators”, asking if we were to follow the “Western standards” of taxing the people more to close the inequality gap.


The Oxfam report is ultimate “face-palm” lor. Hello, when the government said they wanna increase our GST “after the next GE”, with all the recent “5 cent-10 cent” tax hikes for our electricity, gas, S&CC etc., we already KNN KPKB until the “cow don’t wanna come home”. And if we were to follow the “Oxfam’s standards” of taxing more, you see lah, “confirm-plus-chop” we will “flip every table” we can find in all our hawker centres, including the one at Jurong West.


But hor, maybe because Oxfam is funded by George Soros, then he buay song our government for discrediting his “Padawan”, PJ Thum, for his “horse-shit” testimony on fake news. So now, it’s “revenge” time, and maybe Soros decided to use the Oxfam report to whack us? Disclaimer hor, all these are “maybes”, and probably “fake news”? Don’t take it so seriously ok, chillax!

Then came the World Bank’s Human Capital Index where Singapore was ranked top for investing in our people and helping them realise their full potential. Finally something we are more song and can hao lian about.

But few days later, Mercer’s 2018 Singapore Employee Engagement Index ranked us second last in Asia-Pacific because our satisfaction levels among Singaporean workers have dropped consistently over the last three years. The drop was damn obvious, like how the “rain was dropping like grapes”, because, worldwide, workers in other countries are more song with their bosses and companies – that was why their engagement levels were higher?


Ok, back to the main question. So does topping these international reports and indexes really make Singapore better as a country? Are we chasing these numbers for the sake of chasing it, until we are blind-sided about the true essence of these rankings? Or isn’t in our DNA that we need “outside people” to give us the ‘thumbs up” to say Singapore is an “almost perfect country”, just like what travel vlogger Nas daily did?

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I don’t have solid answers to these questions. Of course it felt shiok to top these rankings for some of the good works we have done. But hor, if we take them too seriously, then we would be chasing down the numbers like no tomorrow – just like what parents were doing with their kids’ PSLE T-Score until it created additional stress for the parents and kids.

I think Singapore, as a society, is already very stressed le. No need for all these additional stress from chasing the numbers for these international rankings.

Sit back, chillax, and have a cup of kopi! We need it.