Making Sense of Life @ / & SMU: A Partial Guide for the Clueless

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This extraordinary volume provides unexpectedly heart-warming and heart-breaking insights into the interior lives and thoughts of SMU business graduates. It is both a paean to and an indictment of Singapore’s education system and its excessively powerful formative impact on individual lives, family relationships, and Singapore society as a whole. Their intensely per­sonal reflections, unleavened by humour, lay bare the contradictory liberating and homogenising effects of an undergraduate business education (not peculiar to SMU or Singapore only), while refreshingly engaging the too-often-taboo topics of race, religion, sexual orientation and social class.

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Making Sense of Life @ / & SMU: A Partial Guide for the Clueless

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"This collection of essays is a sample of the diverse expectations, emotions and experiences that undergraduates may encounter as they find their own meaning in life within, outside and beyond the university. This book is relevant not just to those involved in university life. I recommend it to anyone interested in seeing things from different and fresh perspectives." — David Chan, Professor, School of Social Sciences, Director, Behavioural Sciences Institute, Singapore Management University

"The essays in this fine compilation gives us an insight into the hopes and aspirations, doubts and apprehension of a generation of Singaporeans that's coming of age at a time when Singaporeans can no longer expect the spectacular economic growth of the first five decades of independence. But the essays also give us reason to be optimistic about Singapore's future; they are diverse, thoughtful and illuminating." — Donald Low, Associate Dean (Executive Education), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS)

"Fifty four reflective pieces by SMU business school seniors. A kaleidoscopic introspective view from Singapore youth, unevenly finished but always colourful, authentic and interesting, they capture the idealism, angst, dreams and fears of a millennial generation born into a hyper competitive, pragmatic, highly regulated society and an uncertain global environment. A valuable insight into the coming of academic age in one of the Lion City's more progressive universities." — Dr Yeoh Lam Keong, Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS

"These essays elicit the ability of graduating business students to consolidate their knowledge, apply skills acquired, analyse and critically reflect upon both, including their life and campus experiences, in preparation for professional life. Their philosophical slant, encouraged by broad reading of the classics not always associated with business schools, testifies to an admirable development of self-awareness, resilience, confidence and sense of identity of SMU business seniors. Unique, often illuminating insights into their varied lives, problems, experiences, aspirations, or meditations upon issues such as meritocracy, stoicism, impermanence, cynicism and so on, make these writings by such well-educated youth, instructive reading." — Koh Tai Ann, Professor, former Dean of Arts, National Institute of Education and former Dean of Students, Nanyang Technological University


Pang Eng Fong