A letter dated 27 July that was purportedly written by the Chief Executive Officer of MindChamps Preschool @ Liang Court , Mr Ray Ong Swee Liong, went viral for its allegedly elitist and discriminatory content regarding the application for the grassroots leadership of the River Valley Neighbourhood Committee.
In the letter, Mr Ong wrote that parents of children attending MindChamps Preschool “have been given priority access to sign up as grassroots leaders with River Valley Neighbourhood Committee”.
According to the CEO of the preschool, signing up as grassroots leaders, will allow them to “receive recommendation letters for schools within our [River Valley] precinct, for example River Valley Primary School”.
He added that “in order to be an active grassroots leader”, parents are required to “participate actively in their program and organise up to two activities or major events”.
He also said that the primary aim of the priority access is “to help ease the stress during the Primary 1 enrollment exercise”, on top of giving back “to society” as well as to “foster greater synergy […] amongst Singaporeans”.
Love Singapore 爱新加坡 posted a photograph of the letter, and attached the following caption in their Facebook post:
This is just so wrong!
Shame on you, MindChamps and River Valley Neighbourhood Committee Volunteers!
Giving volunteerism a bad name.
Netizens have also chided the preschool and the neighbourhood committee for the elitist undertones of the letter:
Loh Kok Leong said:
Should tag the MP for that district
Timothy Cheng wrote:
People with bigger titles will be given the priorities? So humane What are you? Must be the Creator? A hero? Or a celestial being?
Angela Khoo commented:
How low can you go?!?
Gary Chan said:
Slave-driving process in progress?
Richard A C Wong wrote:
Are we becoming like the third world countries, going by the back door? Where is all of the transparency that our Government always talks about?
Loh Kok Leong said:
Anyone knows who is the MP for River Valley?
Kenny Zeng Huttons commented:
I thought all schools are good schools. LOL.
Ngan Wei Liang wrote:
Thought this has been going on for a long time?
Matahari Aerial said:
Ugly side of these schools’ politics!
Andy CinDear Gay wrote:
This letter should be addressed to the most kiasu parent. What is so great about this River Valley Primary School?
In the wake of Mr Ong’s letter, My River Valley Neighbourhood has issued a statement on their Facebook post yesterday, stating that “the letter was prepared solely by the preschool” without having consulted the neighbourhood committee beforehand:
My River Valley Neighbourhood Committee added that “the information cited in the letter was inappropriate and inaccurate” despite MindChamps’ “good intention to encourage parents to contribute to the community”.
The committee added that they have “since communicated with MindChamps” and that the preschool is “apologetic in this whole incident”, concluding that MindChamps “have agreed to retract the letter”.
A revision of Mr Ong’s response on 29 July was posted five hours later, as the initial response was wrongly dated: