Suing for a Scholarship

Disclaimer: I was a government scholar at Cambridge.

I read an article in TheStar a couple of days ago, about a teenager suing a GLC – Khazanah – for failing to get a scholarship to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge. From the article, “… to sue Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Yayasan Khazanah and its director after his son failed to get a scholarship offered by the foundation and the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust.”

Amazing!

After reading about the suit further, “Chan is seeking to invalidate the three scholarships already given out by the national investment company. Further to that he claims compensation and damages for distress and embarrassment due to being rejected.”

I thought to myself – what a well angled suit. It threatens to cause a huge public relations problem for Khazanah by seeking to nullify the other scholarships, and also claims a large amount of unquantifiable damages and compensation for emotional distress.

In the past, when someone did not get a scholarship, they would just swallow their lumps and move one. It may not have been fair but it built character at least. In 1999, someone cried to the news media and opened the flood-gates so that any crier would get a scholarship. Today, someone has up-the-ante by suing for a scholarship. I hope that the government settles out of court and awards the scholarship. That would bring the game to a whole other level – the height of incredulity!

I think that it is a great idea to sue for one reason – to highlight the systemic problems that plague the scholarship system in our country. We all know that there are serious problems with our scholarship system that get dragged out into the public eye annually for the last decade. Maybe it’s about time someone dragged it out in the courts.

I hope that this lawsuit would at least trigger a revamp of the system and a return to sanity.

It’s frakkin’ broke!

PS: That said, I think that it’ll do his son loads of damage at Cambridge but a father has to do what he has to do to help his son. As a retiring lawyer, he’s fighting the system with the best tool that he has.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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