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Welcome to this week's issue of the Birthday Workbook! We hope you have had a very merry Christmas. As we wind down the year, we bring back a timeless piece from one of our first Workbook editions. This essay was written by Teo You Yenn, a sociologist from the Nanyang Technological University who researches inequality in Singapore.

Before you read her essay, watch the following video.
  • From the video, what are the four qualities of empathy?
  • How is empathy different from sympathy? What makes empathy difficult?
  • Recall any conversation you have had where someone has shared with you their pain, how do you think you could practice empathy better?
Now read the following article:
Read on Mothership
Consider the following questions:
  1. How does You Yenn's introductory line set the tone for the rest of her essay?
  2. What are the 3 stories of Singapore's education system?
  3. How do these stories of the education system perpetuate an individualist lens? 
  4. Why is it necessary to recognize privilege in our lives? What privileges do you think you have had in your educational journey?
  5. Why do you think people travel along different "lanes"? Do you think that COVID-19 has had any effect on the "lanes" people travel along?
  6. With reference to both the video and You Yenn's essay, how should we take steps to build a more inclusive society?
  7. Do you think COVID-19 has made Singapore a more or less empathetic society?

Further resources
You can also explore the topic of education on our podcast series Collectively Speaking, hosted by our lovely Geetha Creffield and Christopher Chok who alongside other educators discuss the issue of collaborative and future-ready education. Tune in on Spotify or Apple Podcast!

If you love You Yenn's piece, you can read other exciting pieces by purchasing a copy of the Birthday Book right here. We have also recently launched the Birthday Book Junior: 20/20 where you can read about the youthful experiences and futures of Singapore right here.

That's all for this week! Stay safe, take care, and have a happy new year!
© 2020 The Birthday Collective

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