When Lady Gaga was in high school…

When she was in high school, Lady Gaga says, she was thrown into a trash can.

The pop superstar now wants to use her fame and influence to address the problem of bullying in schools.

An excellent commentary by Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times.


Food for thought on pop culture and contemporary music, which are topics that do appear in GP exams. Also it is worth considering the power of celebrity (by that I mean the state of being famous) to change the world. To what extent do celebrities have a responsibility to be good role models, take up good causes and make the world a better place?

My job isn’t to tell your kids how to act or not to act.
– Miley Cyrus

The truth of it is every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation.
– Taylor Swift

In Singapore, we tend to be too dependent on the government to solve our problems (which is the “top-down” approach that Gaga alluded to). Lady Gaga decided on a “bottom-up” approach, mobilising her followers to start a movement. There are signs that Singaporeans are becoming a more engaged, proactive citizenry though, what with several groups lobbying the government quite aggressively to preserve the Bukit Brown cemetery recently instead of destroying large parts of it to build the North-South Expressway. As Singaporeans become more vocal and assertive of their democratic freedoms, the question is what degree of this behaviour would be healthy for Singapore. A society that is disengaged and apathetic is not cohesive and lacks a sense of belonging; a society that is intensely engaged and overly passionate about causes can become divided and fractious, like what we often see in Britain and America. How do we strike a balance going forward?

Lastly, the Lady Gaga-inspired movement makes us contemplate the astonishing power of online social media. She has the most Twitter followers in the world. While Twitter often fosters the most vapid, asinine chatter ever seen in the history of the human race, it can also be a force for good.

by Steven Ooi, GP & English tutor
B.A. (First Class Honours), English Language, NUS
For enquiries on GP or English tuition, please call 98392152
To learn more about the tutor, please click “About the tutor/testimonials” above.

About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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2 Responses to When Lady Gaga was in high school…

  1. Huey Teng says:

    I agree that some level of proactiveness is beneficial to singapore’s development. Singaporeans are known to be good workers as we are submissive and are able to execute tasks effectively and efficiently. However, critics often raise the issue of singaporeans lacking creativity and leadership qualities due to our societal apathy. Thus, being more proactive in learning from various sources may encourage us to be more innovative and creative.

    • gptuitionsg says:

      Good points there, Huey Teng. Traditionally Asians are known for their efficiency and social stability built from conformity. That may have worked well for Singapore in the past when our economy mainly consisted of manufacturing and logistics eg port operations. However today, we are steadily losing our edge in manufacturing to emerging economies like China and Mexico, which have lower costs of land and labour and have steadily moved up the value chain to produce increasingly sophisticated goods like hard disks and smartphones. A small country with no natural resources like Singapore cannot compete merely on efficiency and social stability. We need creativity and ingenuity, so I suppose we need to shed much of our traditional apathy, conformity and possibly even deference to authority. We need to become more independent, critical thinkers. Painful as it may sound, we probably need to become a little less Asian.

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