Update (2017)

The blog post is written in 2013, when I was really upset with my life in UCTI/APU. It was a terrible, terrible university for anyone to be in. After dropping out, I have spent 8 months working in a digital agency as web developer. I have learned a lot there, and I have no regret dropping out of university.

So what made me went to MMU and get a degree then? Statutory requirement by Singapore government. So here’s the deal - this blog post applies to you if you do not intend to work outside Malaysia (my readers are mostly Malaysians I presume), it’s easy to get a job without any certification in Kuala Lumpur. Have a solid portfolio of your pet projects, freelance works and you are good to go.

If you did end up earning a degree, just go work in other countries, whether it’s Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, United States… come back later if you want to. But don’t waste the 4-5 years you have spent in an education institution that could have been better spent elsewhere.

#End of update 2017

Do not read if…

  • You want to go to college to get degree, not a good job
  • You want a stable and boring life
  • You just want to show off your cert
  • You want to work in cubicles

Do read if…

  • You believe that you should be contributing to the society, not just sitting in classrooms
  • You believe certs cannot bring you to high level as much as experience do
  • You want to create or co-found a startup and be legend
  • You hate bozosity
  • You want to know the motives behind dropouts and unschoolers

Joe the Farmer

Joe is a bout-to-be farmer. He knows very little, or almost nothing about farming, but he vows to become one, and a pretty legendary farmer. And so he shares his dream and ambition with everyone, and a large portion of his audience recommends him to go to the long-established Farmer Academy (FA).

Joe asked, “Why can’t I work for a farm and learn more about farming?”

Most replied, “No shit, on this world you need something to prove you are capable to do so, you have none. Suck it up and enter their farming programme. You can pursue your dream and master the skills later on. But for now get a damn cert.”

Eventually his parents heard about this, due to social pressure, his parents join the army and ask him to go to the academy too.

“Son, you cannot go very far with just Googling and asking people alone, you need to attend the school. The moment you get the cert, people will know you are good at farming, and you will get a job and live happily ever after.”

The program is not cheap, in order to get the cert, he needs to attend lectures and farm in a sandbox environment for 4 years. Sandbox environment refers to a farm that is not for real world application and solely for training. To his delight, the academy promised the following:

98% of our graduates get their first job within 6 months.

98%! How high the percentage is! Since most of his relatives have got their cert, got their jobs, have a stable life, living in nice-looking flats, have a good old car. Everything that average joes can dream for! And he forgot his initial dream, to be a legendary farmer.

And so he signed up, every day he attends the lectures that do not interest him, mingles with the peers that only play FarmVille, and sometimes, go to the library to enjoy air-conditioner. There is no life inside the academy. No girls want to be farmer, therefore it is a rather all-male environment. There is no practical happiness in it.

On 5th month, he has an assignment – to grow a red bean. It is what they all did during primary school science class! Boy they are repeating the same damn assignment, but with a twist. He has to apply whatever he saw from lecture slides to the red bean.

He remembers he learned a secret technique from his grandpa – a venerable farmer, on growing red bean. So he applied that technique to the red bean, and he managed to grow it so much taller than other peers, he is being called the Genius in his class, in his intake, in the academy.

But he failed the module. “Sir, why did I fail this?” he asked.

“You did not follow the syllabus, you did not follow what I taught you, and you applied illegal techniques, we call it cheating” said the lecturer.

He now lags behind his peers, as he need to redo the whole thing. The bozos that are jealous of him clapped hands, laughed behind him, and smudged his image on the Internet. He does not like it.

Eventually, he applies the knowledge from lecture slides to his precious red bean, and it grows, but not as tall, not as fast as his previous “illegal” one. He does not feel the autonomy, the craftsmanship over his latest work at all.

On his presentation day, he showed his work, and his lecturer marks an A on his result sheet, and said “Well done Joe!”.

So how does the academy take care of the red beans? Oh they don’t! There is not enough space for small projects like these, they have an incinerator network throughout the academy, each classroom has a hole that allows lecturers and students to dump their crops and plants in, and the incinerated plants are great fertilizers. And the red bean he grows for weeks? Become a small point that will be a part of bigger point called “GPA”.

During 4 years of farming program, he planted many things from red beans, to bamboo, to a 50 meters tall tree in a local tropical rainforest. He learned to take advantage of animals like cow to plough the field. He knows there is a new technology outside that can plough land easily, but his academy denies it and bans him from doing further research. The academy is aware of it, and the Thought Police goes into work, giving students tons of assignments and make sure they won’t on the look for simpler, shorter, cheaper ways to do something, thus protecting their business partner, a big farm corp that supplies cows to the farmer.

Everytime he finishes his work, the lecturer will come over and look at it, nods head, record down an A in the paper, and order people to chop it down and incinerate it. All the students are comparing their results, and Joe suddenly felt a sense of satisfaction with a series of aces. But he forgot that he should go out and be a legendary farmer.

Multiple career fair has been held in the academy. He is attracted by the perks and pays offered by different companies out there. With the cert, the assignments, the control, the peers, now perks and pays, he totally forgot the very reason he sets out to be farmer in the first place.

He worked in a company as intern for 3 months. But instead of letting him experience things that he should have experienced, he is ordered to bancuh kopi, command the cows to plough the land, and photocopy tons of documents for board of director meetings. Doesn’t matter, had letter, had cert, has jobs.

Eventually after 4 years of attending lectures, grow and incinerate plants and trees, drinking, having sex with girls from other schools, he graduated. He has the degree, which is only a piece of paper, made out of tree. And when he goes back to his hometown, his family and relatives all celebrated his success. Success of getting degree, not the success of becoming legendary farmer.

Soon he sends out work applications to many companies, and he is interviewed many times, but only few offered him a position, with low wages. But for months he has failed to secure a good-paying job, and the world is much more turbulent than what he is told in academy, he finally accepted the offer, and work as junior farmer.

“Do you know how to use iPlough?” his colleague, Robert asked.

“No, but I do know how to use cows.” he replied.

“You are damn retarded, now I have been assigned to teach you how to operate this goddamn machine for 1 month. The company is paying you to produce nothing!” Despite Robert’s frustration and Joe’s lack-of-knowledge, and to the company’s disappointment in all fresh graduates, they have no choice but to invest in him.

His company has approximately 9 employees, there is 1 particular employee who is much younger than him, about 2 years after leaving high school, has a higher position and higher pay as well.

Joe wonders why, that guy, Doe, he has no cert, no degree, but can get more pay than he does? So Joe starts to talk to him.

“Joe, Farmer Academy is a fab, they teach outdated craps, and they teach you how to use proprietary junks so that their partners can trap you in vendor lock-in and benefit themselves. The cert is no use and has no value.” Doe says.

“But my relatives…” Joe wants to ask, and straight away interrupted by Doe.

“Your relatives are from ages ago, at that time a cert is a necessity to find better jobs. But now they present no actual value, certs only survive because of the previous generations are bought into the idea, and education institutes like FA are promoting, and lying to people they gonna get a job. True, 98% of graduates get their first job in 6 months, unfortunately they never state which job they got, McDonald french fryers?

“And since their kids are sent into colleges and get certs, just like you did, they want to justify their wrong choice, to make sure you do not succeed and nor surpassing them, they urge you to go to FA instead. Everybody working here know FA is merely a fab. ” Doe explained.

Joe suddenly woke up, and he went on and asked, “Doe, what makes you dropout that day?”

Doe replied, with a bright smile, “To be legendary farmer :)”

And Joe, has his childhood dreams coming back, realized that he wasted 4 years, trapping in a big debt, and now racing in the never-ending rat race. But one thing he does not know quite for sure, “Doe, how are you supposed to be a legendary farmer?”

Doe said, “I cannot know whether I will be legendary, but I know I want to lead a much different life, a life free of rat race, and I self-study. And speaking on how I self-study, I will leave it to next time, I believe you are bit tired of learning new things huh? I proposed the idea of using iPlough though, tired of using cows and ancient techs and shits.”