Getting into this box is what's best for both of us. During your time in the box, you will learn so much, and yet experience so little. It's a wild ride, my friend, one well worth the time spent...and let's face it, you don't have much to do these days anyway.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Well, seems like credentialism is alive and well despite the world economy slowly sinking.

Have a gander at this, folks.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Singapore lingo: ITE is the Institute of Technical Education, where those deemed as stupid, unfit and vile by Singaporean society go at the ages of 17-18 to learn such vile technical skills required by industries, amongst them blue-collar trades such as computer servicing, plumbing, and electrical work. It frankly comes as no surprise that one of the results of the Cult of Education is the glorification of the credentialed, white-collar job. And naturally with it comes the snobbery of the edumafajcated like Austin.

Francis left a comment on my posts not too long ago:
"I'll be honest, this one really bothers me. You get guys like Bill Powell and Dr Illusion who are great with their hands, and then someone like myself who is fucken useless in that regard.

I also think we're missing out on something big as a result. Recently we had a blocked drain. I made an effort to unclog it by taking the pipe off myself with some tools. Because it was my first time, it took ages to do it. But eventually, I got it working and the feeling was ten times more satisfying than solving a maths equation within the confines of the cathedral.

Plumbers, farmers, brick layers etc...I have enormous respect for these guys."
Please remember that the ultimate goal of education, as Cappy Cap points out, is an investment to earn you money. That is all. There is no point spending so much on "an experience", and it is quite foolish to pay the State to indocrinate you into a neat little worker cog in the grand GDP generator for its own sake.

I wonder if our friend Austin will go on to get a worthless liberal arts major, maybe in poetry or puppetry. As the world economy continues to sink, there will be fewer and fewer jobs for the holders of worthless degrees; this is a fact. No matter how good your grades were or how pretentious you are, you're going to be worthless in the world to come unless you have a honest-to-god marketable skill that you can barter in exchange for your survival.

Let's have a look at what's in store for the UK, shall we?
The picture is truly dire for the army of university graduates: only five of the top 30 fastest-growing occupations expected to create the most jobs by 2020 require an undergraduate degree (or an additional post-graduate qualification) – nursing, teachers in higher education, primary school teachers, accountants and medical doctors – and 10 of the top 30 don’t require any kind of qualification at all.
Mm-mm-mm, all those kids walking around neck-deep in debt and their worthless degrees in poetry and puppetry sure give us hope for the future. It's sort of interesting, seeing higher education crumble in the West, and wondering when it's going to catch up here as well. We've always had a somewhat greater emphasis on STEM subjects, but that's been diluted somewhat in recent decades due to our local universities buying into the whole PC "holistic education" claptrap.

And the evidence keeps on piling up that grades are no longer any measure of ability, but rather ability to conform.

Blue-collar jobs are paying more and more these days in the West, I hear. Welders, oil riggers, electricians, mechanics...the future techs of the world that's to come. When I graduate in a few months, maybe I should look to getting a job that'll take me to the plant floor instead of some cushy office. It'll help if I can build some practical skills instead of the theoretical stuff I've been playing with in class, talk and learn from the operators and mechanics.

Cappy Cap recommends learning to fix and upgrade things yourself, and it is more than possible to do it with places like Youtube and the Khan Institute available. I know one senior of mine who now runs an IT store/repair service, and although he's not hiring at the moment his ideal employee interview would be to give the applicant a breadboard and some other components; by the end of the day, the applicant would have to build a DOS-capable machine from them.

Credentials are meaning less and less meaningful as standards of education decline. Singaporean STEM is still reasonably strong, but I can't help but wonder...

To echo Francis' comment, I remember when I first upgraded my computer myself with the intent of installing some RAM. Simple enough job, right? Watching a few youtube videos on the subject and checking my system specs confirmed that my motherboard took DDR3 RAM at a certain MHZ, and I was so confident at the thought of installing the sticks that even the little line in my warranty that stated it'd be void if I opened up the computer on my own didn't deter me.

I mean, how hard could it be? Pull aside the plastic clips, seat the RAM sticks, and then set them back. Easy, right?

Next day, I doodled down to the student co-op, purchased a couple of RAM sticks, and doodled back home before realising what a dumbass I'd been.

I hadn't specified whether I'd wanted desktop or laptop RAM, so in accordance with the usual desires of students the co-op had given my laptop RAM and I'd been so confident in myself that I hadn't bothered to crack the case open and check.


They were nice enough to change it for me once I'd presented my receipt and paid the balance, though. Armed with desktop RAM this time, I unscrewed my computer case, checked my motherboard for the RAM seats like the videos had shown, and proceeded to seat the sticks. They fit, but the plastic holders wouldn't click on either of the new sticks despite me being sure everything was aligned correctly.


Struggling with the sticks for fifteen minutes, wondering if I'd made another mistake. Beads of sweat rolling down my forehead.

Oh fuck, what if I sweat into my computer?

A hurried mop of my brow with a sleeve.

But finally, finally, the clips click into place without me snapping the ram sticks in half. I drop down onto my ass for a moment, take a few deep breaths, then right the computer, screw back the casing, and power the damn thing up.

It works. The RAM is detected just fine.

Something as small as fixing a pipe or installing RAM, a huge sense of achievement for today's average feminised male, divorced from the need to work with his hands, provided for with everything.

Edjamafascation isn't going to teach one that; instead, quite the opposite.


  1. I friend of mine works for a small software company that advertised for a computer programmer (I think with a couple of languages knowledge).
    They got hundreds of applications for an entry level position and narrowed it down to about fifteen by choosing only those with actual experience and with a Masters in programming.
    Most of them looked good on paper, but the litmus test they put them all to was to sit them at a computer at the interview stage and tell to program a simple program from scratch.
    Most of them COULDN'T DO IT, not even the one with a Masters and experience in three different languages.
    In the end the quiet guy with not a lot of credentials got the job, but not before all the other applicants had ruined the credibility of University computer degrees in the eyes of these old-school programmers.

    1. University degrees are steadily becoming more and more worthless, even in STEM.