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Can Someone Tell Me Why Our Scholars Aren’t as Smart as the Jews?

Posted by intellisg on July 29, 2007

scholars.jpgI AM sure we have all seen it too often. Usually it happens, when we follow behind as the guy in front walks up to receive the gold medal. Or after reading a seminal thesis that just leaves us all wondering, “why didn’t I think of cutting it that way?”

You know who I am talking about don’t you? Nope, not our elite homegrown Singaporean Scholars – I am referring to another bunch of elites! You know the likes of  Einstein, Marx and Freud. Who are these elites?

The Jews of course! Have you ever wondered why those Jews are so darn smart? They even make our scholars look like a bunch of intellectual paraplegics? What do those Jews really have? What’s behind their mojo, that gives them that advantage that allows them to run circles around our scholars, not every time, but all the time?

Do you really want to know their secret for success?

Before we dive in lets face it, most of us half believe and don’t, that Jews are really smart people, its one of those bag statements like: why did the chicken cross the road? Or how many monkeys can you fit into a mini? Those statements that belongs to the half way house of reality and implausibility – cut to the chase: are Jews really smarter than our scholars? Mmmmh, that’s a tough nut to crack isn’t it? After all don’t we have a scholarship program? Doesn’t our government regularly cull the crème de la crème and put them through the paces to produce “winners?” Don’t we even have a “nurture nature” program where we use the metaphor of “guppies” and “whales” to hopefully produce really smart people?

Pray tell then, why aren’t our scholars smarter than the Jews?

Now you may think this is some flippant weekend muse, but think again. I am asking a perfectly valid question. After all millions are spent every year on sustaining the scholarship program – many of these scholars after finishing their academic tenure are integrated into the various institutions with the hope of ensuring peak individual and organizational performance. So the scholarship program even affects those who aren’t directly scholars. How do these scholars really measure up when compared to the Jews?

Do the Jews have a comparative advantage because they’re simply more of them and less of us? After all, we all know our paltry population is hardly the stuff of critical mass. There’s only 3 point so-so million of us hardly even a drop in the sea of humans so hey what do you expect? It’s a numbers game you don’t really expect us to win. Right? Nope, in fact, I did some research and came up with some startling figures which suggest, the cerebral fitness of Jews has absolutely nothing to do with numerical superiority. Consider this: out of 25.2% of Nobel Prize Winners in the last 25 years have been Jews. Even though they comprise less then a quarter of one percent of the world’s population!

OK maybe they have some sort of natural advantage that our scholars don’t have – maybe a big fat clue lies in the old country where those Jews came from. When God was still prancing around earth turning wine to water, parting oceans, wasting whole communities with lighting rods and mega floods? Maybe the Jews have a “divine advantage.” I mean how the hell, do you expect our scholars to compete against God! (no wonder people keep on saying the brotherhood is unreasonable!) Don’t believe me? Even the Bible affirms this:

“Surely this is a wise an understanding race of people…” (Deu 4.6).

There you go directly from the big man upstairs. So it’s a done deal, let’s all pack our bags and go back home –we just got the shorter end of the stick and you know the rest of the story.

Hold on a second. I hear someone hollering, “The Jews are smarter than our scholars because of their glorious heritage?” Mmmmh sounds credible, especially when you consider in down town Jerusalem, anything less than 2,000 years is still considered modern.

I mean you can’t even sit, stand or lean on anything in the state of Israel without some pesky Rabbi poking you with his walking stick and reminding you, “hey, hey, careful that’s where Jesus sat! Hey, careful there! That’s where John the Baptist lost his head etc.” No doubt about it those Jews definitely have a long and rich heritage that harks back to a glorious past, maybe there’s some truth to it all. There must be something in their heritage that gives them all a competitive advantage. You can hardly blame our scholars. What do we have to compare with the glorious Jewish heritage? OK, we have one confused Merlion who vomits water along with a few trinkets of the past, hardly the stuff that makes the hair at the back of ones head stand up when we summon the word – heritage.

But hold on a second that’s the distant history of the Jews – it doesn’t really count does it? I mean if we really look at the recent history of Jews, weren’t everyone either trying to kill, drown or maim them in the dark ages? Weren’t they like dying off so fast, even Henry IV was forced to pass a charter, circa 1090, which banned Jew bashing: “If anyone shall wound a Jew, he shall pay one pound of gold ….his eyes will be put out and his right hand cut off.” I mean if people are trying to set you on fire or strangle you to death half the time what kind of competitive advantage can it really produce? And in the 20th century, didn’t this chap who threw a party in Munich, circa 1933 called the Nazi Party even pass the Nuremberg Act to discriminate against them? – didn’t he pack 6 million Jews off? So what kind of heritage are we talking here unless you believe regularly breathing in poison gas or surviving on a diet of twigs and insects is some secret diet that produces really smart people!

What’s happening here! Can someone please tell me: why our scholars aren’t as smart as those darn Jews?

Did someone say social conditioning? Oh you mean evolution? That makes sense, for instance, we all know in Singapore. The Hainanese community excels in the culinary field. They make the best chicken rice and kaya spread in the whole island only because most of them came here during the age of empire tagging along as house servants on the tail coats of their colonial masters – besides how can any food cognoscenti not know the Teo Chew’s serve up the best congee only because they originate from a delta where the soil was alluvial, hardly as even ideal rice farming conditions. Hence perfecting congee, the art of “more out of less” along with salting and pickling to tie then through the long winters – makes perfect sense. Right?

Social evolution…there could be something to this….mmmh.

According to M. Arkin’s “Aspects of Jewish Economic History” -one possible reason why the Jews are so smart is because they used to monopolize, the money lending trade which not only required a higher degree of skill once associates with farming or any of the traditional trades. So naturally, as time passed, those Jews started developing and honing their killer instincts, like business acumen, social skills: cultivating connections, winning over trust (or maybe bullying the competition, remember Shylock’s “pound of flesh”). So it’s fair to say, they may even have developed aggression, street wiseness and a competitive spirit that adds up to what we all term – smartness.

Hey but hold on a second, something doesn’t add up here! There’s a big deficit! If those Jews were so smart and developed razor sharp killer instincts how did they fail to see the likes of Adolf Hitler and his storm troopers marching with gongs and drums towards them? How did the Nazi’s manage to kill over 6 million Jews without even so much as a fight? If they’ve really so full of testosterone and street smart to suggest they could sniff out trouble like a blood hound, why did so many Jews step into those gas chambers masquerading as communal showers? Hey I mean, if it was me or you, we would probably ask – where’s the good morning towel? Where’s the mini sized Lux soap? Where’s the 200 thread count Robinson bath robe? Where is my bunny anti slip shower slippers? Nope it just doesn’t add up.

So the social evolution theory goes straight out of the window – what about genetics? Are the Jews genetically superior? Maybe our scholars can’t compete because our genetic pool just isn’t big enough? Do the Jews have a smart helix that allows them to carve a competitive advantage? There’s even a recent controversial paper published by the Journal of Ashkenazi Intelligence stating that genetic selection is the main reason why the Ashkenazi Jews typically produce a disproportionably large number of doctors, lawyers, professors, and Nobel Prize winners. But let’s put a scale on it, Ashkenazi Jews are minorities within minorities even within the broader Jewish population – less than even 2.7%! That’s like saying everyone that lives along a street in Singapore is super smart, hardly a statistical obelisk, that points to anything except a big fat nothing! Nope, again we can safely chuck out that theory. The Jews aren’t any smarter because of their genetic aristocracy anymore than kangaroo’s jump around because have pockets instead of breast.

However I need to be careful here, I don’t doubt for one moment there are plenty of refereed and even academic journals which seem to suggest otherwise, though I hasten to add, none of them goes beyond the polemics of even providing footnotes, let alone anything resembling an axiomatic ‘truth.’ Prove me wrong if you believe otherwise. I darkness challenge you! There’s absolutely no empirical proof suggesting Jews are genetically smarter!

To say that the Jews have a history of emphasizing scholarship is indeed true to even suggest that’s the reason why they are so smart is like saying the Sistine chapel is a Bible comic. I don’t doubt for one moment most children in Jewish households are comparatively more conscious of the importance of education but it still doesn’t go very far to answer why Jews are smarter than our scholars.

One reason according to S. Nuland, author of “How We Die” lies in the values and world view of Jews. For one unlike our scholars Jews don’t even expect to be treated fairly, let alone to be given such a thing as a level playing field to even suggest they have a privilege to state sponsored scholarship programs – it just doesn’t exist, not even in the state of Israel!

This “consciousness of disadvantage”, Nuland suggest promotes the whole idea of ‘portability” that’s why education is seen to be so important in the Jewish community (if you need to hightail what’s really important is in your head!) and probably evolved into the province of what we call today the Jewish academic aristocracy – it stands to reason, unlike our homegrown scholars who are often sold the idea of “stability and permanence.” The Jewish worldview is nothing short of a reversal of the whole notion of ‘permanence’ and instead reinforces how ‘instability’ and ‘chaos’ will always feature as an indelible feature of work, life and play – so according to anthropologist. Jews develop nomadic survival traits – they stay in ghettos in the same way dessert folk walk in single file to hide their numbers – they travel light, make do with the barest of necessities and develop skills like how to shift their weight and walk slightly off centre when carrying heavy loads, that way, they can walk longer without suffering any kinetic loss. Even more efficient that modern military backpacks! You learn these things when people regularly hunt you down for no other reason because you are a Jew! People get smart when you marginalize them – they get real smart when you start to erase their history – they put it all in their heads! So they develop photographic memories – unlike our scholars who expect to return to a cushy job along with all the predictability associated with promotion. Jews are often schooled in the “impermanence” of life. In the most authoritative book of Jewish law, the Shulchan Arukh, Jewish children are told the only thing that remains true is the covenant between them and God, the rest is pretty much the stuff of shifting sands and roller coasters. As a reminding that life offers nothing except the guarantee of impermanence during the first meal of the Sabbath, bread is dipped in salt, the Jewish symbol of the great preserver – Jews know they can be expelled at the slightest provocation, hence they develop techniques, skills and tricks which our scholars never ever need to develop, because they are feted and chaperone around the system like crippled mandarins – stuff like how to cut 400 crystal designs which they keep in their head, never ever once having to write them down even today! Stuff like how to table a diamond with the cool headedness that comes from putting the cutting tool it and with a pray hit it with one stroke to either increase its value a thousand fold or reduce to nothingness – they learn to take risk, manage it even to even feel perfectly comfortable in an environment of constant change and uncertainty, unlike our scholars, who plan as if the world revolves only around them! Owing them all a living – is it such a wonder, there is not fight!

Perhaps the single most important reason why I believe (personally) Jews are smarter than our local scholars is – they’re no such thing as elitism in their culture. The word, ‘elite’ doesn’t even exist in Hebrew, and in the Talmud, Jewish children are always reminded of the need to remain humble and to remember they are a community of one and everyone in the community is important.

I think its time for our scholars to stop wasting our time and money and really learn a thing or two from the Jews – after all we all know they are smartest people on this planet! And that incidentally is a fact!

(This has been brought to you by Aurora your friendly brotherhood controller – By Darkness, Cerebus, Scholarboy: Can someone tell me why our scholars aren’t as smart as Jews/ Socio –Political  – 2007 / Extended Piece (EP 400394B – The Brotherhood Press 2007)


46 Responses to “Can Someone Tell Me Why Our Scholars Aren’t as Smart as the Jews?”

  1. As It Is. said

    I can tell you why our scholars are not as smart as the Jews.

    Very simple. Because the Jews are chosen by God, while our scholars are chosen by the Devil. I am sure you know who that Devil is. The Devil has always been outsmarted by God, not every time but all the time.

    Jokes aside, I think our scholars are book-smart, instead of street-smart. Why? Because they have been raise through a clinical incubator over a very long period of at least 16 years, from Primary School to University, growing up within the confines of a society of generally submissive and subservient people who are well-known for their “kiasu” and “kiasi” mentality.

    Such people can only perform well in an incubated, protected environment but once you put them into the jungle of the wild, they would be slaughtered and eaten alive by all the wild animals, which has brains smaller than peanuts but has very strong survival and killer instinct.

    So, comparing our scholars with the Jews, its like comparing tamed domesticated pets with discarded wild animals roaming in the jungle of the unknown and uncertainty.

    The really smart ones are those who survived through countless difficulties and persistent persecutions over a prolonged period of time.

    In Singapore’s context, the really smart one is Chiam See Tong, not Lee Kuan Yew. So, tell all our scholars to learn from Chiam See Tong, instead of trying to act and behave like Lee Kuan Yew.

    Have I flamed somebody? If I have, please forgive me

    Because I wish to remain:

    AS IT IS!

  2. taksin said

    Even Bangla are smarter than Singaporean as Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Peace Prize while no Singaporean had been nominated not to say about winning. But does winning Nobel Prizes a good indcator whether the race/citizen are smarter. I would think so except for the most pretigious Peace Prize. To win this you only have a start a war or become a terrorist and then tone down to be a peacemaker. The only exception was that they did not award the 2000 Prize jointly to Kim Jong Pil.

  3. prof small timer said

    “But does winning Nobel Prizes a good indcator whether the race/citizen are smarter?”

    Probably not conclusive indicator, but its like this, can a person who hasnt even completed a master’s program say a master’s isn’t important?

    I think such a person will only command token credibility what do you think? That’s hardly the same as a master’s holder who says a master’s program in his opinion may not be all that important in his field of expertise.

    So bfr pooh poohing and making light of something as venerated as the Nobel price which I might add has many categories of which the peace prize is one category.

    Let us win a few first, then perhaps we wound have EARNED, the RIGHT to TALK on this matter. Otherwise it is likely that we may even come across as a race of idiots.

    Win first then talk, that is what real elites do, but pls dont insist that there is not merit in winning only bc our “elites” may not even be in the position to cut the grade.

    Brilliant article.

  4. I have spoken and talked and befriended actual Jews, so I can safely say I don’t think the average Jew is smarter than the average of whatever other race. Besides, from my research into Jewish History that I did for a paper I can say that a large number of the Jews today (the Ashkenazic Branch) may in fact be drawn from Turkic converts rather than the actual Palestian people in the Bible. The term “Jew” in the sense that we know it was coined during the Roman Empire to refer to the inhabitants of the backwater province of Judaea, not to a specific race or group at all. So who or what is a Jew is in fact a very flexible identity. The former actor Andrew Lim is now a Jew, having converted to Judaism, and wears a Yarmulke in public. That does not necessarily mean he will spring extremely bright descendants, though it is likely given his educational background.

    The difference in Jewish History most likely comes from the demand on LITERACY placed upon the Jewish Community for the pride that was taken in being able to disseminate the Torah by the community. But while literacy does not necessarily make you smarter, on the whole it does make getting access to collected information easier, which is a huge asset when it comes to obtaining the right knowledge that society requires.

    But what I may be able to say is this: if you notice the prominent brainiac Jews you listed are settled in highly open, liberal societies, they are not the Jews of Armenia, Kazakhstan or even of the former Iraq. Hell, during British Singapore we could attract such prominent Jews as Manasseh Meyer, the playwright Tom Stoppard and the family that gave line to David Marshall. And the thing about highly open and liberal societies is that knowledge is truly given a chance to shine, and all sorts of knowledge at that. Within such a system an already overweeningly literate population is able to thrive because of the free flow of knowledge, for good or ill. This is why the Jewish elite stretch from the far left to the far right in terms of their influence. Hard to think of a single people that can give us everyone from Henry Kissinger to Richard “Baba Ram Dass” Alpert.

    The actor/writer/professor Ben Stein (son of Nixon era economist Herbert Stein) remarked that early Jews took much to the new social and economic freedom that the new world societies offered, which was so unlike the class-entrenched powers of Old Europe. There lies the rub. Likewise when changes in the market came to Europe over two industrial revolutions, they too embraced these changes. A great book to read on this is “The Brothers Ashkenazi” by Israel Joshua Singer. (The brother of Isaac Bashevis Singer.)

    The scholar system in Singapore in a way resembles the Imperial Civil Service Examination system of ancient China. In such a system, knowledge is defined, regulated and placed a value upon, and thus intellectual prowess is channeled and directed rather than given free flow. When this happens and many disciplines are prized above others, selected types of knowledge are valued more than others, it has become difficult to truly become a “knowledgeable” and “educated” person.

    This is the most likely reason why our scholars are not as smart as a (highly selective portion of) the Jews.

  5. […] is a laughable example of “positive” racial stereotyping: asking the question, entitled “Can Someone Tell Me Why Our Scholars aren’t as smart as the Jews?” the article laments on how the Jews became so damn smart…which is just about one of the most […]

  6. olio said

    Hilarious and yet serious enough to provoke – food for thought on sunday afternoon? Yes please.

  7. olio said

    Hello Darkness,

    I am sure it was only bc you ran out of the word count (I always make excuses for you), just to add on, the Shulchan Arukh does mention the symbolic importance of salt, specifically on – how it should be handled etc.

    However, the symbolic importance of salt is actually mentioned in the Torah and not the SA.

    Salt was to the ancient Hebrews, and still is to modern day Jews, the symbol of the eternal nature of God’s covenant with Israel.

    In the Torah, the book of number, its written,

    “It is a covenant of salt forever, bfr the Lord.”

    On Friday, during dinner as you mentioned rightly salt is considered the great preserver, ONLY in the context – it keeps the agreement between God and his people. Yes there is some play on the issue of permanance etc, but it should be seen in the right symbolic context. Sorry, I am very particular abt details.

    I dont think that point came across as very clear in the article. Nonetheless a very interesting and academically well research piece.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and you should go back to church.


  8. olio said

    I am sorry Bambi darkness boy,

    I should have included this earlier. In Christianity, salt is associated not only with longevity and permanence but, by inference (I think), with the truth. Thats the reason why the Catholic church dispenses not only holy water but Sal Sapientia – holy salt aka wisdom or brain salt.

    Maybe they just take more salt than us? What u say now?

    Bye Bye

  9. darkness said


    Worst “positive” stereotyping, let me see this sounds a bit like on one those statements that don’t even contain one atom of common sense, like “army intelligence” or “innocent criminal.” If it is “positive” then how can it be “worst” and if its combined together then where does stereotyping come in? Why don’t you do us all a favor and run as fast as you can towards a wall and hit it real hard with your head and come back to me again on that point. I promise, we will take it from there.


    Thank you, I didn’t know than catholic or Torah part. I admit. I always thought it had something to do with pest control Olio. I am not trying to make light, but that’s what I though bc in those catholic frescoes, even in Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘last supper,’ salt is always represented and a rat is always painted beside it (or maybe I am wrong).

    Olio this is what I understand, I could be wrong now, bc the girl who once told me this hated me so much, she even tried to poison me with matzoh balls laced with rat poison, bc I said to her, we Chinese have a morbid fear of circumcision so marriage was definitely not going to be kosher. Besides we can’t grow a beard and sideburns and that just wouldn’t look right with those furry cowboy hats! It just doesn’t balance out.

    Olio you are absolutely right in saying salt is a symbol of permanence and highlighting my error on the SA, but it wasn’t so much a word count limit that did me in as I much as a genuine mistake – thank you for the correction i.e it aint a preserver as much as a covenant symbol.

    But in the Jewish culture part i.e (your second parter) we have to be very careful here Olio. Rather I have to be. Only bc the term “Jewish” is a pretty broad classification that encompasses everyone from Hasidic Jews to even I have absolutely no idea, but I am certain it’s a huge footprint! So I need to qualify myself Olio, bc how each Jewish community perceives salt and its relative importance symbolically isn’t exactly the stuff of metric standards here. There’s a lot of scope for improvisation and even disparities, this was what this Jewish girl once told me.

    For example in certain Jewish communities in the African coast, salt is regularly used to seal friendships, its even a symbol of loyalty because its essence doesn’t change, that’s not the case with maybe Jews in Brooklyn NYC, but what many ppl fail to understand is right across the Jewish tapestry as you rightly mentioned salt is a symbol of Gods covenant btw man and planet etc.

    Having said this Olio, I want you to flow with me here, bc I am going to say something that appears to cancel out what I just said. That’s to say, some Jews don’t only see the metaphor of salt in one state i.e as only the preserver, yes but only in the prima interpares sense to it ability to also change e.g if you dissolve salt in water, its still salt, its in another form (is that symbol of enduring flexibility?) – dry it out, you still get salt back – get it?

    So what we have here is a classic metaphor or symbolism of dichotomy or shall I say duality between permanence and impermanence i.e come what may, I will still be salt! Book of Ezekial – Now that’s probably as clear as mud Olio and I have probably managed to confuse myself along with you, its all my fault because I always panic whenever I get cornered by really smart ladies, but just to attempt distraction, only because if never fails to work when one is cornered.

    This Jewish girl once told me that salt was symbolic of kinship, that’s why today, we have the word salary, its derived from the term salt. Now many historians say, it bc salt was consider payment and you know I actually read up on this and discovered that’s rubbish, really Olio so please go chasing me down an alley with your rolling pin to tell me otherwise. Because I know for a fact, salt is supposed to seal relationships by protecting it against the evil eye. Sorry for the long reply.

    Regards Darkness (2007)

  10. somebody said

    2 interesting facts

    1. one important symptom is that lots of jews do phd’s. very very few singaporeans do. so the whole comparison about nobel’s representing smartness is not valid rite from the start.

    2. notice most of them win their nobels in the us not in israel itself.

  11. pissoff said

    Why compare orange to apple ? By comparing our scholars with the jews, you are just insulting the jews !
    Don’t compare our ant with the almighty elephant.

  12. Dear Darkness,

    I chose the phrase “worst “positive” stereotyping” very carefully, and I will not go back on it.

    The thing is, all stereotyping of human beings is in the end, bad, because all humans are products of complex, interacting cultural systems, and stereotyping prevents us from seeing that. But in the short run, stereotyping can be a good survival and communication skill when interacting with others. For example, at least when I see a Malay, I won’t want to talk to him about dogs etc.. even though he may in fact, defy the stereotype and be a Malay that likes dogs.

    And remember, racial and ethnic groups do use bad stereotyping and “reverse” it so that it becomes a “positive” quality. Think of Malays joking about their athletic prowess with relation to Chinese in Singapore in response to the stereotype where Malays are seen as poor in studies because they are good in sports. Or if you remember the movie “Shaft”, starring Samuel L Jackson, about a rebellious, sexually empowered Afro-American private detective who is also a “Bad M*****r F****r” think about how it goes back to the tradition of Whites seeing slaves as violent and rebellious and ready to rape their women.

    Yet sometimes “positive” stereotyping can turn back on itself, in a piece of doggerel sportswriting during the 30s, the Great Afro American boxer Joe Louis was written about as “part of an age old beat…when men feasted on mammoth’s meat” , the deliberate image was to make them look primitive and uncivilized. So that these pieces appeared to be full of praise, yet were unbearably condescending at the same time.

    I hope this answers your question.

  13. darkness said


    Look I asked you to just knock your head, not go through it the wall!

    “I chose the phrase “worst “positive” stereotyping” very carefully, and I will not go back on it.”

    OK, I hear you, but you got to understand, with those combo of words. I don’t believe you know what you’ve doing – you just put the cart before horse. I am dead serious, so I dont know where u r going but I can assure you – you’re definitely not going forward!

    Let explain why, the phrase you deployed is wrong along with everything you have to say i.e the model u used.

    Firstly, there is nothing ‘positive’ in what I said in the context of being ‘worst’ and absolutely nothing about stereotyping –

    I gave the facts as follows:

    FACT (1) Jews regularly make their way to Stockholm, I even produce a statistical score card

    FACT(2) Our scholar don’t.

    A comparative between (1) and (2) produces the question (A): why aren’t our scholars regularly making their way to Stockholm?

    Now even if you stack, stretch and stomp on 1,2 and A all day or switch them around in every possible permutation you r never going to produce anything near any sort of ‘stereotyping’ let alone anything near ‘positive, worst’ anything.

    You could take out a piece of paper and model it our heuristically if you don’t believe me.

    Go back and sort out the relationship between the cart and horse first and I promise you, we will talk again – but you have to “change it” otherwise we will be going backwards. This is not an issue of pride, ego or me trying to make you eat your words, its a matter of common sense – u will have to change it, if u want to move forward.

    once u done that come back again.

    darkness 2007

  14. guppy said


    I dont think this Jews VS Scholar debate is necessarily a fair debate.

    Let me share with you why. We arent remotely like the Jewish Academic Aristocracy as you mentioned.

    Scholars are like technicians, trained to perform a function and not exceed the standard operation procedures.

    Its hardly an apple to apple comparison dont you think so? Pls be nice to me.

  15. blueadam said

    Hi, well, I’ve lived in Israel, have jweish friends and lived in China and all that … this is my observation …. Jews may produce more individual bright sparks but they are not good at running a country.

    Israel is a mess, those who live there know this. You have bright people, but not a good country that will last. Can we have both? Of course we can, it’s not that difficult, but it will be difficult for singapore as we do not have enough breadth and depth of people so far.

    China can. Korea is finding out the limits of its population and homogenity, Japan found that out long ago. China is diverse enough, and also stable enough.

    Not a pro China thing, but just an observation lah.

  16. rabbi said

    “they are not good at running a country.” Blasphemy! Run round three times naked around the temple mount! How do you expect us to run anything with terrorist shooting rockets at us day and night! What this man wrote is this, Jews are smarter than your scholars. Do I agre? Yes and no. No because I have seen plenty of really stupid Jews. Yes because Jews do have a very unique value system and a set of beliefs that increases their chances of success. This is what they author IMO mentioned. All in all he hit some points, but missed a few, but all in all. It is important to understand that for every Jew that lives in Israel there is at 2,000 outside the holyland.


  17. Jamie said

    If “they are not good at running a country.”

    They wouldnt even be around. You dont even know their history e.g 6 day war, Yom Kippur etc – That must rank as the worlds most stupid statement – All I know is when some says, he is an elite, superman or extraordinary person who deserves to be paid X, Y or Z. He has a right to his opinion. We live in a democratic country.

    But the first question the serious men of this world will ask is, pls produce the proof – talk is cheap and insisting that fable is fact is cheaper, counts for nothing to this people, they know what is real and what is phoney.

    Like Prof Small Timer said in the above post and these are words of wisdom I believe from very clear thinker

    prof small timer Says:
    July 29th, 2007 at 10:41 am

    “Win first then talk, that is what real elites do, but pls dont insist that there is not merit in winning only bc our “elites” may not even be in the position to cut the grade.”

    You have to earn the right to be called an elite in Stockholm, not in Singapore or even South East Asia. Thats like comparing yourself to cripples, anyone can win without even trying. Go out there in the wide open sea, swim with the big boys and win, then and only then do you earn the right to talk.

    As it is, you certainly have a right to talk, but who in their correct mind will even listen or believe you? They have to be a donkey!

  18. Harvadian said

    You know. I have always had a deep respect for the BP. Not only me but many of my circle of friends. I even read it on a regular basis. In terms of attention span it holds me as much as our local publishing content.

    However, I must say this article is not even a fair comparative darkness! The objectives of the scholar prog is not to win prizes or for that matter even the NP. I do not dispute NP represents the Gold Standard, but if the objective is not even directed there, then where does the tussle between Jews and Scholar arise.

    Secondly, there is a flaw in your article. You mentioned the success factor lies in their values. If that is the case what does that have to do with intellgence? Or even smartness as the heading of your article suggest. Are you trying to equate values to intelligence? I dont see how you can even bridge the two!

    Thirdly, you people are all supposed to be on our side. Finally, this is just cheap sensationalism, I expected a higher level of professionalism from the BP. I also notice this was an EP so I will have to summarize none of you even have the benefit of saying this was the result of over zealous summarizing.

    Good Day Sir. You shall certainly hear from me or my colleagues again if there is no correction to this article. I assure you on that.

  19. Scimitar said


    Just remember the brotherhood would not be able to survive without our silent support through the years. Do you really believe Darkness could just stroll up to a mob during the MICA vs Brown fiasco, insult and tell them all to go home without our support? Did you also think that was possible when he did the same thing during the WSM incident?

    Where does he get his confidence from? Where does the support base come from? Everyone needs someone, so dont tell me darkness is one tropical island in the middle of no where!

    By writing articles like this darkness you are F-ing the unspoken compact we have always had with you darkness & bro boys. I am surprised even the really smart ones like Cerebus and SB are involved in writing this sort of scholar bashing shit. Its not even well written with holes so big, I can even park a few planes to spare!

    Maybe darkness you should stick to travelogues. Just remember everyone needs a base. No one is an island darkness. You have declared war with the whole of blogosphere. You have burnt all bridges with the people in the Singapore Angle and probably alienated every single one out there in mainstream blogosphere. Much of it was self inflicted bc of the way you and NOT the brotherhood responded to this entire incident. Its all on your head this time, no one is going to spread the load this time.

    Trust me, you need us Darkness. You need us more that we need you at this very moment in time. You and the brotherhood are all alone now. Soon they will hunt you down, you dont even stand a chance. Before that was just theory, not its a reality. So remember you dont need to lose the support of the intellectuals now Mr Big Man. And as you like to say, that’s as good as it gets! So you better use to it.

    You need us behind you darkness. Please see sense.

  20. Scimitar said

    We even help u with the nonsense you have going with the church. Be reasonable. I didnt mean to be rude and abrupt. Sorry. You know how it rubs darkness -the wrong way.

  21. jumanjube said

    Hello Darkness,

    This is definitely a piece of work that stands out. I like the wit, sharp and smart. The content was also substantive. Just to add. No one disputes for eg Mozart was a prodigy and eventually aspired to the highest post possible for a musician. However, what most ppl regularly dont point out when they mention Mozart is he had an equally exceptional childhood. His father for eg wasnt just anyone, he wrote a reference book abt music and Mozart was tutored by him. My point is this, the Mozart’s of this world are not born, they are made.

    By the same token Jews are not born smart, someone invested the time and attention to make them smart.

    A very good article with a clever bitter sweet after taste.

    Thank you very much for allowing me to say this.

  22. shoestring said

    Can scholars lead our country well if they cannot even take criticism without issuing threats? Leaders need support from the people too.

  23. Non-scholar teddy said

    Scholars are boring. Full-stop.

    To do ‘positive stereotyping’ of scholars is just to say that they’ll constitute the bourgeois in Steppenwolf—useful, yes, but still boring.

    There are toys and then, there are designer toys.

    Fringe and center don’t mix. And centers are, well, cheaper.

  24. Mac user said

    ‘Fringe and center don’t mix. And centers are, well, cheaper.’

    Right on, teddy!

  25. darkness said


    “No man is an island” – “You (I) need us more than we need u now!” – “I have just abt alienated everyone etc.” You know what Scimitar, you are absolutely right. From where I am standing, I am starting to look like the German 6th army in 1941 in Stalingrad. My flanks are gone along with my supply lines, the enemy has even encircled us. From this period onwards its downhill all the way – a war of attrition and under those conditions defeat is hardly theoretical. Agree.

    I really do appreciate the tacit support many of you chappies have been giving us. You are absolutely right, Scimitar, I need to see the geo-political sense and recognize my strategic position is completely hopeless. I can no more afford to lose the support of the intellectual reserves anymore than I can be expected to successfully transverse the great void without a compass.

    You know what? I apologize unreservedly if I did cause any misunderstandings. How’s that? You have my word as a gentlemen, I will not write another article like this ever again, that raises more questions than it answers and in future should I write a similar article, I will take every step to ensure that it’s a fair and impartial representation instead of some barbed repartee.

    How can I disagree when you put it so well, “It’s all on your head this time, no one is going to spread the load” You are so right Scimitar.

    But I want to be sure, you didn’t threaten me into submission. I want to believe you respect the brotherhood enough never to give us ultimatums of do or die. Because if I even believe for one second that you are threatening me Scimitar, then you can take ‘our unspoken compact’ and go straight to hell.

    So I hope you will come back to me and humor me that all it really was Scimitar was a ‘gentle reminder’ in the way friends gently look at each other to express regret for a misunderstanding that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Will you do that for me?

    Darkness 2007

  26. darkness said

    Can I offer you something while you mull over what I said, Scimitar?

    I am sure you understand. I am very sure.

    darkness 2007

  27. rizzer said

    Because the dumb ones were killed off over their history of persecution. Only the smartest ones survived and passed on their genes…

  28. confused said

    Dumb ones made fun of the smart ones. So the smart ones ate the dumb ones and developed bigger brains?

    Btw why does Bambi darkness need to wine and dine Scimitar? – is Scimitar a char bor by any chance? Seems like it the way he going abt it.

  29. scholarboy said


    I have read through your 12 pg disquisition: “why you believe our write up was unjustifiably slanted against the scholar system.”

    May I say was certainly sobering and very persuasive in every respect. I even agree with many of the points you and your associates presented. At least all of you took the trouble to engage us constructively by offering your thoughts over the matter.

    Do you mind if we post an executive summary version in the IS? Or the 12 pg unedited version? Just for the record. You can have it either posted here in the comments or even the mainboard here as a reply article. It’s up to you.

    I for one feel very strongly you have a good case and your POV deserves a fair quorum even if it means rubbishing what we wrote.


    P.S: Pls come back to darkness on his point bfr noon tmr. Otherwise what he said will be considered null and void.


  30. Darkness,

    Interesting article. Impressive understanding of Jewish culture. 🙂

    The central thesis of your article seems to be as follows: Jews win a disproportional number of the Nobel Prizes, our scholars win squat. Therefore, Jews are smarter than scholars. Then you claim that Jews are not smarter because of genetic reasons and scholars are stupid because of elitism in Singapore.

    Interesting argument. Permit the KTM to highlight that scholars have traditionally been trained for the Civil Service, starting with the Queen’s scholars during colonial times. Therefore, the number of scholars who are engaged in research-related activities is extremely small and the probability than any will win the Nobel Prize is correspondingly small. Also, it’s hard to win the Peace Prize when Singapore is so peaceful. 😛 If a civil servant does win a Nobel Prize in the future, the KTM will probably write an article entitled, “Why Scholars are As Smart as the Jews”. How many other civil servants have won Nobel Prizes? 🙂

    Philip Yeo started his programme to mass train scholars for research only since year 2000 or so. Only a small number have started work and even then for no more than 5 years. If any of them can win the Nobel Prize within 5 years, the KTM will probably write another article entitled, “Why Jews aren’t as smart as our Scholars”. 😛

    The KTM isn’t saying that your thesis is wrong. It is perfectly plausible that our scholars aren’t as smart as the Jews. However, it seems to the KTM that you might have to wait another 20 years to get hold of the data required to prove your thesis. 🙂

    Suppose you have a soccer team, does it mean that they are all lousy athletes because none of them can win the 100-meter free style? 🙂

    Warmest Regards.

  31. darkness said


    “Why Jews aren’t as smart as our Scholars” – pls do (we wish you happy hunting! We will certainly look forward to it) only forgive me, if I fail to reply your line of queries above.

    Our article has stirred a hornet’s net, namely it has attracted the ire of an erudite group of spinsters who happen to be scholars and it appears they may have beaten you to the gambit as they have just sent me a 12 page essay which stops short of nailing me to the door post upside town.

    In fact, if memory serves, one of these charming ladies even referred to me as a “swan gurgling machine who has acquired notoriety for passing off white noise vignettes as whole categories of disquisitions in the internet!”

    Our intelligence tells us they number about 20 and many may even be our regular readers. So as much as I would like to answer your questions, for strategic reasons, I have to save based on the advise of our diplomats only bc we may need it to beat a hasty retreat. I don’t know how far they will go with this. Meanwhile I am trying my best to beg for forgiveness while we pack up like a traveling circus to catch the next train out of town.

    Having said that, I did read your points and I must say, the model you used is the one that I would have used myself. Yes it will definitely put a few more holes into our sinking sampah. Pls bear with us, we will sink, we must.

    Darkness 2007

  32. Cerebus & Scholarboy said

    Greetings Scimitar,

    We hope you will respond positively to darkness peace offer presented on

    July 30th, 2007 at 5:00 pm @ (24) above.

    Pls note: We do not wish to threaten either you or your assoc, but if we do not receive a reply by noon today – not only will our offer of peace be rendered null and void.

    I have been asked to inform ypu under the strongest possible terms, it will be construed as a declaration of war with the BP.

    I also need to impress upon you this: if for any reason, your ‘paper’ emerges in the blogosphere other than this site – we have assigned our best u-boat commanders not only to hunt it down but to sink it with at all cost like the battleship Bismarck. This is not a threat, this is a statement of fact.

    Just to let you know we have put our best people on the job.

    Have a nice day and we hope to hear from you.


    Scholar boy & Cerebus

  33. No-Brain Teddy said

    I don’t know who Scim is, but #31 is an excellent example of just how stupid scholars are.

    A threat is only a threat if it is credible.

    Ants also know they very small.

  34. No-Brain Teddy said

    Though I must also say that Darkness is like the elder bro I never had…

    Like, will let me run around kind.

    *gives bear hug*

  35. jay said

    Darkness, you’ve spent too much time scholar-bashing that you’re missing the point. The question isn’t why scholars aren’t as smart as Jews (is the Nobel Prize even a valid indicator?) but really, why Singaporeans aren’t… I’m sure we all agree that “scholars” aren’t the smartest people in Singapore.

    You should remember that these are just the people contracted to fulfill certain jobs, mainly in one form or another of management, based on indicators (whether accurate or not is an Entirely different question) of their capability… They are not given the leeway to tinker around in laboratories trying to find cures for cancer–Singapore is still not a Google or Apple company–although of course, some probably Are hired for doing just that. Further, it doesn’t make sense to talk about scientific research when many scholars can be in just about anything else, ie PUB, HDB, teaching, etc… and shouldn’t there be other indicators for intelligence? How about art? Creativity?

    I understand that there is a lot of resentment over people getting stipends and paid education, and I agree that our scholars may seem underwhelming. But then, so is the rest of the griping population. Someone mentioned that you should give Singapore 20 more years–and perhaps that is right. Besides, if anything should come out of Singapore I wouldn’t expect it to come out of the scholar pool but rather the rest of the populace, who (being un-bonded) should be doing something more purposeful with their lives.

  36. No-Brain Teddy said

    Do you know?

    scimitar |ˌsɪmɪtə|
    a short sword with a curved blade that broadens toward the point, used originally in Eastern countries.

  37. No-Brain Teddy said

    I didn’t know. Now I know.

    But remember: Please do not keep teddies beyond their shelf-life.


  38. tc said

    yep – the samurai blade could not do it, but the beautiful Scimitar did it.

    My respect, Maam. My respect.

  39. Scimitar said

    Dear Bambi Darkness Boy,

    I had hoped to keep the matter strictly between us using the B’hood com-line. Only to realize to my surprise, not only have you publicized the matter on-line representing it as if, we have threatened you.

    I would like to state categorically, we did no such thing. On the contrary, ir was closer to as you, yourself mentioned:

    “So I hope you will come back to me and humor me that all it really was Scimitar was a ‘gentle reminder’ in the way friends gently look at each other to express regret for a misunderstanding that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Will you do that for me?”

    Don’t you consider that a silly nilly question! I already did that ten times to spare another 9 for good measure! We wrote 12 pg! We even explained why you shouldn’t be so flippant and wantonly naughty over the whole thing didnt we? Would any sane person have go through all that if they didn’t believe for one moment there was a relationship worth preserving?

    It was only when you started your childish rants that we had to bring the issue to the IS. Do Stop fibbing and be good.


    Dear Cerebus & Scholarboy,

    I dont speak to minions. Pls refer to darkness. I consider this matter close and no, you do not have a right to post my write up. I wrote it to persuade one man and only one and as I can see the matter is settled.


  40. No-Brain Teddy said

    Hmm… Me no understand conversation.

    Me like notti. Notti’s good.


  41. darkness said

    scimitar & friends,

    “Don’t you consider that a silly nilly question!” Retrospectively, yes it was a gross oversight on my part. Only you have to understand, I suffer from a host of insecurities therefore if I insist to hear the obvious, it’s only bc I must.

    I am glad all of you ladies consider the matter satisfactorily sewn up and close.

    Thank you once again for enlightening me with your POV, may I take this opportunity to wish you all happy reading!

    Pls ignore SB & Cerebus post. I am sure there was some misunderstanding somewhere and you were so right to refer them to me for clarification.

    Many thanks and warmest regards as always.

    Darkness 2007

  42. Darkness,

    Thank you for your response.

    it has attracted the ire of an erudite group of spinsters who happen to be scholars and it appears they may have beaten you to the gambit as they have just sent me a 12 page essay which stops short of nailing me to the door post upside town.

    Frankly, the KTM wasn’t trying to pull off some gambit as you seem to be suggesting. It turns out that the KTM actually believes that it is quite likely that “Jews are smarter than our scholars”, and this is with reference to the best of the Jews versus the best of the scholars. The KTM was simply a little confused by your line of argument.

    The KTM is somewhat curious about one thing though: how do you know that the people you provoked are a group of spinsters? Your readers report their marital status? If so, that’s new to the KTM. 🙂

    So as much as I would like to answer your questions, for strategic reasons, I have to save based on the advise of our diplomats only bc we may need it to beat a hasty retreat.

    The KTM respects your decision not to address his questions in public. If you would like to share your views in private, the KTM would be pleased to hear them. You can drop the KTM an email. But if not, that’s okay too.

    Pls bear with us, we will sink, we must.

    Aiyah, you guys take things too seriously. Not everything is a war lah. The KTM is just a random passer-by who happened to pass some random remarks so you dun have to take him too seriously. The KTM also has no intentions of sinking dunno what sampans. 😛

    Warmest Regards.

  43. darkness said


    “Jews are smarter than our scholars” – yes, that is what I thought as well. It would appear only we believe living in a cave necessary makes us all archeologist, but there is underlying logic here that I have omitted in my line of reasoning – namely what type of question was I asking? This of course leads us to consider is it an open or closed on. The former produces only a yes or no. So yes, we can even say, we are right i.e Jews r indeed smarter than scholars.

    The latter on the otherhand (open ended question) is nothing short of soliciting for differing schools of thoughts. That remains a hubris not only bc there is the politics of conversation etc – to know more, I written abt this and it will come out tonite.

    “how do you know that the people you provoked are a group of spinsters? Your readers report their marital status?”

    The most valuable information in life is never read, seen or even heard, usually one senses it, even feels it, only because it can never be read, seen or even heard it remains the most compelling of truths.

    This is not new to us. We have been down this road many times KTM.

    As I said in my travelogue in Stalingard.

    darkness 2007

  44. darkness said

    “Therefore, the number of scholars who are engaged in research-related activities is extremely small and the probability than any will win the Nobel Prize is correspondingly small. Also, it’s hard to win the Peace Prize when Singapore is so peaceful.”
    Ok let me run lightning style on this. Q: is winning the NP an indication of intelligence? A: Yes, but its relative i.e you cannot discount the numerical analysis e.g population, demographics, spread even distribution etc. Now this means even if the Pygmies regularly bag 100% of the NP, they could still be the dumbest ppl in the world! So what u need to appreciate is the NP is only one of many benchmarks that we can use to measure intelligence. You can just as well use other indicators like how many patents are registered by Jews every year? How many of them are commoditized and licensed into manufacturability? Or who grosses the highest for movies? That’s to say your respondents don’t even have to be scholars or even someone who has formal education. Alternatively we can even do a comparative analysis that links educational level, no of professionals to draw a definitive analysis. So let us be clear winning the NP is only one of many benchmarks.
    But what is the goal here? That’s to say when we ask the question why the Jews are so smart? What are we really asking when we break it down? Only to a few key issues: what accounts for their critical success factors? Why do they have so many winners? When we proceed along this level we are not so much talking about Jews, Moonies or even scholars, rather we are addressing attributes which account for success. So flowing from this we need to use that sort of information to ask ourselves what are the attributes which successful people regularly display?
    This was the reason why I spend a lot of time reading up what really goes on in a Jews head? How does he make sense of himself alongside family and the broader aspects of his community? I found that when I compared their attributes with highly successful ppl the Jews scored the highest index marks compared to other communities – variance of less than 3%.
    “Philip Yeo started his programme to mass train scholars for research only since year 2000 or so. Only a small number have started work and even then for no more than 5 years. If any of them can win the Nobel Prize within 5 years, the KTM will probably write another article entitled, “Why Jews aren’t as smart as our Scholars”
    PY program and winning the NP has as much co-relation as picking sun flower seeds has to do with what the Dalai Lama is going to have for breakfast tmr. In my view there is no relationship. If you say it takes 20 yrs, then to see results like winning the NP, I don’t disagree with the gestation period, but something doesn’t come from nothing, usually the curve is traceable and it follows a very discernable pattern at X change ppl learn to work, at Y they learn manipulate it and Z, then synthesis information to create new knowledge, so you could ask yourself is Y happening? We all know X has happened, but how long does it take for Y? Does it take 20 yrs to see the results in Y? Hardly when you consider Mozart performed ”Deh, vieni, non tardar” when he was only 6 yrs.
    So again the model will suggest tracking is a lousy way to identify the winners. A better way will require us to ask again who are the ppl who regularly invent stuff, lets not even look at research papers, if you cannot even crawl, why r you preoccupying yourself with spike shoes. Doesn’t make sense to me – look at the really simple basic stuff that generates wealth, publishing, consumer led products and services / patents for rat traps / who leads in this field? Who are the producers?
    Are they even scholars or perhaps just a bunch of gamers who are hacking away in some room where clothes regularly go to die? Or maybe they are in some garage somewhere figuring out blue or green wire to solder?

    But that still doesn’t answer our question: why r jews so smart? So inorder to go one strata deeper we need to ask why do those producers they do the things they do? What’s going through their brain? See what I mean, the deeper we go, the move we move away from the discussion of Jews and even scholars, till it reaches terminal velocity when it has nothing to do with even the topic itself bc it boils down to one simple question; what do really successful people do?

    Do I think our scholars are smart? That depends, how do you define smart, ppl like steve jobs and even Bill gates have basic degrees, technically they dont even fall into the Singapore definition base pyramid smart, how reliable is the smart ruler then when it comes to measuring smartness?

    You will have to decide.

    As for me, its ultra clear. I model my life on the real elites not the phoney ones. I only have one life – so I go with the Jew.

  45. Scholars vs No-brain Teddy said

    I think it’s much more empowering to say, ‘it is not the art of classifying’ that is to blame. it is me who didn’t know the art well-enough.’

    Makes things easier to change.

    Plus, since you clearly didn’t know enough about it to be able to specify the weaknesses of the method, it just shows that you simply don’t know your medium well enough.

    Else do tell me the difference between:

    1) the ‘western’ notion of ‘critical thinking’, versus;

    2) Confucius’ ‘Know what you know and know what you do not know. That is true knowledge.’

    I bet you 2.2 million that you can’t.

    For the record, Confucius did refuse to be called a ‘sage’ in his time. If that is to be significant, what does that imply about Confucian ‘self-cultivation’?

    And consequently, what does that imply about the ideal Confucian state?—That everyone has to be actively pursuing self-cultivation.—How is maintaining the status quo when the status quo are the slackers come into play?

    Saying that the art of classifying is to blame is like saying your drawing sucks because you’re using Pagoda-brand pencils.

    (Faber-Castell pencils are very good for drawing. But my eldest sister’s drawings are still better than mine.)

    Same goes for someone reiterating that he’s learnt how people so easily take words out of context.

  46. […] Why it will be tough for a Singaporean to beat the Jews at the Nobel Prize? […]

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