This notebook is a humourous and nostalgic take on the struggle of a Singaporean Chinese trying to master both English and Chinese languages at the same time. It captures the common phrases and typical terms used in our primary school compositions. We hope you enjoy using this exercise book as you reminisce your childhood memories and imaginations.
Local Exercise Books is both an exploration and celebration of the Singaporean psyche towards local education. Education in its broadest sense, is an experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. It is a strong and significant means to ensure ... read more
Local Exercise Books is both an exploration and celebration of the Singaporean psyche towards local education. Education in its broadest sense, is an experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. It is a strong and significant means to ensure continued human survival and to uncover our potential and place as an individual.
In some societies, education is critical for survival. For others, it is a passionate pursuit of knowledge. And also maybe a way of enjoying and making sense of life. Either way, education is an accumulative experience - a life long journey.
In the Singaporean context, the definition of education is arguably much narrower. It is largely experienced as the formal process which our society (Ministry of Education) deliberately and strategically transmits knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another.
Xiao Ming and Xiao Hua’s story is a storybook that allows a child to draw and pen his or her own bilingual composition. This book would eventually become a precious and nostalgic keepsake when the child grows up. The humourous design of the handmade children’s book captures the struggle and experience of a typical Singaporean Chinese put through the bilingual educational system to master both English and Chinses language.
This set of 3 exercise books highlight the meritocratic principle in the Singapore education system. Although the principle was aimed at identifying and grooming talent for positions of leadership, it has led to a systemic categorising of students into various classes with performance and admission to prestigious institutions, giving rise to the notion of elitism. Streaming Exercise Books exemplifies the aspirations of the three classes of students in our local education system and its perceived impact it has on one’s success in life.
Schools in Singapore emphasize uniformity and this also trickles down to the books used. However, students still find ways to etch their identities on their books. Writing on a book’s fore edge is a logical favourite – one of the most subtle, yet most indelible marking that can be put on a book. The gilded book celebrates identity by presenting one’s message on the fore edge with bold colours.
It is a quintessential Singaporean ritual to carefully wrap your book covers with clear plastic before school begins. The jacket jotter’s tyvek cover is discreetly spill-proof, tear-proof and needs no sissy sleeve, perfect for the closet kia-see chao mugger in all of us. (kia-see: literally the fear of death, in this case, the fear of being damaged) (chao mugger: literally a smelly book worm, in this case, the despised studious nerd)
The education system in Singapore is a fiercely competitive environment. Here, the term ‘mugging’ is re-appropriated to describe the act of studying by rote and rigour. It is a common sight to find muggers in cafes, void decks and even Changi Airport cramming for their examinations. This exercise book preempts the Singaporean nerd’s liberal use of highlighter.
In 1996, National Education was identifies as important to the development of young Singaporeans and their sense of identity. It is described as ‘an exercise to develop instincts that become part of the psyche of every child, to engender a shared sense of nationhood and an understanding of how the past is relevant to our present and future.’ National Education values and frameworks have since been integrated into the local education system with messages appearing ubiquitously in school exercise books. This exercise book examines the notion of entrenching messages of Nationhood in our young.
Singapore Shared Values was first mooted in 1988. Printed on the back of many school exercise books of the time, it was used to anchor a Singaporean identity. Has it remained a mere ideological framework, or has the values permeated society and shaped our national identity? One may judge the book by its cover, or use it as a tool to propagate a common good.
Remember the exercise books with the coloured duct tapes? It is a labeling methods that works well in Singapore’s educational system where students are grouped and branded. Recapture the memories with a fresh and subtle look on a successful but rigid system.
The Singapore education system is said to be “cookie cutter”, a one-size-fits-all that places too much emphasis on efficiency and conformity. Here is an exercise book design taking a page out of that: each and every one cut into the exact same geometry. When stacked, the army of books presents a quick, easy way of sorting and labeling.
This is the story of the 6cm exercise book. In Singapore, all children from the age of seven are supposed to begin a 6-year primary school education. This is an exercise book of 6cm in thickness to reflect the intensities and workloads experienced by children in Singapore.
The bilingual exercise book expresses the dual language requirements in the Singapore education system where every student is required to master both languages, i.e. English and Mother Tongue. By introducing little gaps to the standard horizontal line work, a subtle grid structure that suggests the writing of logographic characters (such as Chinese and Tamil) is created. Apart from achieving a single exercise book design, the little gaps attempt to remind us the harmonious co-existence of various cultures in our Nation.
All work and no play makes a dull and competitive Singaporean student… dull. Can a school be the place to gain social skills? ‘FOOLSCAP’ is a typical academic writing pad that has an additional carbon-copy function capable of duplicating an extra set of notes. This encourages the hardworking but lonesome student to make new friends or better the relationship with existing ones.