Letter: Affirmative action in education fails majority

July 12, 2023 Articles, Letters
Letter to the FT (July 12, 2023) I was a bottom one-percenter, literally born on the streets of China to peasant parents, grew up in poverty in the west and arrested multiple times as a teenager -- I also attended Princeton University ("The moral bankruptcy of Ivy League America", Opinion, July 6). Although the US Supreme Court ruled to disallow race-based affirmative action, the history of similar policies -- notably proposition 209 in California, which banned race as a factor for college admissions -- and the present climate in higher education suggest that the Ivy League establishment will find other (non-race based) ways to continue to get their desired mix of students, in which Asians still end up being the biggest losers. Luce points to favouritism for white people due to that group receiving 65 per cent of athletic scholarships -- however, this number is roughly in line with their share of the overall US population. That this argument even surfaced shows the skewed view many have, perhaps in part because of the higher proportion of black people in major US sports. Nevertheless, Luce is on point that the affirmative action debate in its present form does nothing for the…

Ice Hockey and More / Baker Rink More Than Just a Hockey Heaven

March 8, 2023 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Princeton Alumni Weekly (March 8, 2023) IN RESPONSE TO:  For 100 Years Baker Rink Has Been Hockey Heaven It was great to read about the role that Baker Rink has played at Princeton over the years (Sports, January issue). I was part of the Noontime Hockey group when I was a student back in the early 2000s. I also played intramural hockey at Baker during my time. One year the team I organized (named “A Bunch of Grad Students”) won the championship, surprising our undergraduate opponents who thought that they would walk over us — we were a team of mostly Canadians. When I went back several years ago for Reunions, I made it a point to take my skates with me so that I could get back on the ice. The article did, however, forget to mention another notable activity at Baker Rink: broomball. Not sure of its status now, but back in my time it was the most popular intramural sport on campus, with perhaps two dozen teams registered. It was played in sneakers but on the ice, and with a “broom” and a large soft ball. The ice was a great equalizer, as athletic…

Letter: Swedish PM’s Chinatown quip at odds with the data

September 7, 2022 Articles, Letters
Letter to the FT (September 7, 2022) If Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson were familiar with crime statistics by immigrant groups, she would not take the view that her country would be better off without its Chinatowns (“Sweden playground shooting shapes voter concerns”, Report, September 3). The Danes have collected (and published) data on criminality by immigrant groups. A 2016 study by the Danish national statistical office shows that first generation Chinese immigrants have criminality rates more than a quarter below the Danish average. Based on patterns for other East Asian immigrant groups and in other geographies, criminality rates will fall to less than half the level for the Danish population as a whole, for second generation Chinese immigrants. This phenomenon holds in Sweden as well. Not all immigration is equal. Kai L Chan Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Article as it appeared online. © THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2022. FT and ‘Financial Times’ are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.


September 4, 2021 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Globe & Mail (September 4, 2021) Re What’s In A Name? For ‘Gifted’ Programs, A Problem (Aug. 28): Back in the 1980s in Toronto, I was part of the “gifted” program in elementary school. I had visions of learning (age-relevant) advanced mathematics and science, or reading high literary work. However, the reality was that the program was characterized by talk about shapes, feelings, colours and everything other than advanced academic material. Rather than renaming the “gifted” program, it would serve students better if it actually nurtured academic excellence in a more rigorous way. Either that, or provide the program on a lottery basis (or to the underprivileged) if there is no essence of “gifted” in its delivery. Kai Chan Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Article as it appeared online. © Copyright 2018 The Globe and Mail Inc. All rights reserved.

Talent can be found everywhere

September 1, 2021 Articles, Letters
A letter to the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW). IN RESPONSE TO:  PRISON TEACHING INITIATIVE HELPS INCARCERATED STUDENTS EARN DEGREES   I went through the criminal justice system in Toronto when I was a teenager. Luckily I have no criminal record by grace of laws pertaining to young offenders in Canada. I was supposed to have spent six months in juvenile jail but was fortunate enough to have been sentenced to community service in lieu of prison time. Nevertheless, I did spend a brief period behind bars as part of that process. Most of the people in my prison block were childhood friends and friends of friends. (I grew up at a time when youth gangs were prevalent.) All were definitely street savvy, if not book smart. Indeed, many of the people in detention with me seemed just as sharp minded as people I would go on to meet a decade later as a graduate student at Princeton. Professor Jeff Dolven noted in the article (“Prison Teaching Initiative Helps Incarcerated Students Earn Degrees,” June 2021) that “much intelligence and talent and imagination is locked up in prisons.” I would add also that for the most part the talent is also wasted…




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