Friday, June 27, 2008

A fork in the road.

Another simple question: to study law or not to study law?

SMU has just offered me a place in their law school, along with a full undergraduate scholarship. Should I pursue a double degree in both law and business there, or would it be better to continue on the original plan to study business at NTU.

One decision, 3 days left to choose.

How do I choose here?

God knows.


And just for fun, here's the 15 minute essay I wrote for the SMU law interview.

Where a law is a terrible one, there is a moral right to disobey. Comment.

In this day and age, where the law and courts are seen as a costly nuisance to avoid by the masses, people generally treat the law as an absolute truth - something that they must abide by under any circumstance. The hassle and cost of appearing in court make people forget that the law is there for a very important reason, a reason very close to their hearts - to protect them. And that is why I believe that under the circumstance that the laws of the land have been perverted to oppress the masses in favour of the ruling elite, civil disobedience shouldn't just be a choice, it is a duty of every patriotic individual.

Social contract theory argues that we humans come out of the state of nature to form societies that protect each other because living together in society is much better than the 'solitary, short and brutish' life in the state of nature. We agree to have laws imposed on us because they are for our own good. Laws are useful because they help us better our lives. Life becomes more safe, more secure when we know that there are laws in place to safeguard our health and happiness. Laws are there to put people in place.

However when a ruling elite creates laws that only serves their own ends, this whole system fails. The law is not something we abide by because it helps us anymore, but it becomes this monster, this tool for oppression, and the only reason that we abide to it is fear.

And if we take a look in the history books and look at all the civilizations which were governed by a system of fear, we can see a recurring pattern - they all crumbled. Emperors and kings who subjugated their subjects were overthrown by those very people. No civilization can last under such rule.

And that is why I strongly believe that because of one's love for one's country, we should have the courage to demand that our countries, our laws, treat us right.
Written in 15 minutes.

Maybe that's why I believe one too many rules are made just to be broken.

Update: 2nd July, 3:00pm

The call came yesterday when I was gazing at the burnt classrooms of block D from the second floor of block C in SMKDJ.

"Hello, this is Angel Ling from SMU admissions. Did you receive our letter of offer for the law degree and scholarship?" she politely asked.

"Yes I have. Thanks for the offer, but I have chosen to decline it," I answered, suddenly realizing the gravity of my decision.

But I decided that one needed not to have a degree in law to think or argue, and that critical thinking and legal knowledge are not intrinsically intertwined.

"Err.... okay. Have a nice day." And the phone conversation came to an abrupt halt.

"I'm going to enjoy it either way," I thought to myself. And I have no regrets.


Anonymous said...

SMU double degree!! Definitely! Though you may kill your social life in the process, but wait, aren't SMU people supposed to be happening? haha

ChongX said...

EH DONT LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA WE ARE NTU BUDDIES REMEMBER?=) but i will still love you if you choose smu over me=P

Anonymous said...

SMU!!! Because it suits your personality better. And perhaps business alone is not challenging enough for you. With your flair for debate and public speaking, why NOT LAW as well?

Kevin Chan said...


yeah, that's whats bothering me, that the curriculum may not be challenging and stimulating enough. ): But I don't want to practice. So how? People are telling me that concentrating on business (since i want to do my own thing anyway) is a better idea, but I dont know...

And will it really kill my social life? arrgh!

Anonymous said...

i think you know what you want la. just don't say something like this in the future: "i shud have taken the other option." so decide well and delete all other options from memory. and make the best out of it.

make a decision u wun regret. you make the call.

Nimalan D said...

Ahha I dunno how good SMU and NTU are as institutions , but I gotta say , logically, a double degree will be so much better. and for your info, a lot of people who study law don't go on to practice it. A lot of accounting firms ,Investment banking, business firms etc are looking for law graduates ( not lawyers) these days

Anonymous said...

hmmm good point nim. i tot all law students were doomed to practice.

boils down to this imo: do what you love and ignore the rest

Anonymous said...

Ahha no we're not. All the world's big people are law graduates these day

Johnny Ong said...

well written there kevin. btw, most important is to choose what u like

su said...

congrats! you don't have to practise even if you graduate with a law degree.

everything happens for a reason. :D

Anonymous said...

hey! so what was your decision?!!

Kevin Chan said...

Well I decided on doing business in NTU. Did a lot of soul searching and realised that the only reason I really wanted to do law is because of the prestige.

And one can still think critically without a law degree so I guess I should take the more direct path to what I want to do in the future - business. (: