Meritocracy vs. Cronyism: the battle between the then and the now

I had this Cambridge educated Professor as a boss for a few years. He is Asian, brought up in Asia, but had a completely different philosophy towards teaching and learning especially from the legacy sages who refused to call it quits; maybe because he got his higher education away from this continent.

I was so fortunate to be his apprentice where he preached his modern context of how academia should be based on meritocracy!

Meritocracy: the things you do, the research you publish and the value you add to the global academic community. This is ‘Blasphemy’ to some who still believes in cronyism and thinks that servitude guarantees professional security. i.e. the more you kiss a*** the further you get in your career. However, since I was Western educated, I too don’t believe in regularly kissing anything other than my wife. In short don’t become a tool!

A driver who drives you around the same roads for 3 decades; a clerk who corrects your spelling for 4 decades; and a young researcher who would run you errands for the next few decades are Chronis. From all the various ‘motivational quotes’ I see on LinkedIn every day, we should be aware of this pre-historic practice. I have seen quotes on LinkedIn highlighting how you shouldn’t be a crony; but these should be taken with a pinch of salt.

This boss of mine used to say that I should be ‘worth my salt’. It is my sincere hope that meritocracy is seen as the driving force in private academia in countries within the ‘Global South’. If not then we should all start panning for salt in a continent of shameful Chronis.

Having said that… I have nothing against Chronis… Given that it’s not their insecurity that made them so…



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