The Tempinis diaries

November 28, 2007

Reversing the Brain Drain: The Case of President Shih

Filed under: education — Tags: , — toru @ 4:36 am

The problem of a brain drain is a universal problem that is not confined to a country like Malaysia.   Lest people think that I regard Singapore as paradise, I readily concede that Singapore has its fair share of problems.  Many people do migrate due to the stressful environment, lack of physical and political space and the cut-throat education system.   Although in some of my previous postings I have praised the Singapore education system, I do acknowledge that the education system here is flawed in that some talented people will fall through the cracks.  Shih Choong Fong, the President of NUS, appears to be such a case.  In his own words, when he was a student his grades were so bad that he couldn’t make it to the University of Singapore.  Shih went abroad, did well and became a faculty member at Brown University.  He returned to Singapore and became the President of NUS when he was in his 50s.  A translated story of an interview with President Shih in the Lianhe Zhaobao can be found here.

I guess the whole point of this blog posting is this: Malaysia should find a way to reverse the brain drain and tap into the Malaysian academic diaspora to help improve the standard of Malaysian institutions of higher learning.  I will blog more on this issue in future posts.


  1. reversing the brain drain?
    just adopt full fledged meritocracy
    throw away the affirmative action policy
    soon the brain drain will stop

    Comment by bobby — November 28, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  2. your links to prof shih’s profile in NUS, led me to further read his interview (in english). he highlighted many important aspects bout pursuing your dream and not just following your friends, your parents’ demands, and the job market. i wonder how many msians, and sporeans actually followed this advice of his. have you followed prof shih’s advice, tempinis?

    woe to the humanities…………

    Comment by fob — November 28, 2007 @ 8:56 am

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