The Tempinis diaries

March 31, 2008

Top Researchers in Singapore

Filed under: education, singapore — Tags: , , , — toru @ 11:44 am

Whatever one can justifiably say about Singapore – Disneyland with a death penalty, soul-less place, cultural dessert, repressive country etc – at least they got their research agenda of their universities right. Another big boost for the research sector in the country.


Top scientists to lead research
TWO leading international scientists have been roped in to head key organisations being set up here to study cancer and earthquakes.

The cancer facility at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will be headed by Prof Daniel Tenen of the Harvard Medical School, a world leader in cancer research.

The earthquake centre at Nanyang Technological University will be helmed by California Institute of Technology geologist Kerry Sieh.


November 25, 2007

It’s Like Being in Love with Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

Filed under: education — Tags: , , , — toru @ 8:23 am

“If they (Malaysia) would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us (Singapore) and even do better than us…”

Quote from Lee Kuan Yew

 “It’s like being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back”  Alan to Orked in Yasmin Ahmad’s Gubra on how many non-Malays feel towards Malaysia.

Lee Kuan Yew’s words in a recent interview which is excerpted in the quote above enraged and infuriated many Malay politicians.  Now I am no fan of Lee Kuan Yew – but who can really dispute the sentiments that he expressed?  With all this talk about raising the standards of universities in Malaysia in light of the disastrous fall in the THES 2007 world universities rankings, Malaysia should seriously consider tapping into Malaysians who are successful academics and currently based overseas.  This can be done by either appointing such a candidate as the Vice Chancellor  or to working out joint Professorship appointments with these talented individuals.  Such steps will signal a seriousness and commitment by Malaysian universities on running Malaysian institutions of higher learning on the principle of meritocracy.  Certainly, this is a much better idea than throwing lots of money at some foreign academic superstar like Jeffrey Sachs who does not seem to have either much time for Malaysian universities or any emotional investment in Malaysia.  I am sure there are many Malaysian born academics who are extremely eminent and well qualified who can be called upon to help raise the standard of Malaysian varsities.  Some of the candidates that come to mind are the incomparable Wang Gungwu  who is based in Singapore, the world renowned economist, Danny Quah from LSE (head of department at the Department of Economics at LSE) and the much respected  Lai Choy Heng  (former Dean of Science, now Deputy Provost at NUS and originally from Ipoh ).  I am sure these people are only the tip of the iceberg of talented Malaysians who are based abroad.  When you actually sit down and think about the depth of talent that the country has lost due to the aggressive affirmative action policies, it is enough to make one feel really sad.

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