My thoughts this National Day

2E3A8348I spoke at this year’s National Day Observance Ceremony on 15 August at NTU. It was a timely occasion for me to share my thoughts on what it means to be Singaporean and how NTU can contribute to Singapore’s future.

Punching above our weight
Last Saturday was a historic day for Singapore and the world as Singaporeans erupted in joy and pride when 21-year-old Joseph Schooling took home the nation’s first Olympic gold medal. It certainly felt like we had all won the gold ourselves! Continue reading

I went to TED and this is what happened

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Not the fluffy, cotton-wool, snoozy kind of dreams. Big dreams. Bold dreams. Beautiful dreams. Dreams that will change the world.”

This was how Chris Anderson, TED Curator, sparked our imagination as a prelude to the TED2016 Conference. For five days and evenings in February, TEDsters from all over the world converged on Vancouver for the now legendary annual conference often described as the ultimate “brain spa”. With over 80 speakers and performers and more than 1,200 participants, the week was bursting with inspiration, imagination and ignition, and it did not disappoint! Continue reading

What’s buzzing at The Hive?

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I am very proud of our new learning hub, The Hive, and at its official opening last week, I shared in a speech my thoughts on why it is not just an eye-catching building but will soon become an icon of the future of learning.

Not your regular modular building stacked up like Lego bricks, it redefines university buildings with its unusual shape and use of space for learning in the 21st century.

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A debt of gratitude to Mr Lee

No words can express the gratitude I felt at the funeral service for Singapore’s first Prime Minister today. In his death as it was in his life, he brought all of Singapore together – One Singapore. I think I speak for all Singaporeans when I say that it felt like I had lost a father. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was indeed a father – of our homeland, Singapore.

I felt the same depth of feeling as I did speaking at the memorial ceremony NTU held last week to honour his life and legacy where I said that Singapore will be forever synonymous with Mr Lee Kuan Yew. From the early days when he first won his electoral seat in Tanjong Pagar in 1955, to the day he went into intensive care in February 2015, Mr Lee had dedicated his whole life to building the Singapore that we know today. He made this city state for today. He also spent his whole lifetime reshaping and refining the nation for tomorrow. Truly, like many Singaporeans, my family, my children and my grandchildren owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Lee. Not just for what we have today, but also for what we can have tomorrow.

Provost

The Singapore that was 50 years ago did not have land, did not have water, did not have industry, did not have decent education, nor good health, nor military security, nor racial and religious harmony. The secret societies collected their dues in Chinatown, Geylang, Jalan Besar, Lorong Tai Seng, Red Hill and many more places. Pirate taxis roamed the streets and illegal hawkers sold food that passed on diseases. That was the Singapore I was born into as a child. We were shamefully kicked out of one country and forced to become a country in a time and in a region that could not be worse. Continue reading

From undergrad to full prof

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This is an excerpt of a speech I delivered at NTU’s Academic Council Meeting on 28 August 2014, where I was installed as a full professor.

In 1992, a shy young man walked into Lecture Theatre 1 for his first lesson at NTU. After running around in the jungle with his M16 rifle for two and a half years, he wondered if he could cope with his studies as an engineering freshman. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life then. Well, that young man was me.

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Prof CN Yang: Life’s going to get more interesting (and difficult)

All I knew about Prof CN Yang, I learnt from a 20-second glance at his Wikipedia entry before my CN Yang Scholars Programme admission interview.

Fast forward a year and an email arrives in my inbox, saying that Prof Yang is going to be in Singapore for a conference and that an informal discussion will be arranged for students from the CN Yang Scholars Programme.

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Look hues painting

Hi, everyone! It’s been awhile since I wrote something related to school. In this post, I’ll be touching on something not new to most of us – watercolour painting.

My ADM professor, Asst Prof Ng Woon Lam, is a well-known watercolour painter in Singapore. He recently won his second Bronze medal from the American Watercolour Society.  I’m very inspired by his work.

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So, what is there to learn from watercolour painting? Quite a lot, as I recently found out from a module I’m taking that teaches watermedia landscape painting.

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