I am, by nature, an inquisitive person. Living in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world means you need to adapt to survive – especially if you’re expected to be a future leader of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
To quote Assoc Prof Tan Joo Seng from the Nanyang Business School: “Whether you are a student choosing a university or subject area to specialise in, or someone building a career and trying to improve the world, remember one thing: Being curious will put you on the path to success.”
It was curiosity that first set me down the rabbit hole that is blockchain. Beyond Bitcoin, blockchain has far-reaching applications that every university student – or the future workforce – should know about.
The basics of blockchain
The media was obsessed with Bitcoin – and similar sounding cryptocurrencies in 2018 – after the former hit a value of US$19,783.21 on December 2017, its highest on record. Then there were talks of regulations and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings, where start-ups raise funds by offering public shares in the form of cryptocurrency).
At the base of all the exciting talk, is blockchain. So what exactly is this heavy sounding technology?
Curiosity is one of my research areas of interest and it’s a topic I teach and cover in my modules. You could call me the Professor of Curiosity! I’m inherently curious, reading at least one book a week.
In the course of living what I hope to be a life of curiosity and meaning, I have drawn inspiration from other inquisitive people around me. Through this blog post, I hope some of that spirit will rub off on you.
Jack Ma and his friends were once googling for beer when he realised how difficult it was to find Chinese beer on the internet. It prompted him to create a homepage in Chinese. Within five hours of posting the page, he received five emails from people across the world, including in the US and Germany. The power of the Internet surprised him – one which he harnessed towards building Alibaba, now a Chinese giant specialising in e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology.
The sound of my alarm woke me at 1am. I woke reluctantly, watching through bleary eyes as the guides went around the tents, checking that we were awake before passing us our breakfast of bread spread thickly with marmalade and steaming cups of ginger tea. We gratefully gulped down the homemade ginger tea as it was bitterly cold, even when we were clad in layers of our thickest clothing. They made really good makeshift heat packs. We were looking forward to the summit climb, but not how cold it will be.
Over the past two years, 11 teams of NTU students had been hard at work during semester breaks constructing a school annex at the Hin Heup District in Laos, a three-hour drive from Vientiane, its capital.
Students from the NTU Welfare Services Club, hall of residence clubs and other school and student groups were part of the Nong Luang Village School Annex Project to transform the lives of the villagers.
There is a misconception that wakeboarding is a competitive sport and you need prior experience to join the NTU Wakeboarding Club. When they started their journey with us, most of our members were new to wakeboarding. Many of them brought their friends along for wakeboarding sessions after enjoying their first experience on the water, and our membership has grown.
You don’t need to join the club to learn from us as well. In fact, we love to introduce the sport to everyone, members as well as non-members. We’ll guide you all the way, from putting on the board to taking your first steps. Many first-time wakeboarders pick up the basics on their very first session!
I 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
“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
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.
As an undergraduate at NTU, I have found that critical thinking is encouraged in classroom discussions. In theory, the goal of critical thinking can be said to make you a devil’s advocate. No opinion or argument is flawless; you can and will, seemingly for its own sake, find fault with anything a person says. Of course, this sounds like a surefire way to gain unpopularity.
However, by moulding you into an independent thinker, critical thinking brings benefits that far outweigh its initial drawbacks.
Here are three reasons why critical thinking matters: Continue reading
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.
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