An apology to Prof Alfred Huan
I received an email from Prof Alfred Huan requesting that I delete all references to him in a previous post. Prof Alfred Huan did not give prior permission to myself to publicise his comments meant for his friends’ eyes only. I apologise for not having sought his permission before publishing it first. It is not my intention to get him involved in a (national) debate over concerns of whether NS-obligated talents are treated fairly and consistently.
I noted then that I would comply if he requested that I delete the post and I have done so.
However, some people had already commented on the post and I feel it does not violate his privacy if I were to republish them here. Here are some of the more interesting comments posted:
Prof Huan is my mentor when I studied physics in NUS. He’s a very good lecturer who makes me think a lot about the subject, particularly in electromagnetism. He also gave very tough open book exams but I think that it helps to make me stronger in the subject when I studied overseas. I agree with what Fox said. Alfred tried very hard to help me in my career not in my best times, but in my hard times. I am very grateful to him for the help and I know that he’s a person who helps to build up local people. Even things do not work out, I spent my time to help the students from NTU whenever both his staff and him passed them to me.
August 16, 2011 at 10:42 AM
No wonder we have to import “foreign talents” for our Research Institutes.
I never knew our “real local talent” had it so tough.
But I guess if you don’t demolish these local talents when they are young, they will never learn.
“Remember your place in society before you engage in political debate… Debate cannot degenerate into a free-for-all where no distinction is made between the senior and junior party… You must make distinctions – what is high, what is low, what is above, what is below, and then within this, we can have a debate, we can have a discussion… people should not take on those in authority as ‘equals’”.
– Straits Times, Feb 1994.
No mention is made of what is true and what is false.
What is valid and what is invalid.
So just how meritocratic and liberal was George Yeo?
Another Ray of Sunshine Penetrates the Drakness
August 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM
The remainder of this post will simply be what is left of the original post after eliminating all references to Prof Alfred. As you can see there’s not much left.
Some updates: Mohd Nizam, who was supposed to meet Dr Patrick Tan for a chat on 5th August has replied to my email saying that Dr Patrick Tan called him up on his mobile at the last minute and had to postpone the meeting to Sept due to a completion and submission of a scientific paper:
On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 11:05 AM, Mohammad Nizam Abdul Kadir <email> wrote:
I wrote this on FB Wall (10am yesterday):
Prof. Patrick Tan, son of Dr Tony Tan, called me awhile ago on my mobile. It is unfortunate he has postponed our appointment to probably September, due to an impending completion and submission of a Scientific paper. From “definitely can meet up” to this, I just wonder what really is going on. Well, I tried.
To recap the previous post on this matter: There are others whose skills and request for deferments or disruptions were not always granted on the best possible terms the way Patrick Tan appear to have gotten. Another precocious individual who had represented Singapore at the International Maths Olympiad at the age of 17 was made to agree in writing in 1993 that he could only defer NS for a Bachelors and not for a PhD. Never mind the fact that he got into MIT’s highly competitive PhD programme. This talent which Singapore could have had retained chose to relinquish his Permanent Residency (PR) just so he could be free of his NS obligations.
In 2006, violinist prodigy Ike See was forced to downgrade his original proposed 3-year music diploma course at the prestigious Curtis school of music to a 2-year course before MINDEF was willing to grant a 2-year deferment. As another blogger sarcastically noted:
What a fool Ike See is!
Instead of downgrading from a 3-year bachelor degree to a 2-year diploma, he should have done the opposite: upgrade to a 12-year PhD cum MA cum BA package!
Indeed, from the above it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that exceptional talent and ability are much more likely to sway the minds of MINDEF personnel granting deferment and military posting if the individual also happens to be related to the right people. Oh well. Life is unfair.