Friday, March 30, 2007

Philip Yeo clarifies remark about present generation

From the ST forum today (31-Mar-2007):

"My comments were made in the context of the value of honouring obligations. It truly saddens me that bond breaking is taken lightly by some Singaporeans.

My point is this: If we cannot find enough qualified Singaporeans who are willing to serve their country upon the completion of their fully-funded studies, then we have little choice but to offer scholarships to non-Singaporeans in order to produce the critical mass of researchers that we need to support our R&D in the biomedical and physical sciences and engineering. When they take up our scholarships, they also take up Singapore citizenship, and this helps us to augment our human capital with foreign talent." - Phillip Yeo


I have no beef with Mr. Yeo's comment that it saddens him that 'bond breaking is taken lightly by some Singaporeans'. It's a respectable view that he holds.

What worries me is the second paragraph. It's not the part about giving away scholarships and citizenships to foreigners that gets my goat; it is the assumption that the critical mass of researchers to support R&D depends crucially on finding enough 'Singaporeans who are willing to serve their country upon the completion of their fully-funded studies'.

Does the good chairman mean to tell us that if we don't give our scholarships to bright A-level school-leavers, our entire strategy for developing the manpower for R&D in the biomedical sciences, physical sciences and engineering will fail and the only possible alternative is to count on non-Singaporean A-level school leavers?

I like to think that he is a lot smarter and knows better than that. And I worry for the ocular organs of many of the ST readers - too much rolling is bad for them.


twasher said...

The unmentioned alternative is clear to me as well, but I have less faith in the reasoning abilities of most ST readers.

kwayteowman said...

Unfortunately, unlike twasher, the unmentioned alternative is not clear to the KTM. You wanna elaborate?

Seems like the point here is that we need a lot a lot of PhDs to support biotech R&D. I think that in addition to training, we are also importing ready-trained fellas but there just aren't enough.

kwayteowman said...

Fox, what's your email? The KTM would like to send you an article related to this topic. :-)

Fox said...

You can reach me at

What is this interesting article that you have?