Today is our youngest son's birthday and I decided to take leave. I'm taking some rest off what seems to be a flurry of events and duties that we have taken up. It is quite easy to be given the impression that we are doing a lot of work, while most of what we do may not be critical to our core activities. (research, teaching and extension). So, it is perhaps wise once in a while to pause and take a step back, to look at the bigger picture. In a way, I find this article interesting in making us conscious of the different cultures that have crept in higher education.
Before this, I thought I should stop blogging for a while and be silent amidst all the uncertainties in fear of what I say might be misconstrued as looking for positions. However I feel I need to say some things out so that a visible bigger picture of what I do is made apparent to all.
Currently, I'm pushing for things what I consider important for the institute in the long run, namely, potential and committed international collaborations. These are not meant only for mere "making names" or "internationalization activities". I see them as strengthening and expanding our research horizon. Elsewhere in the world, institutions from different parts of the globe are collaborating in a systematic and concerted way. An example is our down south neighbour has their institutions collaborating with France to form Majulab (joint effort of NUS, NTU, CNRS and Nice Univ.). Having said that, sometimes people are too quick in making judgments that we are going to be poor copycats. I can safely say for the things that we are going to do, they are a mixture of availability of opportunities and visions of what we want to be. This, we do not do blindly. National agenda is certainly within our mind and thoughts are being put in how we can converge our different research directions and cultural inclinations. Not only that, thoughts and efforts are being put in to essentially just make things work (which people tend to forget as if the things we do are automatic). Sceptics will always be there, sometimes painting us as lesser beings (do we really want to side with them), and it has been a significant part of my life to challenge these stereotypings. Thus I pray that we will prove these sceptics wrong.
With the present transition that the institute is going through, my hope is that we remain strong in our goals and work our best to see things through.