Saturday, July 29, 2006

John Hopkins NOT good enough for Singapore!

John Hopkins Singapore Center will close after 1 year because it failed to meet the high standards set by A-STAR. ASTAR has given $82M of funding to date to John Hopkins.

Some people I met express total shock at the amount of money involved. I would think that researchers around the world collaborate with people because they have something to contribute to the research. I once met a researcher from a prominent US university at Summerset Jazz, he told me getting funding from Singapore agencies is quite easy if one has reputation, they will come knocking and offering money for collaboration. I told him rubbish! That is not how this our govt operates! The PAP is especially careful and prudent when it comes to giving money to needy Singaporeans so much so many fall into utter desperation when they get sick or become jobless. The researcher even calls us "Santa Claus" and said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the generous offer made to him which exceeded his highest expectation. I told him he must have gotten us mixed up with the NSF (US National Science Foundation) or had too much to drink - the Singapore govt is just to prudent to give him money to work on something that will just produce a pile of research papers. Our agencies are not so hard up to pay money so that they can announce "they are working with so-and-so" ...and buying big names and reputations for instant gratification is just out of the question because they are sincere in the painstaking rigorous scientific process research which requires only one thing - passion.

The bottomline is John Hopkins is not good enough for Singapore. That is why ASTAR had to impose those KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on them and treat them like kindergarden children. All due diligence has been performed, the money spent has gone through the proper approval committes of elite men & women, so there is no need to harp on this honest mistake. There is no need to compile the lessons learnt or to demand full transparency from govt agencies spending tax payers money. As for the $82M, to you it may be alot of money but to the elites it is just peanuts ........


Farmercee said...

Why took so long to blog another piece? *grumbles grumbles* I had to miss my daily dose of "Lucky Tan" for two whole weeks...

This John Hopkins thingy... Lucky Sporeans, see? Our gahmen so clever! They quickly pulled the plug when they realized they couldn't buy research and reputation (as a biomedical hub) from JH. Nebermind the peanuts $82 million oredi spent. I wonder how many times have we been "saved" in this manner by AStar. They are doing so superbly, shld call themselves A1-Star!

Whispers from the heart said...

Yep, in the absence of Lucky Tan's guidance, I became despondent and cynic reading all those 'polemics dressed-up-as-analysis' blogs!

Singaporeans are so lucky. The government will not bet an eyelid like spendig millions to show us that even world-class institutions like JH are nothing compared to our agencies. We are AAAA - Star. US only got 50 stars on their flag, that's all.

Our KPIs are so stringent, even the angmohs cannot deliver. These angmohs should feel lucky that our MOE is willing to employ angmohs to be our teachers. See, we are willing to over-pay them while our fellow Singaporeans work till 73 to avoid getting a free lunch. Angmohs are almost as lucky as us, Singaporeans. In fact, they should stop voting for Bush and vote for our PM!

Soon, we will have more americans being indebted to us when the $500m MIT center is completed.

Imagine a small red dot like us feeding all their academics who can't even deliver on our KPIs, I really wonder who gave them the world-class branding, hah?

I am so proud of Singapore. Raymond Lim was so wrong to say that we are insignifant. Look at how we give away $82m free lunches to the americans!!!!

Which superpower can do that?

Swift said...

Curious, but I've observed a strange social phenonmenon in Singapore. It seems that the words of an Englishman (or anyone with an accent) seems to be worth more than that of a local. Sometimes I wonder whether people classified as foreign talents are really deserving of the title bestowed upon them. Look at our national soccer team, I vaguely remember how our foreign talents Agu Casmir and Itimi Dickson underperformed at the last SEA games match. Itimi Dickson who's supposed to have "blazing pace and trickery on the ball" (, was actually strolling on the field for much of the match (at least whenever the camera was on him; maybe I should give him the benefit of a doubt).

So has the government has lost faith in developing local talent? Whatever the answer may be, I feel that developing local talent is much cheaper, and it of course encourages the emergence of more local "heros", heros we could proudly claim to be uniquely Singapore.

Lpower2 said...

more free stuff to be given away??....,9171,1218061,00.html

Anonymous said...

It's ONLY the John Hopkins University

Capt_Canuck said...

Of course John Hopkins is not good enough for Singapore. When ruled by the 'elite' you have to be elite to be associated with Singapore. Or, could it possibly be that the elite of Singapore found out that there are higher elites somewhere in the world that don't need gov't protection or coddling from education to become elite?

Did you ever hear about the 9 year old bully in his class? He came across the 13 year old bully in the school yard at recess.