Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


NUS Political Science lecturer, Dr Hyejin Kim, together with Seoul University’s Associate Professor Erik Mobrand, penned a commentary in Channel NewsAsia on 2 May suggesting ways that Singapore and Southeast Asia could assist in diffusing tension on the Korean Peninsula. These included hosting technical training to help North Korea better engage with external actors; inviting North and South Korean officials and educators for exchanges to facilitate unofficial dialogue; hosting Korean cultural exhibitions involving both sides of the Peninsula for participants to gain exposure to North Korean art and culture; and offering joint language courses for North and South Koreans to develop skills in Southeast Asian languages and encourage mutual understanding and cooperation.

An article in The Straits Times on 3 May featured senior tutor at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS Mr Marcus Chua, who, together with president of Malaysian conservation research group Rimba Dr Sheema Abdul Aziz, discovered that the normally nocturnal Blyth’s horseshoe bat is diurnal — active in the day — on Malaysian island Tioman. The researchers believe that this could be due to a lack of bird predators present on the island during the day, allowing the bats to take advantage of the buffet of insects available. These findings indicate that the behaviour of living systems can be affected by changes in the environment and understanding the effects of such changes on the population of one animal could better inform future ecosystem management strategies.

Associate Professor Hari Krishna Garg from NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering wrote in Tabla! on 4 May about how innovation takes a scientific phenomenon and turns it into a valuable service to humans. Despite the high stakes and difficulty involved, the rewards of innovation are handsome, said Assoc Prof Garg. He went on to suggest five efficient ways to invent  — unification, or using one thing for more than one function; reduction, or simplifying the product and its functionalities; multiplication, using more of the same product at a time; dividing the storage capabilities of one product; and attribute dependency change by modifying one product for different functions. Assoc Prof Garg expressed confidence that the future holds infinite possibilities for more innovation.

Read more about the NUS community in the news.