Seen and heard this week


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


NUS Biological Sciences lecturer Dr Zeehan Jaafar commented on the third instalment of the proposal for the conservation of marine ecosystems as Lead Editor of the Singapore Blue Plan in a TODAY article on 13 October. Among the six recommendations presented in the plan was that the Southern island clusters — Pulau Semakau-Hantu-Jong, Pulau Satumu-Biola and Pulau Ubin — be designated as marine reserves. These islands are important as they harbour a high diversity of marine life, represent the “little that remains of our natural areas” and serve as emblems of Singapore’s national heritage, explained Dr Jaafar. Designating them as marine reserves will allow greater protection of marine biodiversity through better management, and will also allow community involvement and stakeholder participation.

NUS Dentistry Adjunct Associate Professor and paediatric dentist Rashid Tahir offered his thoughts on severe dental caries and decaying teeth in children as young as one year old in another TODAY article on 13 October. There are multiple factors behind dental caries including not brushing teeth adequately and frequent intake of sugary food and drinks, said Assoc Prof Tahir, and a major contributing factor is misconceptions about the care of baby teeth. Some parents still think that since baby teeth fall out they are not important. This type of misconception could result in the delay in starting dental care and lead to multiple problems, including severe tooth decay that may damage the adult tooth forming underneath. Experts advise that to avoid this, babies’ first dental appointments should be scheduled by the age of one.

NUS Sociology Year 4 student Louis Wong shared his experience of solo travelling in a TODAY Gen Y Speaks article on 14 October. Solo travel is a good way to learn from past failures and to never give up, Louis said. He wrote about the “first test of his travelling wits” in a solo road trip in Australia, where he encountered a series of misfortunes including losing his phone and getting his car stuck in sea sand. Through his determination to finish the trip however, he gained valuable lessons in good communication skills and being bold in approaching people for help. He has since travelled to some 31 countries and calls the uncertainty of solo travelling exciting, adding that having the courage to step out of one’s comfort zone and try new things is deeply satisfying.

Read more about the NUS community in the news.