Seen and heard this week


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


In a TODAY commentary on 2 January, Year 4 History student Ng Qi Siang from Yale-NUS College offered his take on the difficulties Malaysia’s new coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is facing. Qi Siang opined that the alliance has been more of a marriage of convenience than one united by common political beliefs. The founding parties stand on a platform of Reformasi — calling for a more democratic and multiracial approach. This may not be in line with the ideological stance of Bersatu, which brands itself as a “Malay-nationalist party”. The coalition therefore faces greater difficulty staying united, said Qi Siang, and with the Malaysian electorate growing disillusioned, this could open the door to more right-wing populist influence in Malaysian politics — potentially leading to yet greater division and instability for the country.

Sharing lessons learnt from the once-mighty bike-sharing sector in a commentary for Channel NewsAsia on 4 January, Associate Professor Goh Puay Guan from NUS Business said that the next wave of last-mile mobility, which might involve e-scooters, would do well to consider similar operational and regulatory issues in their business models in order to be successful. Assoc Prof Goh said that the bike-sharing sector’s fixation on swift customer acquisition may have led to its downfall and urged e-scooter companies to take a gradual customer acquisition approach, scaling up rapidly only once they have gained more experience and information. He added that they should also analyse consumer and journey information and work out how best to optimise their positioning of e-scooters and electrical charging points based on usage patterns.

Adjunct Assistant Professor Wilson Wong from the NUS Food Science and Technology Programme offered readers of The Straits Times on 5 January advice on identifying and caring for their prized plants in sunny Singapore. From wild pepper and Bellorita to Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and rose plants, Asst Prof Wong, who is also an NParks-certified practising horticulturist and park manager, dished out expert gardening tips relating to optimal levels of sunlight, stemming disease and watering techniques.

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