Seen and heard this week


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


An article in The Straits Times on 19 March featured a study involving NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s Research Associate Professor Jason Lee, and NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering PhD student Sharifah Badriyah Alhadad which found that drinking water is not the best way to lower body temperature during exercise. Instead, having high aerobic fitness, being heat acclimatised through prolonged, repeated exposure to heat stress and pre-exercise cooling are more associated with an ability to influence core body temperature and are better ways to maximise performance in a hot environment. Aside from athletes, these findings are also relevant to soldiers, firefighters and policemen to help them fight the heat in their occupational settings.

In a commentary for The Business Times on 19 March, NUS Business Associate Professor Qian Wenlan shared the findings from a study he helped conduct that found a correlation between increasing property prices and shirking behaviour at work among home owners. Using the transaction data of 200,000 credit card holders in three cities in China, the team found strong evidence that when home owners experienced a sharp increase in their property wealth, they are less motivated to exert effort at work, with some 60 per cent of them more likely to use work time for personal needs. This could lead to significant labour and productivity implications. Assoc Prof Qian said that similar conditions in Singapore could produce the same result, and urged policymakers to keep these findings in mind in discussions on the regulation of home prices.

Dr Adrian W J Kuah, Director of NUS Futures Office and Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS wrote an opinion piece in TODAY on 20 March, arguing that the strong emphasis on skills — upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning — in Singapore’s methodically-planned and structured approach to Industry 4.0 and counting fails to take into account the impossibility of knowing what skills will be required for jobs of the future. Instead, citing the example of his friend who made a seemingly incongruous jump from tiling and plastering in the construction industry to cake decorating, Dr Kuah suggests that Singapore should define skills in more general and flexible terms so they can be applied more creatively in a greater range of environments.

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