Seen and heard this week


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


In an opinion piece published in The Straits Times on 9 April, Dr Adrian Kuah, Director of NUS Futures Office and Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS questioned the fairness of meritocracy. He acknowledged that while meritocracy worked in the early days of Singapore’s independence because everyone was more or less on a level playing field, in the intervening decades, inherited advantages and disadvantages have left younger generations on unequal footing. He argued that in order to develop a population that possesses the traits and skills useful for Industry 4.0, Singapore should look beyond the current single-dimensional meritocracy based on academic performance and instead have multiple concurrent meritocracies to “cultivate and meaningfully reward” a broader spectrum of talent.

On 11 April, the eve of the original Brexit deadline, Professor David De Cremer, Provost Chair at the Department of Management and Organisation at NUS Business opined in a Channel NewsAsia commentary that a no-Brexit outcome would be the likeliest and most desirable option for the United Kingdom. He noted that the UK is no closer to a deal to exit the European Union than it was when the British people voted to leave the bloc almost three years ago, which could be due to the lack of attention to the complexities of Brexit such as the fact that the EU is the UK’s close neighbour and will continue to have influence on them, as well as the British politicians’ mistakes in negotiation. Prof De Cremer posited that once the UK realises that they may not be able to achieve a consensus on a Brexit deal, not leaving the EU could emerge as the best option for them.

Dr Victor Kattan, Senior Research Fellow from the NUS Middle East Institute, discussed the repercussions of Mr Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection as Israel's prime minister on Palestine and the peace process in a commentary for TODAY on 12 April. Dr Kattan postulated that Mr Netanyahu’s win will see him making good on his election promise to extend Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank, which will make a Palestinian state an impossibility, thereby ending the prospect of a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict. Dr Kattan pointed out that while annexing the West Bank would run Israel afoul of international law, Mr Netanyahu could be emboldened by the possible support of US President Donald Trump. But, Dr Kattan warned that taking this significant step would cause unrest in the region and leave Israel vulnerable to “enormous security risks”.

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