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What happened to Life Sciences?

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Old 15-06-2009, 01:32 AM
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Default What happened to Life Sciences?

What happened to Life Sciences? | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore

It’s been a while since the term life sciences last appeared in the mainstream media. Most recently, it appeared somewhat in the form of “green chemistry” in this CNA report talking about GlaxoSmithKline opening a facility in Singapore and sponsoring some scholarships.

The scholarships are for studies in green chemistry and public health policy.

Green chemistry? Shouldn’t it be the broader “life sciences”?

Remember the billions of tax dollars invested in this “forefront” of a “new wave of scientific and technological advances”? And remember the media talking ad nauseam every other day about this new and exciting industry, glorifying the wonders that bio-life-scientists would bring to mankind?

I believe thousands of impressionable bright students who would otherwise become great doctors and lawyers have decided then, impressed by those media reports and maybe Philip Yeo’s charm, to embark on this path to life sciences glory … hopefully not to get a test tube cleaning job at the end.

We haven’t since heard much about life sciences in the mainstream media. Nothing of the glorifying sorts, but only some minor news about certain nobel-quality scientists returning to work for us or some green chemistry scholarship.

But from non-mainstream media (i.e. the Internet), I read something of interest. The following is an extract from a reader’s blog:

Quote:
“Fancy reading (the Dean saying) about how the department of life sciences ‘will be more comfortable with a hundred less (students reading life sciences)’… According to multiple sources, a graduate with an engineering degree is well suited for a career both in the realm of engineering research and in the financial sector. The same set of statistics reveals that a fresh engineering graduate is more likely to be on a higher payroll than a fresh science graduate.”
What happened to life sciences?


Last edited by Unregistered; 15-06-2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 15-06-2009, 10:12 AM
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The life science hype is over. Too many students signed up for uni, JC and poly courses on life sciences that the authorities have decided to put a halt to the media blitz. The hype is not only limited to the media - even MOE and teachers caught on the bandwagon and encouraged the smartest students to board the life science train. The young Singaporeans are really "impressionable" as you put it (some would say they are easily manipulated). I don't think we will hear much of life science any more.


Last edited by Unregistered; 15-06-2009 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 15-06-2009, 02:39 PM
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That's why I always tell young people to choose a course they like not one which they Ggahmen would like them to choose.

Many years back, the push to go into life sciences was initiated by the Gahmen who wanted to show everyone we have enough "qualified test tube washers" to be a life science hub. I pity those who jumped onto the bandwagon.

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Old 15-06-2009, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Husky View Post
That's why I always tell young people to choose a course they like not one which they Ggahmen would like them to choose.

Many years back, the push to go into life sciences was initiated by the Gahmen who wanted to show everyone we have enough "qualified test tube washers" to be a life science hub. I pity those who jumped onto the bandwagon.
Most young people in Singapore usually do not know what they want. They wait for their parents, teachers and even the government to advise them on what they should do. That is why we have whole generations (different generations though) of civil engineers, semicon engineers, IT people, and now life scientists.

For those who knew what they wanted, they may now be enjoying a better quality of "career satisfaction", but not necessarily a better quality of life (read: insufficient income).

In this capitalistic and materialistic society, money (and thus income) is of utmost importance. Once you embark on a wrong career, it's hard to maneuver out of it.

Ideally, students (if they are independent enough) should research wisely and strike a balance between income and self-satisfaction. Don't be a mime artist in Singapore if you know you can't make a comfortable living out of it. Another example: if I had known about the income of IT consultants in MNCs, I would have shaped my career path toward getting into such a role.

Last edited by quek; 15-06-2009 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 15-06-2009, 03:30 PM
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Yup. Agree totally with you adbie. But then again, how many people knew what they wanted when they were 18? Back then I almost signed on with the army. Not that it's a bad thing but it's not really what I wanted. Was simply very tempted by the ease of getting a SAF scholarship .

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Originally Posted by adbie View Post
Most young people in Singapore usually do not know what they want. They wait for their parents, teachers and even the government to advise them on what they should do. That is why we have whole generations (different generations though) of civil engineers, semicon engineers, IT people, and now life scientists.

For those who knew what they wanted, they may now be enjoying a better quality of "career satisfaction", but not necessarily a better quality of life (read: insufficient income).

In this capitalistic and materialistic society, money (and thus income) is of utmost importance. Once you embark on a wrong career, it's hard to maneuver out of it.

Ideally, students (if they are independent enough) should research wisely and strike a balance between income and self-satisfaction. Don't be a mime artist in Singapore if you know you can't make a comfortable living out of it. Another example: if I had known about the income of IT consultants in MNCs, I would have shaped my career path toward getting into such a role.
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Old 15-06-2009, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Husky View Post
Yup. Agree totally with you adbie. But then again, how many people knew what they wanted when they were 18? Back then I almost signed on with the army. Not that it's a bad thing but it's not really what I wanted. Was simply very tempted by the ease of getting a SAF scholarship .
Was it really that easy for you? The SAF Scholarship is second only to the President's Scholarship in terms of prestige. I suppose in your time, you at least had to be a straight-As student and also do well in your CCAs, right?
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Old 15-06-2009, 05:25 PM
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Was it really that easy for you? The SAF Scholarship is second only to the President's Scholarship in terms of prestige. I suppose in your time, you at least had to be a straight-As student and also do well in your CCAs, right?
Sorry, I should have made myself clearer.

My definitions of SAF scholarships include the LSA or Local Study Award. Reason being the LSA was worth more than most scholarships. Back in my time, the LSA covers 100% of your tuition fees and includes a $10k allowance per year. Compare that with a PSC scholarship offering tuition fees and allowance of $5,500 per year.

Grades wise, I was probably somewhere in the qualifying criteria for LSA and the SAF Merit Scholarship. Then, in BMT, there were all these people from the recruitment centre coming over to give us talks. I remember the Major giving the talk telling us how he could help us push for OCS if we were to sign up with him etc, be it LSA, SAFMS or SAFOS.

I thought to myself, WOW! $10k a year. That's a lot of money for a 18 year old drawing $240 recruit allowance. I thought I will decide after I go to OCS, but I ended up in SISPEC! Nope, didn't bother to try and cross over as there were very limited places and too many outstanding people vying for them. Now approaching my 30s and nearing the end of my ICT cycle. I think it was a blessing in disguise.
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Old 15-06-2009, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by student View Post
Was it really that easy for you? The SAF Scholarship is second only to the President's Scholarship in terms of prestige. I suppose in your time, you at least had to be a straight-As student and also do well in your CCAs, right?
I believe the most prestigious one among all SAF scholarships is called the "SAF Overseas Scholarship" or SAFOS for short. If you get it, you are all set for life (assuming you like the job ).
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Old 16-06-2009, 09:47 AM
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I believe the most prestigious one among all SAF scholarships is called the "SAF Overseas Scholarship" or SAFOS for short. If you get it, you are all set for life (assuming you like the job ).
More accurately, you are set up for life so long as you don't screw it up big time along the way. Typically SAFOS scholars retire with a min rank of Colonel. Quite a good number make it to the stars.
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Old 16-06-2009, 10:48 AM
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More accurately, you are set up for life so long as you don't screw it up big time along the way. Typically SAFOS scholars retire with a min rank of Colonel. Quite a good number make it to the stars.
Some of them will go on to be ministers, who are among the highest paid professionals in the world. Are we right to call them "professionals"?
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