"The function of the university is not simply to teach bread-winning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a centre of polite society; it is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between real life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment which forms the secret of civilization." -- WEB Du Bois, "The Souls of Black Folk"
"In my eyes, such religious return stands higher than the academic prophecy, which does not clearly realize that in the lecture-rooms of the university no other virtue holds but plain intellectual integrity." -- Max Weber, "Science as a Vocation"
"For ultimately there are only two kinds of deadly sins in the field of politics: lack of objectivity and--often but not always identical with it--irresponsibility. Vanity, the need personally to stand in the foreground as clearly as possible, strongly tempts the politician to commit one or both of these sins." -- Max Weber, "Politics as a Vocation"
Science as a Vocation
I am a sociologist who uses ethnographic and comparative-historical methods to study state formation, urbanism, postcolonialism, race and multiculturalism, and religion in Asia. I work closely with anthropologists, geographers, historians, legal scholars, planning scholars and fellow sociologists on interdisciplinary research projects. I research and write to leave a legacy of knowledge. I love teaching and learning from undergraduate and graduate students. I find much purpose in deepening undergraduate education as Associate Provost and innovating programmes and pedagogies as Vice Dean at NUS College.
Politics as a Vocation
I was a politician and activist with the Workers' Party. Politics was an extension of national service for me. I am now retired and serving Singapore in other ways. I was expelled from the Workers' Party for calling on the leadership to take responsibility and make themselves publicly accountable for ex-MP Raeesah Khan's lying in Parliament. I strongly believe that integrity cannot be compromised to be able to serve Singapore responsibly, regardless of what others do.