Friday, June 15, 2012

This Will Blow Your Mind

National University of Singapore (NUS) Associate Professor Harold Tan was arrested for drug possession in February 2011. A Public Service Commission Local Merit Scholar and Jurong Town Corporation Overseas Merit Scholar, Tan taught Real Estate Development and Finance and had chalked up 26 years of experience. He was also a consultant who oversaw property developments in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

If Tan was Associate Professor Shi Yuzhi, a Chinese language and linguistics professor who hails from China, he would have argued the prohibited stuff found on him was necessary fuel for creativity. The nutty PRC professor had blogged that youths be allowed to consume psychedelic drugs in the name of producing a generation of creative thinkers. NUS sure knows how to pick them foreign talents.  Shi uses his line of logic for a book he is writing, "Why China cannot produce a Steve Jobs?", on the flaky premise of Jobs' publicised acclaim that LSD was a major reason for his success.

This was what Jobs actually said as part of a  top secret security clearance check for a Pixar contract:
"Throughout that period of time [1972 to 1974] I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times," Jobs said. "I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself. I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.”

Consider also this other excerpt found in the materials released by the FBI:
“Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs’ honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals.”

Shi has to be real creative to deduce the Macintosh and iPod were conceived with the aid of mind bending drugs. Fans of Jobs may not like to hear this, but  it was a Jef Raskin, who first came up with the Mac, and Jobs who hi-jacked the project ("iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business", by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon). The user interface (UI) for the iPod was subject of a lawsuit, which Apple finally settled with a US$100 million check for infringing Creative's patent. Drugs had nothing to do with it.

Shi's research areas are in Classical Chinese, Modern Chinese, Chinese dialects, minority languages in China, and English. His theoretical interests are in cognitive linguistics, linguistic typology, and grammaticalization (?) theory. The types of papers he published:
  • The Use of Color Words in Modern Chinese. Chinese Studies, Vol. 3, pp 18-22.
  • The Special Use of the Quantifier “one” in Negation. Chinese Learning. Vol. 9, pp 21-22.
  • Differences and Similarities between Synonyms and Antonyms. Chinese Studies, Vol. 1, pp 28-34.
  • The Marked and Unmarked Constructions in Modern Chinese. Yufa Yanjiu he Tansuo, Vol. 10: 19-30.
  • The Cognitive Relation between Question and Exclamation. Studies in Foreign Languages, No. 6.
  • The Relationship between Syntax and Word Formation. Journal of Chinese Language, No. 1.

Not exactly the kind of material to dive into to advance the frontiers of consumer technology.

NUS is not amused by the Prof's recommendations ("Without harming personal health, allowing young people to consume hallucinogenic drugs is not necessarily a bad thing". ), its spokesperson said that the Department of Chinese Studies is investigating the matter . Presumably they'll start by reading the tea leaves.


  1. My hubby worked in NUS from 2007 to 2010. He even commented that its as if he is working in Beijing ta xue ( university) as the place is flooded with so many of them, that they seem to be the majority !

    Do we need so many PRC professors and students ?

    If MIW says that we have not enough talents, they really failed big time ! As they have been in charge of the MOE for 46 years and counting !

    It takes twenty years to gloom a new generation of talent. May I ask, what have they been doing ?

    Shame on them, period.

  2. In addition we are getting the second or third rate ones and rejects.

    1. I believe it has become a widespread problem when I see the PAP MPs as 2nd or 3rd rate ones and somehow I have this sickening feeling Lee jr and his stooges are not even the 'B' team.

  3. Being creative can come in various ways. Trying to get more creative juices with the help of soft drugs is a perverted type of creativity in itself. Even Lady Gaga discourages this and ask her fans not to follow her footsteps.

    Creativity can come when your mind is at ease, very relaxed, you need to be a bit insane to see things in unusual ways, the environment has to be accommodating in the way as to tolerate the out-of-way stuff or ideas and not trying to suppress them.

    Steve Jobs is an innovative person rather than a creative person. He is meticulous in the way he executed his marketing plans for the various Apple products.

    The Professor's view is tantamount to saying that athletes are okay to take drugs to boost their performance in the Olympic games.

    For the sake of promoting a creative environment where unusual ideas are tolerated, this professor should be given just a verbal warning and not to penalize him severely!

    1. Since when did Lady Gaga become a pioneer of creativity?

  4. Consciousness6/15/2012 12:00 PM

    Well, at the risk of sounding controversial, here's what actually Steve Jobs said in 2007 to 101-year-old Swiss scientist and LSD inventor Albert Hofmann when the latter reached out to Jobs, on behalf of fellow psychedelic drug pioneer Rick Doblin, requesting funding for a proposed LSD-assisted psychotherapy study.

    “Let's put it in the water supply and turn everybody on.”

    True story. If Steve Jobs led a computer revolutionary because of LSD, maybe this professor is tacitly trying to imply Singapore need a revolutionary too, the way the country leaders have clearly demonstrated it ran out of ideas.

    1. There are many successful acid heads out there, most hail from tech silicon valley. The founder of Autonomy who sold his billion dollars venture to HP was also one of the glorious taker and exemplar of this drug. And many more who has not come forward.

      Personally, I think it should be allowed for the creative folks. May just do wonders for our arts/creative types here. When you look at all that pathetic NDP songs created so far, none can really make it to the world mtv chart. Even a simple south african song like waka waka can sell billions of records for shakira, you wonder where is the local genus and talents who can create a truly world class song, written by our own world class artistes, one that can incorporate malay, indian, singlish and chiense slang into a uniquely medley that has wide appeal!?! Where? You seed hasn't even been planted yet and you already want to kill the granddaughter to flourish?!

      Young artist man/woman, if you want to live, go west!
      Young foreign man/woman, if you want to work soullessly, go east!

    2. That NDP song is not stirring any patriotism in me whatsoever, despite their uniforms. I know what they are trying to do. Won't change the fact that we still feel 15% of budget spent on Defense is ridiculous and unjustifiable.

  5. Thot he is saying it for his comrades in China?
    So why are we so worked up?
    If they want to start another opium era, let them lor.
    For a professor of language i wonder how he would stand to gain?
    After all, hanyupinyin and simplified chinese are already invented.
    Maybe he has other ideas to teach chinese kids english/singlish the creative way, like this

  6. I only have one comment. Sack Shi Yuzhi!

  7. What I Really Think6/15/2012 5:10 PM

    The professor who has a PHD from Stanford has a shock value here.
    After all he must have seen plenty of successful cases living and studying in west coast of USA.
    Singapore needs more shock statements to come from our Academics and Students. Like Professor Lim Chong Yah. Like Reuben Wang. Like Samantha Lo etc...these are all good shock therapies our society need now.
    Especially after you hear the same old stale threats from PM Lee's speech at ESS, nothing will get through the PAP thick skulls without some shocking remedies. They want solutions, these are solutions. Because you know what..they will still shoot it down. OR if they don't, maybe 10% of what you say may eventually get heard and tried out. That's the sad reality today and you have a bunch of people who think they know best.

    I condone what the Professor has suggested here. He's merely stating facts.

  8. 60% of Sinkies are already on mind bending drugs.
    I mean, really.
    Just how stupid can you get.
    Even when LKY says "you are daft".
    You continue with the status quo.

    It must be the Newater.

    1. When Steve Jobs said,
      “Let's put it in the water supply and turn everybody on.”

      He meant the LSD, not Newater!!!

  9. The reason there are so many PRC profs an be found in LKY's pronouncements to Deng. LKY holds that local Chinese, who are descendants of Southern Chinese are inferior to the mandarins of the North. The peoples of the tropics are even more inferior.

  10. If you have an open mind and believe in freedom of expression and ideas, what this professor said is his own opinion and idea. There is no need to stir it up. It is just accepted as his personal comment in an open and inclusive society. He may be wrong or right and others in the society can refute or reject what he said. Again, those refute and reject are also expressing their own opinion. This is about democracy, freedom of expression and inclusive society.

    NUS should not spend time and effort to investigate and even penalise this professor if NUS is truly wanting to be world-class university like Yale and others. This event and development just show that Singapore is not ready for democracy, freedom of expression and inclusive society. A long way...really sad though.

  11. Substance Over Form6/16/2012 12:17 PM

    Only substance that has blown my mind recently are those words not uttered but consumed the people

    Fark You, Sir. You have wasted our valuable time.
    Fark You, Sir. You have squandered your chance to explain your policies.
    Fark you, Sir. You are patronizing us.
    Fark you, Sir. You have just disengaged us.
    Fark you, Sir. You have not answered our questions.
    Fark you, Sir. You are utterly inept.
    Fark you, Sir. You are not thinking and listening deeply.
    Fark you, Sir. You don't deserve my respect.

  12. Next time some celebrities who get caught for some drug party will be able to say they did it to spur their creativity!

    1. Well well some son of an elite had a better excuse: he said he din know the white powder was cocaine when he snorting through his nose.

      Oh and the elite was the son of a subordinate judge and an NMP. In the end, he aw sentenced to some hours of community service and probation for using drugs.

      Yes yes, let's farking all use drugs like the foreign talent prof recommended and use the same farking excuse as the elite when caught. fark 'em all!!!

  13. First of all, the writer of this article has obviously never tried any drug before. I'm firmly against ignorantly commenting on subjects that you have no clue about. All I can say is, I can see how LSD may have seriously impacted Jobs' life; one of the known effects of LSD is a sudden profound and deep understanding of reality. Of course, the hallucinations are fun too.

    As for the commenters wanting this professor out of this country; freedom of expression and freedom of speech applies to both foreigners and locals. If we can't even tolerate a professor bringing up an unconventional idea, I can completely understand why the use of LSD was even suggested by him. It's because you people are extremely close-minded. You dislike people who have thoughts against the status quo. This is why Singaporeans are not considered a creative bunch.

    You are the same people who are quick to complain that we lack freedom of expression, yet you are quick to shut down a professor who is merely expressing his opinion.

    So really, is our society plain, dull, and boring due to an oppressive government; or is it because we are simply an oppressive society?