Dr Rethy Chhem, one of the top guys in IAEA, a very distingushed academic, came to Tembusu College and basically had a conversation with us at the first Master’s Tea event.
Abit about his background. He holds a Medical Degree, and on top of that, a PhD in Education, and a PhD in History.
It was a very inspiring session and if there’s one word to describe him, it would be zen-like. His outlook on life was very interesting and it really inspired me to go on and continue making a difference, even if bystanders don’t see value in what I am doing(or even having 9 straight hours of stuff on Fridays >.<)
He also dropped by for the Leadership module I was taking in Tembusu College(more on that later), and there was one quote from him that I will never forget.
Leaders do right things. Managers do things right.
That’s not to say one side is better than the other, but rather, how the 2 sides do things differently, and how every organizations need both sets of people. On one hand you need people with ADHD, agents of change, people who cannot stand the status quo. On the other, you need very disciplined people who can make those changes into structured process. Then you need the crazies to come and change things again. And the cycle continues.
I think I belong to the crazy side.
He was quite clear on doing the right things too. I rmb him saying something along the lines of, once something crosses your line, principles, morals, whatever it may be, you have to make a stand. If the company you’re working at continues down that path, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, just leave. Note, this is what I recalled he said. My memory might be a little fuzzy since I’m half asleep now. Ok, enough about him, now on to Tembusu College.
I think the main point brought up in today’s lesson was that theory is just that, theory. When you apply it in the real world it is different. And to hear academics say something like this, it kind of shows you how different these academics are. It’s been a long time since I was last excited about a module. Hell, I have never had a open minded prof teach me before. Now that they finally are taking academics from outside NUS to come in a teach the liberal arts, in an environment where craziness and thinking is encouraged, I think Tembusu College has the potential to be a really big success. I can feel myself starting to think again.
So back to the module. So we talked about leadership in general, and I think that the most important point brought up today was that at the end of the module, we can’t be taught how to be better leaders, but hopefully, we would be able to think more critically about such matters apply these thoughts into action. Anyway, today’s lesson was just a get to know each other better lesson, so let’s hope it will go up a few notches soon.
I’m really damn excited about the possibilities for education that has been brought about by the new University Town. fingers crossed