magazine of the Biological Sciences Society
National University of Singapore
|Mudskipper, Nov 87|
Siva, Science 1
Word came to me that my Bio B tutorial group had been disbanded and that all the students were to be scattered amongst the other groups because our tutor, Dr Scott, would be leaving. Dismayed, as we were just getting to know her, a couple of us hunted her down during our Wednesday afternoon botany practical to confirm the rumour.
Well, she, definitely was leaving and it was for a lectureship in Australia which constituted an elevation from her present status. After congratulating her, we found out that she had been job-hunting for some time. Being on a teaching fellowship which would have expired next June and knowing NUS doesn't retain the expatriates indefinitely, Dr Scott thought it prudent to look around for an opening. Her new home will be the Plant Pathology Department at the Waite Institute, University of Adelaide.
For the past three years, she had been doing basic preliminary investigation into the tissue culture of Dipterocarps which give the most valuable timber in SEA. She said, "It has been extremely rewarding working with Prof Rao and Dr Loh." Lot of work had been done which would provide good basis for future research as it was the kind of project that could go on forever.
In her new situation, her research would involve tissue culture and plant pathology. Just as she was working with Dr C S Loh in NUS, she will be working with their Cambridge PhD colleagues in Adelaide. Dr Scott also hopes to do collaboration in the biotech Australian-Singapore project as involvement in it would bring her to these parts again.
Term-time starts in March next year, so it's back to her family in Scotland first. She'll be back in these parts for awhile to attend a conference in Kuala Lumpur somewhere next year before she goes 'Down Under' where she'll stay with friends until suitable accommodation is found. We thought it all sounded great but Dr Scott was quite sad. She shook her head and said "will miss my friends here very much" especially the post-grad students. She liked it best when she could talk to us personally and informally. For every batch of students there are a number with whom she gets to know personally and watching their advance through the years gives the kind of personal satisfaction only teachers can enjoy. Also, most of her friends are Singaporeans and Malaysians so it'll mean not seeing them half as often as she used to.
She had certainly gotten used to a certain number of things here like the wide variety of food available to us, so much so that she made sure she'd still be able to enjoy the kind of food she has been accustomed to enjoy these past years. Dr Scott had come to understand and appreciate the culture and traditions of our various races through her friends who come from these cultures. To top it all, she even known how to turn a phrase of 'Singlish' - a true sign of a person integrated into our society!
She has done much travelling around this region to places like Japan and observing the natural life. The many field trips to Malaysia were especially interesting. She summed it up all saying, "It's been good fun!".
Then we posed the inevitable question of any advice she had for us suffering students. Her impression of us was that we are too intensely exam orientated. Perhaps it's due to the education system we're used too but she said she certainly wasn't like that when she was a student! Dr Scott then urged us to relax and enjoy the subject for it's sake rather than solely for the sake of the exams. Bearing that in mind, we wished her Bon Voyage and left to continue with our practicals. Two weeks later, Dr Scott left for UK to see her family once again. As she told us, we'd all like to stay in one comfortable place forever but life always involves moving on.
© N Sivasothi, 2001