From Mr Carl Baptista’s dialogue, I learnt that to have innovation is to be able to take one step further from the rest of your peers and the “norm”. It just needs a little push and passion for what you do to be able to do something innovative and meaningful. He showed us many examples of how once he came to know about a problem, he would think out of the box to link different things together to get the most simple and efficient way to solve the problem. This takes a sharp mind, because he could link two totally unrelated concepts together to use things from our daily lives to solve problems.
Also, it takes determination and steadfastness to be able to carry out what you intend to do. Mr Baptista came up with many concepts and inventions and had many noble aspirations, but met with many obstacles and objections by people he had to work closely to. For example, he was in his father’s company as pest control, but wanted to branch out into the bio-medical industry. His father objected to that, so he had to sell his house and be separated from the company and start from scratch. His perseverance paid off, though, because his father welcomed him and his new developments back to the company after its success.
From the visit to Housing Development Board, I learnt how it is important to adapt based on the situation. For example, in Singapore, when many people were still living in kampongs and lacked proper housing, the main aim of the HDB was to provide basic housing for the people. Now that our needs have changed and all people already have basic housing, the aim is to provide quality housing, so the HDB has to continually adapt and come up with new designs and creations to suit the needs of the community. I somehow recalled something that I learnt while on a Member of Parliament Attachment Programme: in the past, Singapore was a young country that was physically fit and agile. In HDB flats, many people did not want the lift landing to be on their level, as they wanted to protect their privacy. However, now that the population has aged, our needs have changed and the people’s priority is taking care of the elderly, so the more levels the lift lands on, the better. This shows how the systems and policies of the government should be always changing and adapt to the needs of the community.
From the visit to A*Star, I found out how important it is to find passion in what you do. The A*Star scholars did not all come from a research and science background, but they all found what they were passionate for and put in their all into their research, so that they could enjoy their work, albeit the slow progress of research and partial success that comes from it.
Nanyang Girls’ High School