Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The woman, the talk.

her name is Jackie Y Ying. she is executive director of bioengineering and nanotechnology kat biopolis ( , with 180 scientists under her working on 4 main areas - all related to the betterment of human condition/health. she was born in taiwan and came to singapore when she was 7. she went to school here until 15, then her family moved to the US. she stayed there for I think 22 yrs. She became among the youngest professors, asian female at that.. kat MIT. she came back to singapore, by invitation from a 'philip yeo' I asked aida who that is.. apparently someone from EDB - maybe minister. but anyhow, she's very happy to be back 'home' she said. She feels very connected to Singapore.

she became a muslim about 10yrs ago.. she didn't talk much about her conversion.. but that's fine, because I hope I can talk to her on camera about that.. you know how we've seen a few videos of inspiring conversions to islam from overseas.. yang kat singapore slalu dengar.. main reason pasal kawin. so i hope she'll agree to the video. that.. later.

So anyway, she dons the hijab, she was in shirt, blazer and work pants with track shoes. aida said the last time she saw her, she was in her track shoes also. I guess it's comfortable. oh yes, she does not hv make up on.. maybe only blusher.. or it could be that her cheeks are naturally blushed.

She started off, talking about the work that she does. And she's excited about it. It's quite technical, a lot of science terms, but we get the idea.

1. Drugs. she's coming up with a more convenient way to treat diabetics. instead of having to poke a needle on the finger to check blood sugar level all the time, and injecting insulin - they came up with a medication that needs to be taken orally, only once a day, and the medication will mimic the function of a pancreas, releasing just enough insulin ONLY if blood sugar level is high. so, no more having to poke needles when that comes out in the market, insyaAllah.

2. cell and tissue engineering. something to do with creating substance that are natural and safe to be used for replacing or repairing the bone. Right now, doctors insert titanium or plastic and these are all really foreign bodies.. not something naturally found in human bodies. So, what they do is again, try to closely mimic the structure of the real bone and they have been successful.

3. better treatment tools in pharmaceuticals. creating a better machine for dialysis..she says current machine removes toxins from the blood, but it also removes the good nutrients too. So the thing her team is working on, will again, mimic the missing n impt function in a kidney, which is absorbing back the good nutrients. still in progress.

4. biosensors/devices. coming up with an equipment that will allow doctors to diagnose an illness like flu and h1n1, faster and cheaper.

Ok, so that's the technical part. Then, among the things she mentioned which is, sadly true - is that she finds that younger ppl in singapore lack perseverance. they jump from one thing to another. they.. i shud say.. 'we' get tired of something easily.. after 1-2 yrs. we move. Another thing is complacency. When we achieve something already, e.g. get promoted - we become complacent and will not work as hard as we use to.

I think about it.. i believe the root cause is 'lack of passion' for what we do. Do the kids and youngsters even have passion for what they do. I only see real passion in work, when i get involved in production. but i guess still not strong enough to persevere. and if a person has passion - then, the person will still be as eager to produce a good job, even at a higher position.

then she mentioned how she feels the kids in singapore school are so deprived of the space for creativity, and to grow out of the defined space. answers in schools, has to be very specific (.. i think like how in preschool art.. trees have to be green).

someone asked her, what does she look for in a person, whom she will promote, in her work. She said, capability and good character. I like that. Good character is lacking is most workplace.

then ppl ask her, how she maintains herself.. like handling stress.. first, she said, that she's not perfect and just human too.. sometimes she's bad at handling her stress. But she tries. and she said, regular prayers definitely help. and ablution does help bring the body temperature down. In handling people and situations.. she reminds herself that these are all 'tests'. She feels that her important position, is a test from God. And she has to do her best to carry out this responsibilty. She wants to avoid having to answer for it on Judgement Day.

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