TAN: Truth is arrogant

April 9, 2012
The most worrisome thing about Yale-NUS College is the effect it has had on our administrators. In their desire to bolster support for the project and please their Singaporean counterparts, they’ve subordinated the truth to an eerie political correctness. Lately, very smart people have said very ridiculous things. Last week, President Richard Levin opposed a »

TAN: If Tweets could kill

February 16, 2012
A week and a half ago, on Feb. 4, a day celebrated as Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a 23-year-old Saudi blogger named Hamza Kashgari posted three Tweets that set his country on fire. “On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you,” he Tweeted, addressing Prophet Muhammad. “You’ve always been a »

TAN: For more objectification

November 1, 2011
People talk about objectification like it’s a bad thing. We hear it all the time: “Such and such a thing is bad because it promotes the objectification of women,” “such and such a thing propagates the idea of women as sexual objects” and so on. We hear it in protest to many things: advertisements that »

TAN: In love with sharing ourselves

October 25, 2011
I made some new friends over the weekend and asked one of them to add me on Facebook. “Oh, I don’t have Facebook,” she replied. How odd. I expressed my surprise with my usual charm and tact: “What?” I said. “If you don’t have Facebook, you don’t exist!” Of course I was exaggerating. Of course »

TAN: The place of a liberal arts education

October 12, 2011
When my father found out I was taking “Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War” this semester, he threw a fit. How do I explain my education to my parents? Should I need to? Amidst high costs and even higher expectations, is majoring in the humanities still justified? Indeed, on the national scale, is a liberal arts »

Tan: The rise of negation

March 29, 2011
When I was speaking to Chris Patten, the ex-governor of Hong Kong, in 2008, I asked about Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis: did he foresee an ideological clash between China and the West? Lord Patten replied that China posed no ideological threat to the West because (given the waning fervor for Chinese communism) there’s »

Tan: To the West and back

September 20, 2010
Examine East Asian perceptions of elite schools and the word that springs to mind is schizophrenic. The ruling elite in Malaysia denounce the West as decadent imperialists, while shipping their offspring to Western schools. Singapore, smug in its assurance of Asian superiority, continues to send its best minds to Britain and the U.S. Likewise China, »