Singapore—Singapore’s own “infectious disease professor who is also a politician” said that Singaporeans deserve a better Singapore in a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) video for mustsharenews.

One of the questions Dr Tambyah, the chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), was asked was for the one thing he would like to say to the residents of Bukit Panjang, where he contested in the General Election last July, he narrowly losing to People’s Action Party’s Liang Eng Hwa by less than four percentage points.

He answered, “We can make a difference.” Thanking the residents for the support they have given the SDP team, he added, “Together we can really make a difference.

Singaporeans deserve a better Singapore, we deserve a Singapore that is based on justice and equality. A Singapore where everybody has a chance.

It doesn’t matter who you are, we all have a part to play to make a difference. Just come forward…we can make Bukit Panjang a really good place to live in.”

Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah said at the beginning of the video that he is now 55, “at the CPF withdawal age or at least the promised CPF withdrawal age.”

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The first thing Dr Tambyah was asked in the AMA was to discuss a picture…in Mandarin.

The SDP chairman laughingly took a stab at it, saying that first of all he’s happy he doesn’t have to do this kind of exam anymore. But he gamely went on to describe the illustration in flowing Mandarin. When complimented, he said, “Thank you,” and laughed, adding, “It’s really hard.”

Dr Tambyah said in the interview that he had to take two weeks off for July’s General Election, and so afterward he had to catch up with a lot of work with his patients as well as his teaching duties.

But the SDP chair added that since the election, the response from volunteers for on-ground activities at Bukit Panjang has been “amazing.”

When asked about his secret talent, Dr Tambyah said that his is writing emails, to the point that he writes 100 emails a day. At times, he added, other people have sent him drafts of their own emails so he can help them write.

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However, he added that his wife said 100 emails a day is “way, way, way too many.”

Speaking of his wife, who has been dubbed the “happiness doctor,” Dr Tambyah said she has been “incredibly helpful” in pursuing a life of happiness. He added that while they share the same values, they have “complementary attributes,” giving the example that while she is neat and tidy, he admitted to being “kind of messy.”

His wife, a professor, is listed as Tambyah, Siok Kuan on the NUS Business School faculty webpage. Dr Tambyah wrote that his wife’s research has concentrated on the field of happiness and well-being for over 20 years, hence the “happiness doctor” moniker.

He added proudly that she has been invited to present her research in Paris, the EU, and Japan.

When asked if they engage in debates and lectures, since both are academics, he laughed again and said there have been “huge amounts of debates.” And while she has suggested that they collaborate, it’s been “hard,” he said, since their fields are so different.

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“How do you really study the happiness of people who have gotten infectious diseases?” he quipped. There is, however, already one publication wherein Dr Tambyah and his wife have collaborated on, he said.

Dr Tambyah also answered questions concerning the number of people currently allowed to meet in Singapore, the hardest question he’s ever been asked, and what he notices among his students during online classes.

He said that one of his “bad” pedagogical practices in face-to-face classes is to single out the noisiest student in his class to ask them a very difficult question, and that this has been “effective” in disciplining the class.

However, he has yet to find the equivalent of this practice for online teaching.


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