Go beyond limits to nurture our own Nobel laureates

China's recent Nobel Prize achievements deserve commendation.

Dr Tu Youyou won in the medicine category this year ("3 scientists share Nobel Prize in medicine"; Oct 6) and author Mo Yan won the literature prize three years ago ("Nobel Literature Prize goes to Chinese author"; Oct 12, 2012).

Dr Tu melded traditional Chinese medicine with modern scientific research in finding a cure for malaria, thus saving many lives in the less developed world.

Mo drew inspiration for his best works in a small town in Shandong, China. Some of the works have been adapted into films.

Despite modest means and facilities, both of them have gone on to receive the highest recognition in their respective fields.

It is amazing what a free rein of the human spirit can do. They are propelled by a calling, an unyielding interest in science and arts. They did not start out in pursuit of fortune or fame.

We should ask ourselves if we can replicate the same conditions for the likes of them to thrive in Singapore.

Perhaps our penchant for results in education has boxed us in. We have been too quick to define what one is, and not what one can be.

Perhaps our eagerness to climb to the top of the socio-economic ladder has snuffed out quite a few dreamers that could have made the Nobel list.

We should recognise that our broadness in perspective is not "broadened" by the big-screen TVs many of us may aspire to own.

Lee Teck Chuan