Recognise achievements in all engineering disciplines

Slowly, but surely, the Government is raising the profile of engineers in Singapore and the critical role they play in nation building ("Engineering key to Singapore's future as smart nation"; last Saturday).

It has also introduced career paths to attract and retain engineers.

However, the Institution of Engineers Singapore, which was formally established in 1966, does not seem to have evolved from its roots as the bastion for civil and structural engineers.

In its list of the top 50 engineering achievements that have made the greatest impact on the way we work, live and play, only one is from the electronics industry - the thumbdrive.

Surely, Creative Technology's world de facto standard soundcard and MP3 player that revolutionised the world of digital music deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as other winners like the MRT tunnel that linked the Fort Canning and Bencoolen Stations.

It is heartening to note that Professor Cham Tao Soon has been recognised for raising engineering competency in higher learning institutes ("Two engineering veterans honoured"; last Saturday).

That brings to mind the group of systems engineers that the late Dr Goh Keng Swee pulled together to revamp our education system, which helped propel Singapore's students to be recognised as being among the best in the world.

Unless the engineering fraternity broadens its mindset about how it views its own contributions, it will be difficult for the public to recognise the difference that engineers can make in various sectors of our economy.

Liu Fook Thim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Recognise achievements in all engineering disciplines'. Print Edition | Subscribe