If Tan was Associate Professor Shi Yuzhi, a Chinese language and linguistics professor who hails from China, he would have argued the prohibited stuff found on him was necessary fuel for creativity. The nutty PRC professor had blogged that youths be allowed to consume psychedelic drugs in the name of producing a generation of creative thinkers. NUS sure knows how to pick them foreign talents. Shi uses his line of logic for a book he is writing, "Why China cannot produce a Steve Jobs?", on the flaky premise of Jobs' publicised acclaim that LSD was a major reason for his success.
This was what Jobs actually said as part of a top secret security clearance check for a Pixar contract:
"Throughout that period of time [1972 to 1974] I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times," Jobs said. "I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself. I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.”
Consider also this other excerpt found in the materials released by the FBI:
“Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs’ honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals.”
Shi has to be real creative to deduce the Macintosh and iPod were conceived with the aid of mind bending drugs. Fans of Jobs may not like to hear this, but it was a Jef Raskin, who first came up with the Mac, and Jobs who hi-jacked the project ("iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business", by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon). The user interface (UI) for the iPod was subject of a lawsuit, which Apple finally settled with a US$100 million check for infringing Creative's patent. Drugs had nothing to do with it.
Shi's research areas are in Classical Chinese, Modern Chinese, Chinese dialects, minority languages in China, and English. His theoretical interests are in cognitive linguistics, linguistic typology, and grammaticalization (?) theory. The types of papers he published:
- The Use of Color Words in Modern Chinese. Chinese Studies, Vol. 3, pp 18-22.
- The Special Use of the Quantifier “one” in Negation. Chinese Learning. Vol. 9, pp 21-22.
- Differences and Similarities between Synonyms and Antonyms. Chinese Studies, Vol. 1, pp 28-34.
- The Marked and Unmarked Constructions in Modern Chinese. Yufa Yanjiu he Tansuo, Vol. 10: 19-30.
- The Cognitive Relation between Question and Exclamation. Studies in Foreign Languages, No. 6.
- The Relationship between Syntax and Word Formation. Journal of Chinese Language, No. 1.
Not exactly the kind of material to dive into to advance the frontiers of consumer technology.
NUS is not amused by the Prof's recommendations ("Without harming personal health, allowing young people to consume hallucinogenic drugs is not necessarily a bad thing". ), its spokesperson said that the Department of Chinese Studies is investigating the matter . Presumably they'll start by reading the tea leaves.