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Politics, Philosophy & Economics Personal Statement

I believe in the world of contemplative thought as a source of pleasure and fulfilment. I first loved mathematics and physics for their consistent and absolute nature. Their laws awed me, and made me believe in a universal world I can fathom and understand. Apart from modules in number theory, linear programming, photonics, material science and graph theory in secondary school, the love of abstraction and logical reasoning led me to take H3 mathematics.

In junior college, I came to appreciate other academic disciplines. Economics introduced me to social science as a field approachable from multiple disciplines.

Exploring, I find common strands of understanding in different subjects: how Le Chatelier's principle in chemistry is similar to Marshall Mcluhan's understanding of the extensions of Man; how Werner Heisenberg and Immanuel Kant defined our limit of understanding based on our tools of analysis in physics and philosophy respectively.

I enjoy exploring the derivation of causal relationships from empirical data. The study of statistics taught me how to analyse the level and order of correlation between data sets. In H3 mathematics, I learnt the use of Euler's method in solving first order differential equations and extrapolating mathematical models to predict data.

I also learnt mathematical models that analyse population dynamics, such as the Malthusian growth model and the logistics growth model. These modules built my interest in econometrics, leading me to examine concepts such as whether the consumption function in economics is necessarily linear.

I am interested in politics, for the progression of the world towards economic integration is often to the political advantage of developed countries. It is even more interesting with the current international financial markets in limbo, and an economic future in which power will shift from a western hegemony towards and among major emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Personally, I think Singapore's intention to gain political power through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is hampered by issues such as human rights violation in Myanmar.

As a nation-state, Singapore is concerned with her relevance to and survival in the world; she implements socio-political policies for her long-term economic growth, rather than for building a national identity.

This had a major role in shaping her politically repressive, yet economically liberal environment. I am interested in the relation of the State to its members, leading to my interest in political philosophy, which deals with questions such as "what constitutes good living?" and "what rights do we deserve as individuals?" These seemingly disparate questions can identify the degree to which group interests should preside over those of the individual.

Pedagogically, derision from tutors taught me that to love a subject well is to know the beginning of my knowing. I came to define myself by comments from tutors on the rigour of my economic definitions, elegance of my mathematical solutions, and cogency of my arguments.

The reading of treatises by John Stuart Mill on Liberty and Utilitarianism inspired in me a desire to write well, and clearly. I realise the world is driven not by truth, but by political interests, and question the reliability of information from the media, the government, the Catholic Church, and even scientific research.

Philosophy, politics and economics had always been the central concerns of Man. The desire to make sense of the world around us; the need to coexist, compromise and cooperate; the production, utilization and distribution of limited resources are all issues inherent to human existence.

I hope a foundation in these academic disciplines will help me develop both individual and universal consciousness, shaped not merely by the circumstances of society, but earned through a conscious effort to comprehend and understand my surroundings, and ultimately, myself.

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