SINGAPORE - Is a liberal arts education too lofty and "risky" for Singaporeans, who are typically known as a practical and "kiasu" lot?
Yale-NUS College president Pericles Lewis has been asked this many times since Singapore's first liberal arts college was announced in 2010.
Fear of losing - otherwise known as being kiasu - was one concern raised by educators and parents here, he said on Tuesday.
They feared this might put people off enrolling in the new college, a tie-up between Yale University in the United States and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
But Professor Lewis disagrees.
He said its first batch of 155 students are "anything but kiasu".
Sixty-two per cent of them are Singaporeans. The rest are from countries such as the United States, India, China, Malaysia and Canada.
Prof Lewis added that Singaporeans, and Asians more broadly, have a great hunger for learning that "truly encourages critical thinking". He was addressing about 500 students, parents and guestson Tuesday at the inauguration ceremony for the highly anticipated college.