Then in the year 2000, Tan Chin Tiong, who was then the provost in SMU, actually, said, Would you like to join me in building a whole new university?î And while there was no real push factor, the pull was so attractive, because it's not often that a Singapore Government allows you to build a whole new university from scratch. And, of course, the enticement is he told me, You know, when your girls are grown and you have grandchildren and you pass by the city center, you can point to SMU and say your mum and your grandma was involved in building up this whole new institution.î
So that attraction stayed with me for a couple of months and on April 1st 2000, I decided to join SMU and I really loved that date because everyone says, Annie, you are always unconventional, you are always a little bit of a rebel, so which date do you want to join SMU? And I said, ìI want to call it the April 1st decision and it's not a joke, it is a commitment and I don't think I will be running off to another university. I'd like to build a place, have strong institutional attachment to the place and I'd love to see this as the last place when I have probably the next academic career.