Alumni Voice


“I believe technology plays a huge role in solving many world issues”

Hoon Fan Jing

High School student

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has been disrupted at an unprecedented rate and scale. Schools have closed, economic activities have slowed down, the unemployment rate surged, virtual events have replaced face-to-face interactions, lockdowns have caused financial and emotional burden, these are just a few from the list of how the pandemic impacted our life. The year 2020, plagued by the pandemic, will not end covid-free and people will still live in the new normal in the coming years. In this context, I will depict the world’s possible challenges as well as the world I envisioned.

During the pandemic, spiking infection cases forced governments to shut down their economy which plunged the demand for goods and cast uncertainties on investors. Increasing numbers of countries are leaning towards nationalism which they prioritize the nation’s interest to alleviate the country’s heightening unemployment rate and to secure precious resources for containing the disease. As a result, worries of inadequate international collaboration are triggered as some fear underdeveloped countries and underprivileged individuals might not get the help needed which includes vaccine distribution and financial aid. If inadequate help is given, the disparities may be amplified.

A weakened economy has resulted in ripple effects across society. Poverty undermines one’s well-being and ending poverty has been one of the focuses on sustainable development. The underprivileged are more vulnerable to the slowing economy as work-from-home is not a feasible choice for them. The increasing demand for food bank programs highlighted a concern about the hunger problem. Malnutrition and discontinuing school may be faced by more children in some areas which worsens the poverty issue. Even when the economy recovers after Covid-19, the poor may be less benefitted by the recovery, hence effort is needed to bridge the gap between wealth disparity. 

The vaccine is regarded to be a crucial solution in ending the pandemic. Yet, vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance to be vaccinated, are fueled by the spread of unfactual news and conspiracy theories on the Internet. This created distrust of the people towards science that harms the creation of herd immunity which protects people from the disease. 

The world faces more underlying challenges than what I mentioned, yet the problems above are what I think worth solving. 

The ideal society to navigate the world from the adversity caused by the pandemic is a society that values international cooperation. In the short term, prioritizing own country’s interest is needed to boost social and economic development but when considering a long-term impact, globalization makes countries interconnected and any instability or social unrest may cause chains of events across borders. Take disease control as an example, if an underdeveloped country failed to recover from the pandemic and has its health care system crumbled, an outbreak such as Ebola or Covid-19 may again put the world in danger. Vaccine distribution programs such as Covax, monetary aids, humanitarian help, etc are a good start to give meaningful assistance to some countries, but a more close-knitted relationship between countries to come up with plans to weather through future pandemics are necessary.

In my imagination of a post-pandemic world, institutions and universities around the world will come together and form an alliance capable of discovering disease and providing cure proactively. As information and expertise are easier to exchange among experts and governments, the world will gain an advantage in hunting down the next infectious disease. Having vaccines available in a year is remarkable, but in the future, I believe the time span for vaccine development will decrease drastically when quantum computing technology, which has the potential to better simulate molecular interactions, is mature enough to be utilized. This will make humans more versatile when facing future diseases.

Border closure is meant to control the risk of importing Covid-19 cases, yet a global id may help countries to open up. The global id is a database for the testing and vaccination of an individual. After getting tested for Covid-19 or being vaccinated, the data can be uploaded to the global id, giving countries more confidence to allow traveling. When the confidence is built up, business and tourism will soon start to revive. Other than business and tourism, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, large social events, etc may also face fewer restrictions. 

Besides, I imagine that in the future, a portable testing device may be possible. Only a small device is needed to test a person’s blood sugar level and I believe, although it is a bit of science fiction, the same can be done on Covid-19 testing. Smartphones integrated the functions of the camera, computer, telephone, and other devices into a thin device. As electronics technologies advance and more sophisticated components can work in small gadgets, the portable testing device may help to roll out large-scale testing in which the government can grasp a more accurate picture of the spread and implement effective policies that deal the least harm to the economy. In fact, a credit card-sized testing device is being developed by Stanford University (1). Moreover, if it can be updated just as smartphones have their software updates or application downloads, it can be a game-changer in the medical field. Although it is just my imagination, I am eager to see the device to be materialized.

How would I want to contribute to such changes I imagined? I wanted to be an engineer who works on advanced technology. I believe technology plays a huge role in solving many world issues. Besides, I will continue to update myself on Covid-19 related news so that I can share accurate information with people around me so that we can better protect ourselves. In March during the lockdown, I made a video about Covid-19 to participate in a competition as well as to spread information about the disease. I will attach a link below, feel free to watch! (2)

It has been a hard time for everyone. When I was having a good time in TYCA in December of 2019, I never thought people’s lives would have turned upside down by a pandemic just three months later. I hope everyone can stay safe and never lose faith in getting our normal life back. Lastly, I hope people can believe in science and I also hope that the vaccine can be successfully and safely distributed.

I miss everyone in TYCA, take care!









また、将来的には、携帯型の検査装置が可能になるのではないかと想像しています。人の血糖値を検査するのに必要なのは小さな装置だけです。これは、ちょっとしたSFの話のように聞こえるかもしれませんが、Covid-19の検査でも同じことができるのではないかと思っています。スマートフォンは、カメラ、パソコン、電話などの機能を薄型のデバイスに集約したものです。電子的技術が進歩し、より高度な部品が小型のガジェットで動作するようになれば、携帯型検査装置は、政府が感染状況をより正確に把握し、経済への被害を最小限に抑える効果的な政策を実施するための大規模な検査を展開するのに役立つかもしれません。実際、スタンフォード大学では、クレジットカードサイズの検査装置を開発中です (1)。さらに、スマートフォンのソフトウェアのアップデートやアプリのダウンロードと同じような感じでのアップデートが可能になれば、医療分野の流れを大きく変える産物になり得るでしょう。あくまでも私の想像ですが、ぜひ実現してほしいと思っています。




1)ANDREW MYERS. (2020, November 4). Stanford engineers have developed a genetic microlab that can detect COVID-19 in minutes. Stanford News.

2) Pathophysiology of COVID-19: How COVID-19 kills? (Video made by me!)

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