CNM student wins Asia’s prestigious advertising award

Fourth year CNM student Tan Jun Hong won the inaugural Spikes Asia Student Creative Award for Print. He received the award on 17 September 2013 during the Spikes Asia Awards Ceremony at the Grand Theatres at Marina Bay Sands.

Entrants were asked to create an original poster in response to a special brief from non-profit organisation UNICEF. Jun Hong’s entry was unanimously chosen as the winner out of more than 100 other entries. According to the organisers, his original and insightful answer to the UNICEF brief impressed the judges.

“I am really humbled and honoured to be the first winner and I hope that this can be a springboard to a career in advertising,” Jun Hong said.

The Spikes Asia Awards are the region’s oldest and most prestigious awards for creative advertising. The entries are judged by leading international and regional creatives in Singapore during the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity

Jun Hong receiving the medal at the Spikes Asia Award Ceremony



CNM is fourth in 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject

Communications & New Media is ranked fourth in this year’s QS World University Rankings in the area of Communication and Media Studies, above other schools from the US, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia

CNM scored a total of 86.80, points, nine points shy of the world’s highest ranking communications school at the University of California, Berkeley.

Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia ~ Through a Culture-Centered Lens

By Oh Han Siang, Year 2, CNM

Human trafficking is a serious problem in Southeast Asia. Virgin girls from rural tribes in Cambodia are deceived and sometimes, even sold by their own parents, to work as sex workers in Thailand. These girls often get saddled with a never-ending debt burden and are “used” till they are infected with HIV, after which, they are abandoned on the streets. Young boys similarly get abducted to work in miserable conditions on Thai fishing boats out in international waters. These boys are transferred from one boat to another, never seeing the shore again in their lives. Ultimately, when they succumb to accidents or exhaustion, their bodies are thrown overboard, feeding the fishes that they help catch.

These are some of the horrifying tales a group of NUS students and I learnt, as we travelled from Siem Reap and Phnom Penn in Cambodia to Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, during the recent summer break, as part of the FASS summer program – OdySEA 2013. Along the way, we met with many non-governmental organisations such as the Somaly Mam Foundation and SISHA in Phnom Penn and Foundation for Women and Live Our Lives in Bangkok, that actively seek to protect human trafficking survivors, prevent further incidents from happening, prosecute human traffickers and partner with governments and the larger civil society to help address the human trafficking problem. We even managed to meet with the United States Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, in the US embassy in Bangkok and Paul Buckley from the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) to debate about intergovernmental anti-trafficking efforts.

In the end, we came to a better understanding of the various causes and consequences of human trafficking, and how both a top down and bottom up approach is necessary in tackling it. More importantly, we came to the conclusion that sometimes public policies enacted do not necessarily translate to actual implementations on the ground. Conversely, we should also not tarnish all sex workers as being forcefully trafficked; some do genuinely enjoy their profession and that anti-trafficking laws should not just focus solely on sex trafficking. Our professor, Dr Kevin McGahan, who teaches the module PS3880E Topics in PS: Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia, was wonderful in arranging our fieldtrip and moderated our dialogue sessions.

One particular dialogue session we had was with MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) in Bangkok, which was a non-profit independent media outlet that sought to raise general public awareness about the human trafficking problem. MTV EXIT has in the past, brought together various international artists such as Super Junior, Simple Plan and Jason Mraz, producing music videos and concerts that promote awareness among the young people in SEA about human trafficking.

Through the dialogue session with MTV EXIT, I learnt that communication professionals are sought after as well in the non-profit sector and that many of the concepts and theories we learnt in CNM are actually applicable in helping to solve societal ills too, for example, through communicating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between the government and NGOs.

Interestingly, the human trafficking trade can similarly be analysed through a culture-centred approach (Mohan, 2012) (Visit Facebook at as well. Structures such as porous borders between countries, and vague local anti-trafficking laws have facilitated the human trafficking problem. On the other hand, structural marginalisation through the deprivation of economic resources and education for rural communities has likewise compounded the problem.  More importantly, the deep-rooted culture in those countries such as corruption, a need to save ‘face’, and the fact that if you are raped, you are seen as deserving of it as you have accumulated bad karma, have allowed human trafficking to persist. As such, the key to effectively tackle human trafficking lies in the power of human agency whereby individuals stand up and denounce such abuses. The collaboration of local NGOs and governments today due to the push by concerned individuals stand testament to this fact.

Looking forward, this summer experience has left me wanting to use the knowledge I have gained, and will gain, as a CNM student to help push for greater public awareness on societal issues. I encourage other students to learn more about the problem of human trafficking. Singapore is surprisingly not exempt from it. And perhaps, you might just take another look at the freshly caught Thai fish you are planning to cook for dinner tonight.

NUS students visited the US embassy in Bangkok to discuss human trafficking


CNM Graduates Honoured at FASS Graduate Student Teaching Award 2013

By Jodie Luu

The four graduate students who received the FASS Graduate Student Teaching Award 2013 on Saturday, 24 August, show that teaching excellence has become a well-established tradition in CNM.

Sharing her feelings about winning the award, Shobha, a PhD student, said, “I was lucky to have had a good team to work with, under the sincere guidance of Dr Julian Lin. At CNM, we are always fortunate to have wonderful students who make teaching and learning a joy for us. The award, for which I am grateful, is a delicious little cherry perched atop a cake that is richly satisfying in its own right.”

Anu, another PhD student, scored a hat trick after getting the award three times and is now being placed in the faculty’s Honour Roll, “Winning the award has been special each time, and the Honour Roll is like icing on the cake. Teaching has been both fun and intense: there is a sort of adrenaline rush from interacting with and learning from bright, young minds, and the fear of being put on the spot! Both spurred me to go the extra mile, along with encouragement from my Module Coordinator, Mr. Gui Kai Chong, and other colleagues at CNM.”

Heartiest congratulations to Anu Rao (Honour Roll), Jodie Luu (Honour Roll), Joel Gn, Jiow Hee Jhee, and Shobha Vadrevu!

FASS Graduate Students Teaching Award Winners from CNM

Freshmen reveled in Chaos ‘N’ Mayhem at CNM FOC 2013

By Chia Pui San and Lee Yee Hueh, Year 2 NM majors  

When the most recent batch of students of CNM found themselves in a “post-apocalyptic” world at this year freshmen orientation camp, they gamely ran the required missions in order to survive a simulated end-of-the-world scenario.

The organizers of the camp, the CNM Society were inspired by the popular Korean variety show Running Man, when they conceptualized the theme and designed the activities to promote bonding.  Their creativity was very much appreciated, and their happy campers found the event “well-structured”, with a “good balance between [having] a competitive spirit and a friendly atmosphere”.

Meanwhile, the 35 happy campers were also introduced to the CNM curriculum and their seniors when Prof Mohan Dutta, Head of the CNM Department, addressed them in a welcome talk while 25 CNM majors from Year 2 to Year 4 availed themselves to fielding questions about undergraduate life at CNM.

The four-day camp was held in Aloha Changi chalet and on NUS Kent Ridge campus.

Happy Campers All

Excitement and esprit de corps at FOC 2013