Student Showcase: Speaking from the Heart

Since 2014, the media has reported on rising anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore. Migrant construction workers bear the brunt of such xenophobia. Through a recent trip to HealthServe– a non-profit organisation that campaigns for migrant workers in Singapore- a group of CNM students discovered many migrant workers who were attempting to learn English and Mandarin, to better understand their Singaporean employers and the community.

The students started a campaign called Heart Speak (@HeartSpeakNUS), which aims to empower migrant workers by inviting them to teach and share their language with Singaporeans instead. In this way, Heart Speak strives to forge deeper integration between Singaporeans and migrant workers through…language.

Bengali language workshops- the Sekha Sessions– were developed. They provide Singaporeans with a free platform to learn conversational Bengali from the migrant workers themselves.

The next Sekha Session will be held on 5th April 2017 (Wednesday), at HealthServe Tai Seng Centre. Engage our cause by following these social media pages at Facebook and Instagram.

This is part of the SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, where students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. We charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

Prof. Mohan Dutta at the National Communication Association Opening Session

On 10 November 2016, Prof Mohan J. Dutta attended the 2016 National Communication Association (NCA) 102nd Annual Convention Opening Session. Together with various other panelists (Lisa A. Flores, University of Colorado, Boulder; Bryant Keith Alexander, Loyola Marymount; University & Billie Murray, Villanova University), he presented the opening talk titled “Putting Bodies on the Line and Words into Action – Celebrating the Joys of, Challenges in, and Opportunities for Civic Engagement.”

Dr. Bryant Keith Alexander has built a career thinking about and embracing queer black bodies moving through the vectors of racism and homophobia; Dr. Mohan Jyoti Dutta has spent the past decade advocating for health care justice in developing nations; Dr. Billie Murray has chronicled her participation in movements for social justice in the wake of Confederate memorializing and in the face of hate speech. A Dean, a Chair, and an Assistant Professor; a colleague from LA, another from Singapore, a third from Philadelphia. While our speakers embody diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and methodology and area expertise, they are united in their commitment to using communication activism for the common good. Come hear their stories from the front lines of change; listen as they engage in spirited dialogue about why communication matters, and how, and to whom; and please lend your voice to our collective celebration of those who put their bodies on the line and words into action. – Source

Watch the 2016 NCA Opening Session talk below:

From Dadri To Kansas, Countering the Politics of Hate

From Dadri To Kansas, Countering the Politics of Hate

In this article, Prof Mohan J. Dutta offers insight into the racist climate that has found new moral fuel in the US, as well as the rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiments among Hindus in India.

“Xenophobia and religious bigotry reproduce themselves on the power of othering. Strategies of identification, categorisation and segregation are deeply embedded in racialised imaginaries. Therefore, to counter these radicalised imaginaries, we must begin by recognising the humanity in the “other,” in recognising the ‘other’ in the ‘us’.”

Read Prof Dutta’s Article Here:

Raising Funds to Restore Respect for Foreign Domestic Workers, One Bucket at a Time

NUS CNM students raise $1000 for “Respect our Rights” CARE campaign

Students from the NM4217 Advanced Communications Campaign class rallied together for a self-initiated car wash event on 2 March 2017, raising $1000 to execute the third phase of the “Respect our Rights” campaign for NUS’ Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE).

With the campaign tagline “Different Jobs, Same Respect”, this phase of the campaign aims to convey the message that employers should respect the rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) the same way they themselves deserve.

For eight hours, with buckets of water, soap, and sponges in hand, students worked in teams and sought support for the campaign cause from car owners at the NUS Science carpark.

Each car owner received a clean car, a thank you note, an information leaflet on MOM guidelines, and an invitation to the campaign’s upcoming roadshow. Despite the intermittent rain, the students remained in high spirits and achieved their fundraising goal.

Information leaflet on MOM guidelines to hiring foreign domestic workers


Thank you note to car owners


Tay Lin, who headed the car wash initiative, expressed, “Everyone’s hard work under the sun really paid off. The camaraderie was amazing because everyone was really working together towards one single goal, to restore respect for the foreign domestic workers”.

The car owners who represented NUS staff and students responded positively to our request.  They expressed their support through words of encouragement; some donated over and above the $10 cleaning charge; and, one went the extra mile to buy juice and chocolates for the car washing students.

Module coordinator, Sameer Deshpande, shared the appreciation and commitment of his students. In his words, “we the members of NM4217 are delighted to partner with NUS CARE to address the important cause of restoring rights of FDWs in Singapore. Students of this module are striving hard to design and deliver a high quality campaign. When we realized that we were short of funds, students proposed and delivered on the idea of car washing fundraising event. I am confident that we will maintain our enthusiasm in the coming weeks and similarly deliver effective outcomes”.

The “Respect our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect” campaign roadshow will be held on the 8th and 9th of April from 9.30am-9pm at NEX and Tampines Mall. To follow the campaign, visit the official campaign Facebook page at


Student Showcase: Bridge, Share, Care

Students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. In this weekly SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, the CNM blog charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

PART 1: Bridge, Share, Care

We are a group of 7 NUS Communications and New Media (CNM) Undergraduates: Rachael, Wan Rong, Charis, Catherine, Veldas, Yvonne and Yao Yao. As part of our project for NM4881A (Topics in Media Studies: Social Media), we are collaborating with a non-profit organisation, the Netherlands Charity Association (NCA), to raise awareness about the underprivileged in Singapore.

Established in 1968, NCA is run by a group of expats who wish to give back to the Singapore community by helping the underprivileged. They work directly with several non-profit organizations such as The Breadline Group, H.O.M.E., Singapore Leprosy Relief Association, The Good Shepherd Centre, Project Pari; and consistently source for volunteers to help charities such as Willing Hearts, MINDS, and Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

For our online campaign, we have been creating content (videos and articles) based on interviews held with the various beneficiaries of NCA (@nca.singapore).

For our offline campaign, we will be holding a fundraising event on the 25th of March, Saturday, from 10am – 6pm at the Tampines Mall Promenade Linkway (Linkway between Tampines Mall and Century square). The aims of the event are:

  • Raise awareness about NCA and its beneficiaries
  • Fundraising for NCA
  • Volunteer recruitment drive for NCA and/or its beneficiaries

During the event, media stories-  which will include video interviews and slideshows– will be played. There will also be awareness booths run by NCA and its 5 beneficiaries. There, volunteers will share more about the causes that the charity supports. Finally, there will be message boards present for the public to write notes of encouragement for each of the charities involved in the event.

We hope to see you there! RSVP at

TALK – Articulating community participation as health in Singapore: A culture-centred approach to empowering greater community ownership

CNM CARE is happy to host the next lecture in the CARE Social Justice series – a series showcasing projects that CARE has embarked on. Prof Mohan Dutta and Desiree Soh will be giving a talk next Monday, 27th Mar from 1 PM-2 PM . The talk is titled “Articulating community participation as health in Singapore: A culture-centred approach to empowering greater community ownership”, and will be held at the CNM Meeting Room, AS6 (03-33). We hope to see you there!

More details about the talk can be found in the poster below:

Venue: CNM Meeting Room (AS6 03-33)

Date: 27 March 2017

Time: 1 PM – 2 PM

Cultural Studies Future(s)

Cultural Studies Future(s) is a symposium organised by CARE and CNM, to discuss the future of cultural studies. This symposium bring together three leading practitioners in Cultural Studies, Prof Chua Beng Huat, Prof Meaghan Morris and Prof Tejaswini Niranjana, who will be speaking on different issues. The symposium will be held on 3 March 2017 at Seminar Room B, from 3 PM to 6:50PM. More details can be found in the poster below:


Chua Beng Huat is concurrently as Provost Chair Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Science.  He has served as Research Leader, Cultural Studies in Asia Research Cluster, Asia Research Institute (2000-2015); Convenor Cultural Studies Programmes (2008-2013) and Head, the Department of Sociology (2009-2015), National University of Singapore. Among his authored books are Life is Not Complete without ShoppingStructure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture and, forthcoming, Political Liberalism Disavowed: communitarianism and state capitalism in Singapore. He is founding co-executive editor of the journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.

Meaghan Morris is currently the William Lim Siew Wai Visiting Professor in Cultural Studies in Asia, NUS Department of Sociology, and Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, and former Chair Professor of Cultural Studies in Lingnan University, Hong Kong (2000-2012).  Prof. Morris was Chair of the international Association for Cultural Studies (2004-08); Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (2012-15); and she is a Fellow of both the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her books include The Pirate’s Fiancée: feminism, reading, postmodernism (1988), Too Soon Too Late: History in Popular Culture (1998), Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture (2006), and Creativity and Academic Activism: Instituting Cultural Studies co-edited with Mette Hjort (2012).

Tejaswini Niranjana is currently Professor and Head, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. She is the author of Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism and the Colonial Context (Berkeley, 1992), Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad (Durham, 2006), and a forthcoming monograph on musicophilia in Mumbai. Her most recent co-edited volume is Genealogies of the Present: Situating Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Delhi, 2015).

The programme for the symposium is as follows:

MediaCorp Speaker Series – Access To Information: Can there be too much of a good thing?

We are happy to partner with MediaCorp once again to bring you the next talk in the MediaCorp Speaker Series. This series aims to provide a platform where students can interact with and hear from industry experts about the media industry. The title of this year’s talk is “Access to Information. Can there be too much of a good thing?” and it will be held at AS7 01-19 on Friday, 24 Feb 2017 at 11 AM. Finger food and drinks will be provided. We hope to see you there!

TALK — Negotiating Community at the Margins: Culturally-Centred narratives of health among transgender sex workers

CNM Care is happy to host the next lecture in the CARE Social Justice series by Prof. Mohan and Raksha Mahtani. The talk is titled “Negotiating Community at the Margins: Culturally-centred narratives of health among transgender sex workers” and she will be speaking on 27 Feb 2017 (Monday). More details about the talk can be found in the poster below:

Speaker: Prof. Mohan and Raksha Mahtani

Date: 27 Feb 2017

Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting Room

Farewell Note from Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun

Farewell Communications and New Media (CNM) at NUS, my academic home for the past 14 years. As I move on to join the Singapore University of Technology and Design as Professor and Head of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, I would like to give thanks and reflect on the many wonderful years I’ve spent here.

Assoc Prof Lim Sun Sun. Photo credit: Dr Tracy Loh

I joined the department in 2003, then the Information and Communications Management (ICM) Programme, fresh from my PhD at the London School of Economics. The programme was all of three years old and we, the faculty, were literally one step ahead of the students in terms of putting in place the curriculum as they ascended each year. Student demand grew unabated, and our little programme continued to gain traction among students as we broadened our slate of modules to better cater to student interests and industry needs. Over time we also grew our graduate programme and have since seen our graduate alumni flourish in meaningful careers in academia and beyond. Those early years of growth were exciting and exhausting, as we had to balance our own research and publishing with the push to grow the programme. Looking back though, it was an immensely rewarding period that I would not trade for anything.

Alumni Homecoming 2010, reunion with our earliest graduating classes


In 2005, under the fearless leadership of Professor Millie Rivera, we rebranded the programme as Communications and New Media to better represent our collective expertise and niche area, and sharpened the distinctions between the Media Studies, Communication Management and Interactive Media Design tracks. New faculty members from around the world joined us, each enriching our programme with unique strengths. Through it all, we were supported by fantastic administrators who were kind, caring and efficient – a powerful combination. And from the very beginning, our students have gone on to make their mark in diverse industries, building a strong and supportive alumni network that today continues to look out for new members of our expanding CNM family. With steady growth and overwhelming student, alumni, and faculty support, the university raised CNM from programme to department status in 2011, and the Department of Communications and New Media was born with a firm stamp of endorsement.

Memorable tenure celebration with wonderful colleagues and students

My journey in CNM has been marked by many significant milestones that I had the privilege to share with dear colleagues and students. Personally, my most memorable would be attaining tenure in 2010, and being surprised with celebration where I was made to don a pageant sash, a paper Burger King crown and a humongous bouquet. I still have that sash, lovingly handmade by Siti Nurharnani Nahar, Class of 2005! As our department grew and our alumni distinguished themselves in their careers, we could not be more thrilled than in 2013 when Lim May-Ann, Class of 2003, joined us as Adjunct Lecturer to teach Media Policy. She draws on her rich experience as Managing Director at TRPC, a telecomm and infotech research consultancy, as well as her strong foundations in Media Policy taught by Prof Rivera way back in 2002!

A goofy moment before the words of wisdom

Another milestone was crossed in 2014 when Julian Lim, Vice President of Group Corporate Communications at OCBC Bank, from our pioneer Class of 2003, was invited as Commencement speaker. He impressed the audience with wit and wisdom while we, his professors, looked on like proud parents. In 2014 too, the department marked another turning point when Dr Elmie Nekmat, Class of 2006, joined CNM as Assistant Professor after attaining his PhD at the University of Alabama where he survived a tornado in more ways than one. He is our first alumnus to join us as Assistant Professor, and will undoubtedly play a key role in steering CNM’s next phase of development, along with the many other promising Assistant Professors who have recently joined us.

A lovely gathering of CNM faculty and alumni at an IMDA event

As CNM charts new paths, I wish my friends and colleagues my very best and I thank you all for having been part of my rich and eventful journey at the National University of Singapore.



Associate Professor, 2010-2016

Assistant Professsor, 2003-2010