CNM Blog

CNM Blog

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

CNM amongst world’s top 10 communication schools ~ QS rankings 2014

leave a comment

National University of Singapore is placed 9th in the 2014 QS World University Ranking for Communication and Media Studies, ahead of University of Amsterdam and Michigan State University.

CNM was in the fourth spot last year.

 

Written by Mary Lee

September 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Posted in News

Good food, good company, great trip: Our tech sojurn to Japan (JENESYS 2.0)

leave a comment

By Cheong Kakit, Satveer Kaur, Derrick Ng and Naomi Tan, CNM Graduate Students

Student exchange between JENESYS 2.0 participants and Nagoya Institute of Technology

Student exchange between JENESYS 2.0 participants and Nagoya Institute of Technology

Japan is arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations among Singaporeans, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who has something negative to say about their experience there. This July, the four of us were given the opportunity to visit Japan as part of the JENESYS 2.0 Programme organized by Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). Established in 1977, JICE is mainly involved in developing and coordinating international cooperation activities, and has been running the JENESYS 2.0 programme for about seven years now. The programme was kindly sponsored by the Japanese Government. Our group of 25 made up the 21st Batch of students from local universities in Singapore, including NUS, NTU, and SUTD, who would be visiting Japan from 30 June to 8 July 2014. Our journey began and ended in Tokyo, but much of our time was spent in Aichi Prefecture, known not only for their rich history, but also as a technological hub.

This immersion programme was aimed at exposing Southeast Asian youths to the Japanese way of life and business, specifically in the science and technology and digital media sectors. Our Japanese hosts not only facilitated the trip meticulously and in a very well organized manner, they also did it with warmth, always ensuring all our needs were well taken care of. Their kind hospitality towards us was mirrored in our everyday interactions with the Japanese as well. Aptly summed up by Satveer:

“Japan is a place with soul. The soul of the people. The Japanese’s respect for society and for themselves must be valued and reinterpreted in our own spaces. We have so much to learn from a culture of people that pride on harmony with a focus on their society before themselves.”

The JENESYS 2.0 Programme

The JENESYS 2.0 programme included highly informative and educational components which were designed to give us insight into the Japanese industries, their history and philosophy, and also some of the exciting new ventures in the field of science and technology. For instance, we visited the Sony ExploraScience Museum in Tokyo to see and feel first-hand some of the new technologies in light, sound, and entertainment. We were also invited to the Brother Communication Space, an impressive and modern exhibition space which included a museum documenting Brother’s manufacturing history and also the future of Brother’s product offerings.

Sony ExploraScience Museum and Brother Communication Space (Nagoya)

Sony ExploraScience Museum and Brother Communication Space (Nagoya)

Visualising technology: "The better to see you, my dear"

Visualising technology: “The better to see you, my dear”

Besides learning more about the industries in Japan, we were also exposed to the history and culture of Japan. The programme was successful in keeping a balance between displaying Japanese modernity without neglecting the cultural roots. We spent a wonderful afternoon at the Inuyama Castle in Nagoya, learning about the history of this distinctive landmark (often claimed to be the oldest castle in Japan), making our way through the beautiful gardens and past Shinto shrines, climbing up a treacherous four steep flights of steps, to be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Kiso River.

Even so, most of us agreed that one of the most memorable segments of the programme was the homestay. Thanks to the JENESYS 2.0 programme, all of us spent two days living with a Japanese family. The homes we stayed in were beautifully crafted with a perfect balance of contemporary architecture on the outside and yet, keeping to the premise of the traditional Japanese home on the inside. Most homes had a living room constructed with bamboo and/or the earthen straw with quaint touches of Japanese motifs and features such as the suikinkitsu (water harp) placed in the gardens of Japanese homes. If you were lucky, you might have the opportunity of spotting the age old koto (stringed musical instrument) in the living room of these homes.

Although we were no doubt well fed at every single meal, there was really nothing better than a delicious home-cooked meal prepared with love by our homestay mothers, eaten at the dinner table with the rest of the family. From crispy tempura to hand rolled sushi, everything was made to perfection in the Japanese home. Sometimes, dinner would be washed down with warm sake, as in the experience of Naomi, who lived with a family of sake brewers!

Interestingly, while we often assume that technology results in the weakening of local traditions, we found that most Japanese people were able to embrace new technologies while preserving their cultural identity. For example, during Kakit’s homestay, his host father utilized his smartphone to plan and organize a visit to a sumo training session. Upon arrival, the family was quick to capture beautiful images with their mobile phones and digital cameras.

As much as were in awe of the beautiful homes amidst the green hilly terrains in Nagoya, we were charmed by hospitable and warm families we had adopted. It was a teary consensus that this was the best part of the trip for many of us, particularly evident when we had to say goodbye after our short but treasured two days with them.

The JENESYS 2.0 programme allowed us to gain a holistic perspective on the Japanese way of life, both at work, at play, and in the very homes of the Japanese people. The well-planned programme exposed us to the business culture of Japan, the university life of Japanese students, and finally back to the roots of how the Japanese live. By immersing into the culture of the people, one can truly understand and reflect on the way of the Japanese as oppose to naval gazing from the outside or just as a tourist.

Japanese Technology and Infrastructure

It is well known that Japan is a producer of innovative technologies and products. One needs only to look around their home to notice that we are surrounded with Japanese appliances. From smart-televisions to washing machines, Japanese products are often known to be cutting-edge and of superior quality.

From the moment we touched down at Haneda Airport, the convergence of technology and everyday life was apparent. For example, some vending machines allowed for people to simply tap their mobile phones against a sensor to pay for their drink. In another case, a group of us were able to customize our ramen orders entirely through a vending machine. Virtually in all places we travelled to, washroom seats were equipped with electronic controls for specifics tasks, and some even had heated toilet seats.

Another highlight of our trip was taking the public trains. We had the opportunity to not only take the Shinkansen, the famed Japanese high-speed bullet train, but also the chance to navigate the complex web of the local train network. We were told that the Japanese trains were never late and on one of our stops on the bullet train, the 20 odd contingent of us, along with other passengers, had only three minutes to get off the train! The local train network might look like an indecipherable maze of lines at the beginning, but once you understand how it works, travelling to any part of the city will be a breeze. Luckily for us, we had Derrick, a seasoned train traveler who also had a good grasp of Japanese!

JICE was also kind enough to include a student information exchange session with the Nagoya Institute of Technology (NIT) where we able to interact with not only the technologies, but also with the bright minds that were responsible for building such applications. Here, we met Dr. Takahiro Uchiya, the professor in charge of the research lab. Dr. Uchiya’s research interests are in artificial intelligence, knowledge engineering, and spoken dialogue systems. He and his team of students acquainted us with his latest project, a user-generated smart dialogue system named Mei-chan. Mei-chan is a digital signage system that is not only physically available on the grounds of NIT, as a digital signage board, but also available as an application download on any smartphone. As Professor Uchiya puts it, the objective of the project is to develop a new spoken dialogue system framework based on user-generated content, and to advance speech recognition and synthesis technologies.

Mei-chan is not merely an interactive system that gives you directions. She is actually a virtual reality character that one can talk to, flirt with, ask around for directions, weather, horoscope, and so on. Unlike previous systems, Mei-chan was able to express a range of emotions, including shyness, anger, happiness and disappointment. She even exhibits physical attributes such as blushing, smiling, and unhappiness. Hence, Mei-chan is not only able to recognize your questions based on specific keywords, but also respond like she understands you. Needless to say, most of us had fun trying to elicit these responses from the system.

 

A participant experiencing the technology at Nagoya Institute of Technology (Photo Credit: Eugene Chiong)

A participant experiencing the technology at Nagoya Institute of Technology (Photo Credit: Eugene Chiong)

To sum up, the JENESYS 2.0 programme presents an excellent opportunity for anyone planning to work or study in Japan. The programme allows you access to industries and communities that you would not get as a tourist, giving you deeper insights into the Japanese way of life and their culture. We would definitely encourage undergraduate and graduate students to participate, as it is a more authentic and localized way of experiencing Japan. As reflected by Derrick:

“Having previously travelled as a tourist to Japan, the JENESYS 2.0 programme gave me an entirely new lens to experience this amazing country. Through this, I was able to live and fully participate in the rich diversity of Japanese culture. This made my experience all the more unforgettable.

Written by Mary Lee

September 3, 2014 at 5:18 am

Posted in News

Dr Jude Yew is a winner of the First Picture Singapore Award

leave a comment

Dr Yew's winning entry captured the poignant desolation of a remaining tree

Dr Yew’s winning entry captured the poignant desolation of a remaining tree

CNM assistant professor, Dr Jude Yew is among the 24 winners of the Singapore Research Nexus’ inaugural Picture Singapore photography competition.

Dr Yew’s entry, Last Tree Standing, was taken on the Pulau Semakau Intertidal Walk.  Participants were packing up to return to shore when Dr Yew took the photo at the intertidal flats beyond the mangrove line.  A mangrove tree – the only one – stood out on the flats.

The competition drew more than 100 entries, each of which will be incorporated into the SRN PhotoBank.

The award ceremony will be held on Thursday 4 September 2014, 11am – 12pm at NUS Central Library, Theatrette 2.  Please RSVP with subject header, “Awards” to nexus@nus.edu.sg if you plan to attend.  Thereafter, the winning entries will be displayed at the Artsbuzz gallery in Central Library until 22 September.

 

Written by Mary Lee

September 3, 2014 at 4:52 am

Posted in News

Prof Mohan on air with Channel NewsAsia – The need for communicative context when engaging citizens

leave a comment

“One of the things that we see at least in our field of work is that there are many sub-cultures who do not interact with the text. So you might for instance, take that information in English and translate it into Mandarin and Malay, but that is not cultural adaptation. It is cultural tweaking in that sense, but it does not take into account the communicative context, the ways in which people live their lives so sometimes, I think we have this elite bias about how we think about communication.” said Professor Mohan Dutta in an interview with Channel NewsAsia, on how the government can better engage Singaporeans.

The advice from the Head of CNM comes at the back of a survey carried out by government feedback arm, REACH.  The  findings in the REACH survey showed that although citizens are aware of government policies such as the social security savings  plan, the CPF scheme, many are still ignorant of the details such as the Minimum Sum or CPF Life.

Prof Mohan’s interview can be found at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-approach-needed-to/1258630.html

mohancna

Written by Mary Lee

August 31, 2014 at 6:23 am

Posted in News

CNM Grad Students’ gathering at Holland Village, 22 August 2014

leave a comment

CNM Graduate Students welcomed the new term with drinks and friendship

CNM Graduate Students welcomed the new term with drinks and friendship

Written by Mary Lee

August 26, 2014 at 2:33 am

Posted in News

CNM graduate students move forward with FASS research challenge

leave a comment

By Evelyn Chew, Doctoral Candidate, CNM

This summer, to celebrate FASS’ 85th birthday, the Graduate Studies Division ran a FASSforward, a 28-hour interdisciplinary research challenge from 6-7 August. Graduate students from various disciplines were assigned into teams of three to five members. In less than 48 hours, they brainstormed, inquired, made field trips and ultimately came up with a presentation proposing lines of research on the theme “Forgotten Peoples, Places and Issues in Singapore”.

CNM put forth a strong contribution, with a total of six participants, three of whom emerged winners in the top three winning teams.

The representatives among the incoming graduate students were Marketa from the Czech Republic, Arlianny, a former CNM major returning as a grad student, and Ashwini from Mumbai, India. Marketa’s group made a memorable presentation on creative data visualization of ethnicity using salad to create bonding; Arlianny’s team spoke about the need to recognise minority groups such as the Shia Muslims; and Ashwini’s team won the third prize by making a case to remember Singapore’s forgotten gravesites.

Among the returning students, Pauline’s team presented on Singapore-Malaysia transborder workers, who are often sidelined in migrant worker studies and interventions. Dazzie’s team, which won the second prize, recalled Singapore’s Orang Laut (sea nomads) who were relocated ashore as Singapore and Malaya developed, and are now all but indistinguishable from the other local people. The winning team, which included Evelyn, made a case for researching Merdeka Bridge, the “lost bridge”, which still stands as part of Nicoll Highway but whose identity as a landmark has been lost in history as its distinguishing stone lions and monuments were removed when the bridge was widened.

FASSForward2014 Participants

 

Written by Mary Lee

August 26, 2014 at 2:25 am

Posted in News

CNM Visitor: Dr Nina Springer from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

leave a comment

Dr Nina Springer from LMU CNM welcomes Dr Nina Springer, Research Associate & Program Coordinator (Master of Arts in Communication Science, Master of Arts in International Public Relations) from the Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

During her fortnight stay at CNM, Nina has co-taught the Graduate Research Seminar with Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun and shared with our Masters and PhD students her views on the professionalization for a career in academia and journal submissions.  Nina will also lecture on the European media systems in Dr Zhang Weiyu’s class, State and Society in an Information Age, for the module NM5201.

Nina is enjoying all the fruitful discussions on teaching and research she has had so far.  Not only did she get the chance to exchange ideas on research projects with faculty members, she also gained new perspectives on the topics that she teaches back home at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Sightseeing is on her agenda as well: She loves Gardens by the Bay as much as she enjoys yummy Singapore cuisines.

“Of course, Singapore is an interesting, diverse and vibrant city.  However, it wasn’t all the flashy lights that brought me here.  I chose to visit National University Singapore for my stay abroad because of its excellent reputation both in research and teaching.  Asia’s importance in the scientific community is rapidly increasing, and the NUS is one of Asia’s leading universities.  The Communications and New Media faculty is well renowned internationally and your scholars cover all relevant fields in communication research.  Thanks to the established institutional relations between the LMU and the NUS, I am happy to be part of the research and teaching that is happening here”.

Nina will be at CNM until the 27 August 2014.

Written by Mary Lee

August 25, 2014 at 9:24 am

Posted in News

A/P Lim Sun Sun launches cyberwellness resource kit for troubled youth

leave a comment

SocMediaKitCNM’s professor of Media Studies and Assistant Dean for Research at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun is in the news again!

This time it is for launching a resource kit for teachers and caseworkers to guide at-risk youth and their parents through the perils of using social media.

The kit was the outcome of a series of in-depth interviews A/P Lim, Chan Yoke Hian, Shobha Vadrevu and Dr Iccha Basnyat had conducted with 36 at-risk to high-risk youth from 2010 to 2011.  A/P Lim Sun Sun and CNM Masters student, Cheong Kakit designed The Social Media Resource Kit.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport launched the kit on 23 July 2014 at the Conversations on Youth symposium in the presence of 600 social workers, teachers and law enforcement officers.

The news stories about A/P Lim’s take on managing online peer relationships and the resource kit can be found at

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/gangs-turn-to-social/1287718.html

http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/social-media-resource-kit-help-risk-youth

http://news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/7984-social-media-navigation-help-for-youths-at-risk

The resource kit is available at dropbox.com/s/7nyq88l2tdbcu9j/SMR Toolkit_COY.pdf.

Written by Mary Lee

August 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Posted in News

CNM writing courses on video

leave a comment

By Rachel Phua; Yeo Zhi Qi, Year 3, NM Majors and Gwendolyn Neo

NM Majors Rachel Phua and Yeo Zhi Qi share with readers their combined loves for film-making and writing in this video clip, they and their friend, Gwendolyn Neo, a graduate from Singapore Polytechnic’s School of Communications, Arts & Social Sciences, made with the help of nuSTUDIOS.

CNM Writing Modules on Film

Music by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons

Written by Mary Lee

August 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Posted in News

NM4207 students and professor on air: Tune into TV documentary series, Campaigns

leave a comment

Over the summer break, the production team of the documentary, Campaigns interviewed Dr Tracy Loh and two of her students from her class on Managing Campaigns.

The documentary is an eight-parts series tracing the history of public information campaigns in Singapore since the time of Independence in 1965.  The idea is to tell the nation’s history through the collective memory of more than 50 years of campaigns, and to understand these campaigns against the backdrop of the life and times that they were created in.

Dr Loh and Honours-Year students, Nur Safiah and Dawn Tan were featured in the final episode of the documentary series.  While the students shared about their campaigns, Dr Loh spoke about the aims and purpose of the module.

The documentary is commissioned by MediaCorp with support of the Media Development Authority.

Here is the link to the programme which was aired on OKTO channel on 13 August 2014 at 10pm.  The CNM interviewees appeared at the 19:05 minute mark of the 23-minute video clip.  Tune in!
http://video.xin.msn.com/browse/catch-up-tv/campaigns?videoid=05486c82-1763-441e-a988-c42673cabb62&src=v5:pause:facebook:&from=dest_hub_en-sg_Campaigns

Written by Mary Lee

August 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in News