S’pore has ‘avoided income stagnation’ (Home, Page B6)

Friday, 27 May 2016

 The Straits Times

This was a report on the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification & Mobility (RC28) Conference, which is hosted by the Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR) at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 26 to 28 May 2016. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, delivered the opening address at the conference which is held in Singapore and Southeast Asia for the first time.

DPM Tharman noted that Singapore is doing relatively well when it comes to the ability of the next generation to do better than their elders. He added that it has avoided income stagnation for the low- and middle-income groups so far, and low-income families here have outperformed their peers elsewhere. At the three-day conference at NUS University Town, attended by 250 academics from over 30 countries, he dwelt on various strategies in education and housing that countries including Singapore – which has adopted many of them – can look at to preserve social movement within society.

 Click here to read the article.

FASS Student Leadership Award – Call for Nominations till 1 July 2016!


Dear Students,

FASS Student Leadership Award – Call for Nominations till 1 July 2016!

The FASS Student Leadership Award (FSLA) was launched last year to acknowledge achievements of student leaders beyond academic excellence.  The award recognizes students who demonstrate student leadership, foster experiential learning, and enhance outreach activities within FASS and the wider community.  The FSLA has values of $300 or $500 for each individual or group respectively.  For more details on the FSLA, please visit www.fas.nus.edu.sg/fsla/.

This year, the nomination period will be open until Friday 1 July 2016, and award winners will be notified in the first week of August 2016.

We would like to invite you to nominate your friends in FASS who have displayed outstanding leadership qualities for the FSLA (self-nominations are also accepted).  Please submit your nominations using the attached FORM via email or hard copy to:

Ms Lynn Seah
FASS Dean’s Office, External Relations and Student Life,
5 Arts Link, Level 5 (AS7) Shaw Foundation Building
Singapore 117570

Should you have any queries, please feel free to contact Lynn Seah at lynnseah@nus.edu.sg or tel: 6601-3496.

Thank you and we look forward to your nominations!

Best regards,
External Relations and Student Life
FASS Dean’s Office

Living alone in old age (Page 19)

Lianhe Zaobao


Sunday, 22 May 2016

This was an article contribution by Associate Professor Thang Leng Leng of the Department of Japanese Studies at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in which she highlighted the common practice here of employing domestic helpers to take care of seniors and issues that seniors face in adapting to such an arrangement. Assoc Prof Thang noted that according to Japanese academics involved in ageing studies, the arrangement of staying with a domestic helper from a culturally different background, on a long term basis, is met with some reservations from Japanese families. She added that Japan has prolifically invented devices to help seniors in their basic daily activities, as well as robotics capable of taking care and interacting with humans.

Looking good pays off in dollars and cents (Opinion, Page A23)

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Dr Kelvin Seah Kah Cheng from the Department of Economics at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he address the question on whether physically attractive people enjoy economic perks. He cited a book titled Beauty Pays by renowned labour economist Daniel Hamermesh to illustrate how better-looking people enjoy startling benefits in just about every aspect of life, and shared four reasons how beauty have an effect on one’s earnings.

The “Ask: NUS Economists” column is a monthly series by the NUS Economics Department. Each month, a panel will address a topical issue.

Click here to read it on the Straits Times website.

What’s wrong with Marxism? – Syed Farid Alatas

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Malay Mail Online

This was an article contribution by Associate Professor Syed Farid Alatas from the Department of Sociology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he analysed the issue of Marxophobia. He discussed Marx’s theories on capitalism and opined that apart from Marx having got certain things about the progress of capitalism wrong, he was not the evil theorist and ideologue of the horrors of communism that was witnessed in the Soviet Union, China or Cambodia. He noted that only the ignorant fear the teachings of Marx, and that to teach Marx is not to preach communism but critique capitalism.

Click here to read it on the Malay Mail Online.


Esri Young Scholars Award Winner for 2016 – Mr Yan Yingwei

Congratulations to Mr Yan Yingwei, from the Department of Geography who has won the Esri Young Scholars Award 2016 for his PhD work titled: ‘Investigating potential distributional changes of invasive crop pest species associated with global climate change using Geographic Information System’.

Photo_YingweiThis nation-wide competition, run annually by Esri, celebrates excellence in geospatial study, and more specifically, the creative use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology – or smart mapping technology – to solve commercial and community issues.

Yingwei’s study aimed to secure sustainable agricultural productions and global food supply in the context of climate change and rapid human population increase. Specifically, the study involves using GIS to analyse the possible consequences of future climate change on the global distributions of invasive crop pest species; and mitigating potential pest invasion risks based on quality-controlled Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) which is a form of crowd sourcing or user-generated content.

His four-year PhD project is supervised by Associate Professor Feng Chen-Chieh, and by his thesis committee members namely, Associate Professor Wang Yi-Chen, and Professor Lu Xixi. The project generated research findings on four fronts:
(1) the overall global distributional patterns of invasive crop pest species;
(2) the spatial patterns of future distributional changes in pest species richness across different latitudes and altitudes;
(3) how temperature and precipitation variations across different regions will affect the distributional changes of the pest species; and
(4) how to utilize artificial intelligence (fuzzy logic) to assure the quality of VGI in order to better surveil crop pest invasions based on spatial crowdsourcing.

These findings may allow agricultural planners, policy and decision-makers to easily identify areas around the globe which need more attention about invasive crop pest control.

Yingwei’s enthusiasm in GIS drove him to pay attention to the Esri Young Scholars Award. As a final year PhD student, he submitted his four year’s research outcomes to Esri to compete for the award. By participating in the competition, he described himself as a young scholar with a quick uptake and an ever burning desire to outperform himself and raise his intellectual levels at every opportunity.

Yingwei will be receiving this award at the 2016 Esri User Conference in San Diego, California, this June and will have his work displayed alongside other Young Scholar winners from around the world.

Students from NUS’ Department of Chinese Studies visited Malacca to learn more about Admiral Zheng He (zbNOW, Page 4)

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Lianhe Zaobao

In today’s edition of Lianhe Zaobao, there was a report on a field trip to Malacca involving 20 NUS students who are studying the history of the Ming Dynasty, which took place from 26 to 27 February 2016. Led by Associate Professor Lee Cheuk Yin, who is from the Department of Chinese Studies at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the trip aimed to enable students to learn more about Admiral Zheng He. The field studies component has been part of this module offered to Honours students since 2010.

Click here to read the article in Mandarin.

More government data can be made available to advance social science research: ESM Goh (21 Apr)

Friday, 22 April 2016

This was a report on the 2nd Social Service Research Centre Conference organised by the Social Service Research Centre (SSR) at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on the theme of working with low-income families in Singapore. In his keynote address, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is the Centre’s advisor and Guest-of-Honour at the event, noted that the Government can help to advance social science research by making more data readily available to researchers.


In a related report titled “Debt relief ‘helps poor avoid bad decisions’” (Home, Page B6), it was reported that a local study on how debt affects the poor, which was presented at the conference, has found that clearing the debts of the poor reduces their anxiety and helps them focus better, possibly reducing the chances that they will make bad decisions which keep them mired in poverty. The study was conducted by Dr Ong Qiyan, Research Fellow at SSR, and Dr Walter Theseira from UniSIM.

In another related report titled “Low-income families with housing problems need more help, social workers say” (TODAY Online, 21 Apr), it was mentioned that a study by Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS and Dr Neo Yu Wei from UniSIM, has found that when it comes to helping clients with housing problems, some social workers see their clients as victims who could do with more policy flexibility.

 Click here to read the article.

NUS researchers launch online campaign to raise awareness of poverty in Singapore

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Straits Times Online

It was reported that a group of NUS researchers, led by Professor Mohan J. Dutta, Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) and Head of the FASS Department of Communications and New Media, conducted a study on 180 low-income individuals over the past three years. The study found that while resources are available to help the people on low incomes, many of them do not know how to tap into them, while others do not seek help for fear of being stigmatised and alienated. The group has produced a White Paper on their key findings and has launched an online campaign called Singaporeans Left Behind to raise awareness of the everyday challenges encountered by the poor. The researchers will publish two additional White Papers within the next month on solutions proposed during dialogue sessions with the community.

Click here to read the article.