CALLING ALL FASS GRADUATE STUDENTS: Having trouble with your writing and need help? The Writing Programme continues through the new semester.
Please be on the lookout for an email from us asking for you to register!
The 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology has been awarded to Professor Wang Gungwu, University Professor at NUS Arts and Social Sciences and one of the world’s foremost experts on the Chinese diaspora.
Announced on 20 June 2020 by the Tang Prize Foundation, this prestigious award was conferred on Prof Wang in recognition of his trailblazing and dissecting insights on the history of the Chinese world order, overseas Chinese, and Chinese migratory experience.
As a leading scholar on Sino-Southeast Asian historical relations, Prof Wang developed a unique approach to understanding China by scrutinising its long and complex relationship with its southern neighbours. His erudition and critical discernment have significantly enriched the explanation of China’s changing place in the world, traditionally developed from an internalist perspective or in relation to the West.
Prof Wang said, “It is a great honour to be awarded the Tang Prize in Sinology. When I was a student, Sinology was part of Oriental Studies and associated with classical studies, guoxue (国学) in China, Hanxue (汉学) in Japan and Europe. It was centred on ancient philology as the foundation for the study of literature, philosophy and history. The four previous awardees, Yu Ying-shih at Princeton, Ted de Bary at Columbia, Shiba Yoshinobu at Tokyo and Stephen Owen at Harvard, started with the study of classical Chinese. Yu and de Bary went on to enrich our knowledge of intellectual history while Shiba did the same for social and economic history. Although Owen is best known for his contributions to literature, his work on literary theory has illuminated key features of the historical imagination.”
“I am a historian who believes that China’s present cannot be separated from her total past. Living all my life outside China, I am fascinated by the way China had fallen and risen several times. Each time that happened had made a difference to the course of world history. For us to understand why that could happen requires us to go beyond the humanities to the social sciences. I am gratified that modern Sinology now recognises the centrality of shi (史) in Chinese civilisation,” he added.
One of Asia’s most important intellectuals
Prof Wang Gungwu has been University Professor at NUS Arts and Social Sciences since 2007, and Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University since 1988. He is Foreign Honorary Member of the History Division of the American Academy of Arts and Science and former President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Prof Wang received his BA and MA from University of Malaya (UM) in Singapore, and PhD at SOAS, London.
Spending much of his life immersed in different cultures gives Prof Wang diverse personae as a scholar. He is an “insider” in the academic tradition of Chinese Confucianism and British elite education, and an “outsider” in the interpretation of China’s perception of the world. His original approach to understanding China from the southern perspective is in part a natural choice given his personal experience. This same experience provided him with abundant inspiration in his formative years as he matured into an authoritative voice in the analysis of China’s worldview.
Besides being an outstanding scholar, Prof Wang has been an inspiring educator since he embarked on an academic career first at UM and subsequently at the Australian National University, before making his mark as Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong from 1986 to 1995, Chairman of the Institute of East Asian Political Economy from 1996 to 1997, and Director of the NUS East Asian Institute from 1997 to 2007.
At 89 years old, Prof Wang is still very prolific as a scholar. “I am writing on Chinese hopes and fears following China’s opening and reforms, focusing on the period after the People’s Republic of China’s entry into the United Nations in October 1971,” he shared.
And when asked how COVID-19 has impacted him, Prof Wang said, “COVID-19 has moved me away from my routines and made me parcel my life more carefully and take into account how much time I might have to get my work completed.”
The biannual Tang Prize consists of four categories, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology and Rule of Law. It aims to promote the interaction and cooperation between cultural and technological research so as to find a 21st century path to the sustainable development of the world.
This article was first published on 22 June 2020 in NUS News at https://news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/eminent-nus-historian-professor-wang-gungwu-receives-prestigious-tang-prize.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and forced us to reexamine, reengineer and innovate the way we work and live. Its impact probably most pronounced in healthcare and among medical professionals. To catalyse discussion and advance research on how medical social workers can continue to enhance their delivery of care to patients at this time, the Next Age Institute and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) are running “At the Coalface of COVID-19, a Webinar Series for Medical Social Workers”.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards.
Launched in 2018, the annual FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards are conferred on Faculty and Administrative staff who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to mentoring their junior colleagues and whose mentorship has been especially impactful on the good conduct, performance and professional growth of their mentees.
“Mentorship is a crucial factor in retaining and nurturing quality faculty and administrative staff, and in building up a strong and cohesive institutional culture. The role that such inspiring mentors play in this, is greatly appreciated,” said Professor Robbie B.H. Goh, Dean, FASS, in his announcement of the winners.
“There were a number of worthy nominees. Evidence showed that the nominees did not simply do the things which might be considered ‘in the course of duty’ but went above and beyond that, and really sacrificed their own time and energy for the sake of their mentees,” added Professor Goh. “I hope that we will all try to do our part as mentors, and build up an institutional culture that we can all be proud of.”
The winners of the inaugural FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards were: Associate Professor Serene Tan (Economics); Associate Professor Chris McMorran (Japanese Studies); and Associate Professor Stephen Lim (Psychology).
Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee
Associate Professorial Fellow
NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Social Work
1926 – 2019
Often described as the founding mother of social work education in Singapore, Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee passed away in Singapore on 11 December 2019. She was 93 years of age.
Born on 19 August 1926 in Corbridge, United Kingdom, Mrs Wee arrived in Singapore in 1950 to be reunited with her fiancé whom she met at Cambridge. Mrs Wee’s career in social work spans six decades. After a four-year stint at the Methodist Girls’ School, Mrs Wee joined the Social Welfare Department in 1955. To better communicate with and advocate for her clients amongst low income families, she picked up Malay, Cantonese and Hokkien on the job. At the same time, Mrs Wee began part-time teaching at the then University of Malaya.
In 1957, Mrs Wee began teaching full-time at the Department of Social Work, and formally assumed headship of the Department in 1967, a role in which she served until her retirement in 1986. As the Department’s longest serving Head, Mrs Wee was the driving force behind the University’s decision to introduce a full-fledged Honours Degree programme, paving the way for social workers to be recognised as professionals, enjoy better career prospects, and gain access to policymaking. To impart her knowledge to future generations of social workers, Mrs Wee further co-authored and edited Social Work in the Singapore Context, the only textbook on social work in Singapore. In 2017, she published her memoir A Tiger Remembers: The Way We Were in Singapore, which chronicles her experiences in the Singapore of old.
Mrs Wee’s contributions extend beyond the academic sphere and she served on panels that traversed demographics and issues. In addition to being appointed on the Advisory Panel to the Juvenile Court for nearly four decades (1970 – 2009), Mrs Wee also served a term on the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents; as an advisor on women’s and girl’s issues with the Ministry of Social Affairs; on the board of governors of the National Youth Leadership Training Institute; and several other boards and committees.
Mrs Wee was bestowed with the Public Service Star in 1972, and again with the Public Service Star (Bar) in 2004. Inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, Mrs Wee’s public awards further include The Most Outstanding MCYS Volunteer Award (2004), Meritorious Service Medal (2010), and NUSS Distinguished Member Award (2012). Notably, Mrs Wee was also the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award, presented by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2009. She was also conferred the FASS Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award and the NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2019 in recognition of her lifelong dedication and contribution to social service and education.
In celebration of Mrs Wee’s lasting contributions, the Department of Social Work established the Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award in 2014, during the Faculty’s 85th Anniversary celebrations. The latter award is presented in her honour by NUS to recognise excellence in social work.
Mrs Ann Wee is survived by her two daughters and 4 grandchildren.
Date & Time: Wednesday, 12 February 2020, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm
Venue: The Pod, NLB
Organizers: Singapore Research Nexus
RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/imperial-creatures-humans-and-other-animals-in-colonial-singapore-181919-registration-77088051437
|6:00 pm||Registration/Refreshments/Book Sale|
|6:30 pm||Welcome Remarks by Chair, Associate Professor Maitrii Aung-Thwin (NUS History/Asia Research Institute)|
|6:35 pm||Presentation by Associate Professor Timothy P. Barnard (NUS History)|
|6:55 pm||Presentation by Assistant Professor Anthony Medrano (Yale-NUS)|
|7:15 pm||Presentation by Assistant Professor Darinee Algirisamy (NUS South Asian Studies)|
|7:35 pm||Q and A/Discussion, Moderated by Chair|
|8:05 pm||Book Sale with Autograph Signing|
About the Book
Imperial Creatures: Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942
Timothy P. Barnard
The environmental turn in the humanities and social sciences has meant a new focus on the history of animals. This is one of the first books to look across species at animals in a colonial, urban society. If imperialism is a series of power relationships, it involves not only the subjugation of human communities but also animals. What was the relationship between these two processes in colonial Singapore? How did various interactions with animals enable changes in interactions between people, and the expression of power in human terms?
The imposition of imperial power relationships was a process that was often complex and messy, and it led to the creation of new communities throughout the world, including the colonial port city of Singapore. Through a multidisciplinary consideration of fauna, this book weaves together a series of tales to document how animals were cherished, slaughtered, monitored and employed in a colonial society, to provide insight into how imperial rule was imposed on an island in Southeast Asia. Fauna and their histories of interacting with humans, thus, become useful tools for understanding our past, revealing the effects of establishing a colony on the biodiversity of a region, and the institutions that quickly transformed it. All animals, including humans, have been creatures of imperialism in Singapore. Their stories teach us lessons about the structures that upheld such a society and how it developed over time.
Timothy P. Barnard is an associate professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he specializes in the environmental and cultural history of island Southeast Asia.
Anthony Medrano is a historian of the Asian marine environment who studies the interplay between people and fish, science and society, and technology and nature.
Darinee Algirisamy’s work engages with the history of poverty and social reform in colonial India, with a focus on South India, between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. The transnational circulation of Indian reform movements in Southeast Asia and the history of the Tamil diaspora are related areas of interest.
Maitrii Aung-Thwin received his PhD from the University of Michigan (2001) where he studied Burmese and Southeast Asian history. He has lived and conducted research in Southeast Asia for nearly two decades.
The Faculty Teaching Excellence Award is awarded to faculty members who have displayed a high level of commitment to their teaching. Each year, a select few colleagues are recognised for their teaching based on peer reviews, student feedback and exposition of their teaching philosophy.
We congratulate the following colleagues on their achievements in teaching. These FASS faculty members have been awarded the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for their work in AY2018-19.
|Dr Zhou Ziqian||Centre For English Language Communication|
|Ms Lam Wanli, Aileen||Centre For English Language Communication|
|Dr Chan Kwang Guan Daniel||Centre For Language Studies|
|Mr Muzzammil Bin Mohamed Yassin||Centre For Language Studies|
|Mr Nagami, Masanori||Centre For Language Studies|
|Mr Yuzuru Hamasaki||Centre For Language Studies|
|Ms Klayklueng , Sasiwimol||Centre For Language Studies|
|Ms Lian Oi Lin||Centre For Language Studies|
|Ms Maria Inmaculada Melero Carras||Centre For Language Studies|
|Prof Ong Chang Woei||Chinese Studies|
|Dr Alexander Ian Mitchell||Communications And New Media|
|Dr Ong Ee Cheng||Economics|
|Mr Chua Yeow Hwee||Economics|
|A/P Loon Seong Yun, Robin||English Language & Literature|
|Dr Lee Huiying Nala||English Language & Literature|
|Dr Leslie Lee||English Language & Literature|
|Dr Rebecca Lurie Starr||English Language & Literature|
|A/P Chang Tou Chuang||Geography|
|Dr Kamalini Ramdas||Geography|
|Dr Donna Maree Brunero||History|
|Dr Jaradi Priya Manish||History|
|Dr Lawrence, Kelvin||History|
|Dr Wang Jinping||History|
|A/P Bain, William Ward||Political Science|
|Dr Graf, Sinja Ursula||Political Science|
|Dr Lepori, Matthew Aaron||Political Science|
|Dr Ray, Subhasish||Political Science|
|A/P Lim Wee Hun, Stephen||Psychology|
|Dr Cha Yeow Siah||Psychology|
|Dr Lee Li Neng||Psychology|
|Dr Nina Laurel Powell||Psychology|
|Dr Pon Kwai Ling||Social Work|
|Dr Wong Yuh Ju Peace||Social Work|
|A/P Feng Qiushi||Sociology|
|Dr Ivan Kwek Eng Tai||Sociology|
|Dr Noorman Abdullah||Sociology|
|Dr Radics, George Baylon||Sociology|
The Special Teaching Award recognises colleagues with special capabilities in the following categories:-
Educational Leadership: Administrative service and leadership in curriculum development
Innovation: Innovative use of technology in teaching
Pedagogy: Research on teaching pedagogies
Students’ Choice: Excellence in student feedback and rapport with learners
Versatility: Range of modules taught across levels, student numbers and genres
|Education Leadership Award|
|Dr Lee Li Neng||Psychology|
|Industry Engagement Award|
|Dr Wong Yuh Ju Peace||Social Work|
|Students’ Choice Award|
|Mr Yuzuru Hamasaki
Ms Klaykleung, Sasiwimol
|Centre for Language Studies
Centre for Language Studies
|Dr Kamalini Ramda||Geography|
Congratulations to all our winners for their excellent work!
NUS FASS marked its 90th anniversary, the Dean delivered a strong performance on stage, and Guest of Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, called for further government-academia collaboration on public policy.
From its beginnings in 1929 as part of Raffles College offering three-year diplomas in English, Economics, History and Geography, to its position today as a global top 20 provider of higher education in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Management, the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has come a long way.
The Dean of FASS, Professor Robbie Goh, referenced this journey during his opening address at FASS 90th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Friday (15 November 2019) evening. “FASS began life…with the four founding majors of English, History and Geography. Its inaugural intake was 43 students,” said Professor Goh. “Fast forward 90 years…FASS takes in about 1,600 undergraduate students each, has 16 departments offering 20 majors, [and so far can count] among its alumni – a President, a Prime Minister, several Ministers and ambassadors, and other top civil servants of Singapore, along with notable CEOs, entrepreneurs, well-known actors, musicians and others who have contributed much to the world.”
Professor Goh proceeded to share details of initiatives and programmes already underway at NUS FASS with close to 300 alumni, staff, students and other supporters who packed the Empress Ballroom at Carlton Hotel in downtown Singapore to celebrate the Faculty’s 90th anniversary. These included the launch of: a new major under the Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) programme; joint and double degree programmes with overseas partners (the latest being the University of California, Berkeley); the FASS Social Incubator Programme, which sees to the provision of seed money to students working on innovative solutions to social work issues; and the “Industry Tracks” programme, which seeks to enhance the employability of FASS graduates by giving them the training, guidance and experience they need to succeed in the key industry segments most likely to hire them.
Guest of Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, a FASS alumnus herself, shared the Government’s current approaches to helping ensure Singapore’s ageing population have sufficient funds to retire comfortably. She cited some of the major contributions the academic community has made to Central Provident Fund (CPF) policy to date, and called for further Government-academia collaboration in specific areas of research and public communications. Among her suggestions are programmes that seek to answer questions such as: How can it be ensured that the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) of each CPF member is sufficient to cover basic expenses in the future?; How can the Government increase understanding of and promote take-up of schemes meant to enable retirees to supplement their incomes by making use of their HDB apartments?; How can older workers be incentivised to start their payouts later, so they will have higher payouts when they eventually retire?
“We can make our system better through constantly looking over the horizon and planning ahead. In that sense, the CPF must remain a ‘live system’, always evolving and ever-responsive to emerging needs,” Mrs Teo said. “We hope that the academic and social science research community can join us to make it better.”Immediately following a dazzling Malay dance performance by dance group NUS Ilsa Tari, came students Wesley Wang (Year 2 Linguistics Major) and Nediva Singam (Year 4 Geography Major) sharing their experiences and lessons learnt during their respective turns in overseas exchange study programmes. They spoke in support of the launch of the new FASS Student Advancement Fund that extends further financial support for needy students.
The proceeds of the Gala Dinner went directly to this fund, and the generosity of all donors so moved Professor Goh that he dedicated his rendition of James Taylor’s classic You’ve Got a Friend and the timeless hymn by John Newton, Amazing Grace to them. The audience returned his gesture not just with heartfelt applause.
Professor Goh, Professor Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost, NUS, Singapore’s legendary poet Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo, illustrious Singapore educator and alumnus Mrs Tan Suan Imm, and, distinguished alumni Archie Ong and Soh Yi Da, who played key roles on the FASS 90 Gala Dinner Committee, came together to cut FASS’s 90th birthday cake.
The climax of the event was the sealing of the FASS Leapfrog Time Capsule in commemoration of FASS’s 90th Anniversary. Professors Goh and Ho placed items representing the Deanery, every department, alumni, student body, along with the day’s edition of The Straits Times into the time capsule, which they set to reopen in 2079 on the occasion of FASS’s 150th anniversary. Professor Ho then sealed it by pressing a virtual button on an iPad, setting off confetti and cheers from everyone.
We have never started out with the intention to carry out a donation drive of any sort, and throughout the sale, we have also made it very clear to anyone purchasing the books that we are not holding a donation drive (even though the proceeds will go to the FASS Graduate Student Help Fund).
The history graduate community have been talking about tidying up the Graduate room and sorting out the copious number of books that have accumulated over the years for a while but we always seem to lack the momentum and motivation to gather everyone together to do something about it.
A little tired of the lack of progress, I put out a call for action and several of my peers responded to the call. We thought that if we simply donated the books or put them in the recycling bin, it is too much of a waste– some of the titles are really great. As such, we thought of holding a book sale; this way, the books will go to someone who really wants them and we can actually tidy up the graduate room.
Thus, I would really like to thank Tony, Che-Wei, Sufei and Thawdar for taking the time to help in the setting-up and the manning of the book sale, and Kuan Huai for dropping by to offer moral support. Tony and Che-Wei were instrumental in de-cluttering and sorting out the books in preparation of the sale, and Sufei has also assisted tremendously in the moving of books to the stall. The sale would not have been possible without the help that everyone has pinched in. We have collected a total of $378.50, and the sum was donated to the FASS Graduate Student Help Fund. It is not a huge amount by any means, but we hope that every dollar makes a difference. 🙂
Wang Shuqin Sandy
Current MA candidate in History