Mr Ngiam Tong Dow Top Civil Servant of Singapore, Beloved Supporter of NUS and FASS
The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is greatly saddened by the passing of Mr Ngiam Tong Dow on 20 August 2020 at the age of 83.
A prominent alumnus of the Faculty, Mr Ngiam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with First Class Honours in 1959. As a former civil servant of Singapore, Mr Ngiam contributed to Singapore’s economic development over four decades.
In recognition of his significant contributions to the Public Service, Mr Ngiam has been conferred various national public service awards, including the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1971, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1978 and the Distinguished Service Order in 1999.
Mr Ngiam was also actively engaged with the National University of Singapore (NUS). He had been serving as Pro-Chancellor of NUS since 2000 and was the Chairman of the NUS Centennial Campaign Advisory Board in 2003. Over and above his service to the NUS community, Mr Ngiam has also donated generously to university and FASS. In 2006, Mr Ngiam and his family across two generations established the Mr and Mrs Ngiam Fook Quee Memorial Scholarship in honour of their parents and grandparents who had migrated to Singapore from China in the last century with nothing but the determination to work hard and succeed.
FASS presented Mr Ngiam the FASS Distinguished Arts and Social Alumni Award in 2016 for his enormous contributions to Singapore’s nation-building efforts and his strong commitment to and support of the University and the Faculty. In 2019, NUS bestowed upon Mr Ngiam the prestigious NUS Eminent Alumni Award.
NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Advisory Board Member, Mrs Chua-Lim Yen Ching, was conferred the Public Administration Gold Medal at this year’s National Day Awards by the Prime Minister’s Office for her numerous contributions to education in Singapore.
Mrs Chua-Lim is the Deputy Director-General of Education (Professional Development) and Executive Director of the Academy of Singapore Teachers Directorate at the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore. This latest award follows the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) she received in 1999, and the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2017.
Her career in education spans 37 years, during which she has served as a teacher, principal and policy maker. Highlights include her leadership, as Deputy Director of the Sciences Branch of the Ministry of Education of Singapore, in the development of primary to pre-university curricula for mathematics, science, technical and physical education from 1998 to 2002, and the pivotal role she played as the founding principal of the NorthLight School, an institution offering enhanced vocational education from 2006 to 2011. She is now helming advancements in the professional development of teachers in Singapore.
At this year’s National Day Awards, Mrs Chua-Lim joins the ranks of illustrious NUS notables such as Former Deputy Prime Minister and current Senior Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof S. Jayakumar, who received the highest Order of Temasek (with High Distinction) honour, and Prof Wang Gungwu, FASS Professor and former Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy as well as the East Asian Institute, who was awarded The Distinguished Service Order.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS IRREVOCABLY changed the world, empowering us to take new approaches and employ new methods to do just about everything—from administering public policy and trade relations to managing economic and social activities.
The National University of Singapore’s Associate Professor Itty Abraham (Department of Southeast Asian Studies), Sooyeon Kim(Department of Political Science) and Prof David Taylor (Department of Geography) will be discussing this topic along with counterparts at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in the concluding episode of the HKUST Global Webinar Series.
During this session, “Navigating a World of Disruption”, the panel will be sharing their research and perspectives on the deep and varied effects of COVID-19 on food security, climate change, air quality, global trade, trends in international migration, remittances and scholarship.
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.
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”.
With sessions on 20 June, 4 July, 18 July and 1 August, Associate Professor Corinne Ghoh of NUS Social Work and also NAI’s Steering Committee, will be delivering the Opening and Closing addresses of the webinar series. The lineup of speakers features representatives from Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS), Institute of Mental Health Singapore, MSF Singapore, National Cancer Centre, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Changi General Hospital, National University Health System, Singapore General Hospital, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Scan the QR code in the image above or visit https://bit.ly/NAI_COVID19Seminars to register.
Ms Loo Bee Bee, Associate Director, Department of Psychology
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.”
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.
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.
Speaker Bios 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.
Chair Bio 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.