Having faith in further study with NUS FASS

Mr Dean Wang hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of local religions
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By Rachel Tan
Straits Times, Postgraduate Supplement, July 7, 2019

Hagiographies of gods, Buddhist scriptures and Taoist rituals have enthralled Mr Dean Wang since young.

Growing up in a family that practises a mix of Buddhism and Taoism, his interest never wavered but deepened over the years, so much so that he is writing a PhD thesis on the worship of Taoist and Buddhist underworld gods in Singapore. These underworld gods include the Black and White Impermanence Ghosts tasked with escorting souls of the deceased to the underworld.

The thesis is part of his PhD in Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore. Seeing a lack of research related to Chinese religion in South-east Asia, he hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of local religions.

Since receiving the Enhanced FASS Graduate Scholarship in Chinese Religions in 2015, he has been studying under the supervision of renowned Chinese religion scholar Professor Kenneth Dean, and is the first to conduct an in-depth study of the worship of underworld gods in Singapore.

He also had the opportunity to co-organise the “Second Christian- Taoist Colloquium” with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore last year.

The 31-year-old is now in his final year of studies and will be working with Prof Dean on a new documentation project on local Taoist altars. After graduation, he hopes to embark on overseas postdoctoral research if there are fellowships available. However, he also wants to keep an open mind about his future.

“Any role that allows me to share my knowledge and work on topics related to the local religious scene is good,” he says. “I know that my area of specialisation opens up quite a few opportunities besides the academia.”

He believes that postgraduate courses not only train students to be independent learners, but also help them think critically, speak with precision and act responsibly.

“The emphasis on field work and communicating effectively are soft skills that will never become outdated,” he adds.

20 areas of study in Humanities, Social Sciences and Asian Studies

Excellent Global Rankings – consistently placed amongst leading universities. The most comprehensive range of Humanities and Social Sciences subjects not only in Singapore but in the region.
17 Departments / Programmes, 20 subjects as well as cross-faculty options, special degree options and overseas opportunities. Leading faculty members, strong funding support and excellent research facilities and opportunities.

Find out more here.

Research Scholarships for PhD candidates – Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR)

Two Research Scholarships (RSs) are available each academic year for PhD candidates interested in completing research on family and demographic research from AY2018-AY2020. The end-date of the award will be the end of the fourth year of candidature.

Selected students can be based in any of the 17 Departments/Programmes at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore. The Scholarships are targeted specifically for applicants who have basic training and skills in the following areas and will continue to focus on these topics in their PhD programmes:

• Quantitative research on family
• Demography
• Children and youth development
• Aging and Health
• Intergenerational relations and transfers

The scholarships are offered by the Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR).

You can refer to more information about the PhD programme here. Applicants must be university graduates with at least second class honours (upper division) degree or equivalent and at the time of the award of the Research Scholarship, must have applied for and been assured of admission as a PhD candidate to the Faculty. Application for admission to the PhD programme and the Research Scholarship can be done simultaneously. There is no restriction on the nationality of applicants.

All applications (complete with application form, application fee payment and supporting documents) must be received by the stipulated deadlines as indicated here.

For more information about Research Scholarships, please click here. Applications can be submitted online here.

Candidates should indicate that they are applying for the Research Scholarship, by indicating CFPR at the top right hand corner of the hardcopy application form. Candidates applying online should do likewise after printing out the completed application form for submission. Besides indicating on the hardcopy application form / application form printouts, candidates must also send a scanned copy of their application to CFPR at cfpr@nus.edu.sg .

FASS90 Political Science Lecture Series on the Practice of Foreign Affairs: Bilahari Kausikan on Singapore Foreign Policy

Click to enlarge.

In conjunction with FASS’ 90th anniversary, the Department of Political Science is organising a public lecture series on the Practice of Foreign Affairs. The guest lecturer is former Ambassador and currently Chairman of the Middle East Institute, Mr Bilahari Kausikan.

Date: 30 Jan, 20 Feb, 13 Mar, 20 Mar & 3 Apr
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Venue: FASS LT11 (Click for map)

Sign up for the lecture via the following links:
https://tinyurl.com/polsci-sfp-nusmembers (NUS members)
https://tinyurl.com/polsci-sfp-public (Public members)

The synopses for the lectures are as follows:

Lecture One: How to Think about Foreign Policy?
30 January 2019
The first lecture situates the fundamental role of national interests in foreign policy. Why are Singapore’s national interests not better and more widely understood? The talk examines some common errors in thinking about foreign policy, as well as the creation and maintenance of relevance for a small city-state, and why small countries should not behave like small countries.

Watch the lecture.

Lecture Two: Origins I – Relations with Malaysia and Indonesia
20 February 2019
The second lecture conveys the inevitable complexity of relations with Singapore’s neighbours. It provides an overview of the systemic origins of bilateral tensions with our neighbours, focusing on the uses and abuses of history, and the roles of ‘baggage’ and personality. The talk ends with thoughts on how Singapore could manage complexity and cope with competing nationalisms with our neighbours.

Watch the lecture.

Lecture Three: Origins II – ASEAN: Vital but Limited
13 March 2019
 The third lecture discusses the origins of regionalism in Southeast Asia. It explains the necessity but also the limits of ASEAN. The talk will suggest that ‘it is pointless to criticise a cow for being an imperfect horse’.

Watch the lecture.

Lecture Four: The New Global and Regional Strategic Context
20 March 2019
The fourth lecture looks at the key factors driving change in the global and regional order. Issues to be explored include: the nature of US-China relations, coping with competing influences, the roles of Japan, India, Australia, Russia and the EU. The talk also offers thoughts as to why the future of East Asia will be multi-polar.

Watch the lecture.

Lecture Five: Future Challenges
3 April 2019
The final lecture in the series examines the interaction of foreign policy and domestic politics. It offers thoughts on how to manage uncertainty and emerging systemic vulnerabilities in Singapore.

Watch the lecture.

An Evening of Poetry with Keki Daruwalla – Chaired by Edwin Thumboo 29 July 7pm

Join eminent Indian poet, Keki N Daruwalla, for an evening of poetry, conversation and share his rich creative journey at the National Library. Chaired by poet Edwin Thumboo, visitors will also be able to discover more about each poet’s works from the National Library’s Literary Arts collection at a mini-book display. This event is organised by The Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore.

Keki N Daruwalla
Indian poet and writer Keki N Daruwalla (b. 1937) is a recipient of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Asia (1977), Sahitya Academy Award (1984) and the prestigious Padma Shri Award (2014).  He has written 10 poetry volumes, five short fiction collections, two novels and his third novel Swerving to Solitude is in press with Simon & Schuster.

Edwin Thumboo
Singapore poet and Emeritus Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature Edwin Thumboo (b.1933) has published several volumes of poetry including  award-winning poems “Ulysses by the Merlion” (1979) and “Gods Can Die” (1978).

Click here to register.

Annual Teaching Excellence Award 2016/17

FASS is pleased to announce that the following faculty members won the Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) 2016/17:

  • Ms Cho Jin Hee (Center for Language Studies)
  • Assoc Prof Ong Chang Woei (Chinese Studies)
  • Dr Ong Ee Cheng (Economics)
  • Dr Graham John Wolfe (English Language and Literature)
  • Dr Leslie Lee (English Language and Literature)
  • Dr Lee Li Neng (Psychology)
  • Assoc Prof Narayanan Ganapathy (Sociology)
  • Assoc Prof Chua Kynn Hong, Vincent (Sociology)
  • Dr Lee Geok Ling (Social Work)
  • Dr Zhou Ziqian Jan (Centre for English Language Communication; teaching the Faculty core module FAS1101)

As this is the third time he is winning the ATEA, A/P Narayanan Ganapathy will also be placed on the ATEA Honour Roll.

Each and every one of the above award winners is a testimony to our faculty’s commitment to excellent teaching, and the effort our staff puts into delivering the best to our students.

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

CELC Oral Communication Camp 2017

Dear Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students,

In line with the National University of Singapore’s ‘Able Communicator Initiative’ to prepare NUS students to function effectively in the workplace of the 21st century, the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) is organising an Oral Communication Camp entitled ‘Mastering the Art of Professional Communication’ scheduled on 15th to 17th May 2017.

The event, which is open to NUS undergraduates and postgraduates, seeks to highlight communicative philosophies and approaches that leaders have adopted in managing shifting demands in dynamic situations.

Through this 3-day camp, you will be able to understand the importance and role of workplace communication, and the process of planning an impactful professional presentation.

You will also learn useful strategies to convince and persuade the audience, and develop good vocal and visual delivery skills to effectively support your content.

Some of our esteemed guest speakers include Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, Mr. Lawrence Chan, VP & Head, Regional Acquirer & Merchant Partnership, Asia Pacific, Visa International, and Mr. Rod Strother, VP of Digital Transformation, Starhub.

There are limited places available, so please register before places run out! To get more information about the event, please visit our page at http://www.nus.edu.sg/celc/programmes/oralcamp.php.

New closing date! Register online by Wed 26 Apr!

To register for the camp, please access the online registration form here: https://mysurvey.nus.edu.sg/EFM/se/543BE5C2367E5B0B and pay a $20 (non-refundable cash payment) fee at CELC.

Here is a link to a map showing where CELC is located: http://www.nus.edu.sg/celc/aboutus/contact_us.php.

Certificate of participation and achievement will be awarded to participants and winners!

We hope to see you there!