Category Archives: Events

The Art of Neighbouring: Exhibition at ArtsBuzz

What does China’s rise mean for those who live along its borders? Reflecting on the PRC’s strategies to foster trade, secure access to natural resources, and prevent unrest in its own borderlands, this exhibition shows the ways in which people’s lives and futures are affected by living along the borders. As rising China (the nation, the notion, the buzzword) channels aspirations, triggers fears and creates opportunities, “neighbouring” becomes a crucial skill in the borderlands – a skill that includes evading, openly opposing, making use of, or renegotiating the border situation.

In the first half of the 20th century, the fuzziness of erstwhile frontier zones was replaced with the sharp contours of nation-states. Political and military conflicts between the PRC and its neighbouring states brought many long-established trans-border relations to a halt. More recently, new stimuli of economic growth and material prosperity readily impelled a momentum of “opening up”. As ancient crossroads emerge as zones of contact and translation again, borderland communities actively engage with new possibilities; they also become targets of new regulatory regimes to “manage” the flows of people and goods across the borders.

This exhibition aims to show how the closure and re-opening of the PRC’s borders condition the myriad realities of making as well as being China’s neighbours through peace and turmoil. Three photographers present a selection of images that portray the diversity, the transformations, the vulnerability and the resilience of these border zones.

The exhibition is now being held at Central Library’s ArtsBuzz and is made up of two series. Series one will run from 1 to 15 September while series two will run from 16 to 30 September.

About the Photographers

DRU C. GLADNEY is Professor of Anthropology at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He began his field research in western China over 30 years ago, and has carried out more recent projects in Kazakhstan, Kyr­gyzstan, Turkey and Malaysia.

TOM CLIFF is a final-year PhD candidate at the Con­temporary China Centre of the Australian National University (ANU). He was a professional photographer before coming to academia. More of his work can be found at

MARTIN SAXER is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Asia Research Institute (ARI). He car­ried out field research in Siberia, Tibet and Nepal since 2003. He is the director of two feature length documen­tary films, including “Journeys with Tibetan Medicine” (

Celebrating 25 years with the Heads of HSSML

HSSML celebrates its 25 years remembering the librarians who helmed the library.

The heads of HSSML, posing beside the bust of Mr Hon Sui Sen, are from left:

Mrs Lee-Wang Cheng Yeng: 1987-1991

Ms Lim Bee Lum: 1991-30 Sep 2001

Mrs Kwok-Foo Yan Chuin:  1 Oct 2001-1 Apr 2007; 1 Dec 2007-1 Jan 2009

Ms Kan Sok Cheng: 2 Apr 2007-30 Nov 2007

Ms Tan Lay Tin (current Head of HSSML): 2 Jan 2009-


TNL has had the privilege of working for and with each of these librarians. She saw how the library grew under their care. And from them too, she learnt what it means to be a librarian.

Mrs Lee-Wang Cheng Yeng, the first head of the library and her deputy, Mr Ng Kok Koon, started the library from scratch. Every single thing about HSSML before the major renovation of 2010 had a bit of them worked into it. From the layout of the space to the dove grey and baby pink color scheme. If you look closely around the library now, you can still see a little of them.

It is through Mrs Lee that TNL learnt about the intellectual value and professionalism of a true blue librarian. This grounded TNL in the midst of swirling changes to her profession.

Ms Lim Bee Lum was our longest serving head of library. Many people knew her from the days when she was head of the Circulation Dept of Central Library.

Mrs Kwok-Foo Yan Chuin who was Ms Lim’s deputy took over from Ms Lim when she retired. By then, Yan Chuin had worked closely with all her staff. Being able to communicate and empathise with them was important because it was during that time that NUS underwent major changes in leadership and management. The one thing TNL learnt from Yan Chuin was the need to listen and to truly care for those who seek help.

Ms Kan Sok Cheng took over when Yan Chuin went to head CJ Koh Law Library full time at Bukit Timah campus. Sok had worked at HSSML from Oct-Dec 1992 when Ms Lim was the head of HSSML. So it was a returning of sorts for her. Sok’s time heading HSSML was so short that the running joke was – you could not even get a baby out of it! But actually, Sok did start a “baby”. She initiated the plans to renovate HSSML.

Ms Tan Lay Tin, who took over from Sok when Sok went to head the then Medical/Science Library, carried the renovation plans through. What you see today, the expanded spaces – is Lay Tin’s contribution which marks the era of a new HSSML.

TNL remains friends with each of these ladies – individuals who have since moved on to different adventures. Each continues to inspire.

Thank you for the 25 years, ladies, and the many more to come.

Patent Tutorial : Effective Skills on Patent Searching

With much anticipation, Shu Wen (Medical Resource librarian) and I (Science Resource librarian) conducted a tutorial on patents on 16 April at Science Library. As this was the first time we were conducting such a class, we didn’t know what to expect. What questions will the participants ask? Will they be too difficult for us to answer? Will we have problems with the databases?

It was all systems go. About 30 people attended the session. Shu Wen started the session with a powerpoint presentation. Then came the highlight of the session where she shared her personal experience in filing a patent for an undergraduate research she had done with her professor. The questions came fast and furious. It was great that the participants themselves were helping to answer questions from other participants, and sharing their own experiences. I continued the session by demonstrating the Internet sources and databases. Finally, it was over. Whew! No hiccups.

There is definitely a lot of interest for such patent tutorials. On the same day that we announced this patent class in the NUS Calendar of Events, all the places were filled up. We even had a long waitlist. We will review the session and feedback given by the participants, and conduct future sessions.  We’ll be back for more!

By the way, Shu Wen is not the first staff from NUS Libraries to file a patent.  Mr Patrick Lye, Principal Librarian at the Central Library’s Loans & Membership Department had been granted a Singapore Patent.  His invention? The Book Chute located at Central Library!

Loh Mee Lan
Patent Team

Make It Real: NUS Mountaineering

The NUS Mountaineering Club is named Make It Real (MIR), based on the belief that people can overcome any obstacle and achieve their goals, as long as they have the dedication and perseverance to make their dreams real. This photo exhibitition is dedicated to the members of MIR, fellow students in NUS, who dreamt of snow-capped summits, and made their dreams a reality. The twenty photos displayed in Artsbuzz are taken by different gifted photographers from MIR during their overseas Technical Mountaineering courses or expeditions in the Himalayas.

A Brief history of MIR NUS Mountaineering Club
When Dr. Robert Goh and his 2002 Singapore Xixabangma Expedition team decided to pass their mountaineering skills and passion onto NUS students through a Programme called Make It Real(MIR), they had no idea how powerful an impact that programme would leave on NUS students in many batches that followed. The first 10 trainees who turned up for the MIR recruitment talk formed MIR 1.  NUS’ Centennial Everest Expedition are alumni of this ‘Make It Real’ programme, while the Singapore Women’s Everest Expedition was also initiated by ‘Make It Real’ members. To date, we are the eleventh batch of MIR.

Sacrifices and the spirit of mountaineering
Mountaineering is not a sport. It is a lifestyle which encompasses elements of uncertainty and risk, but it is not a blind pursuit of risk for its own sake. Thrill seekers have lots of easier activities to pursue. On the contrary, mountaineering involves detailed planning, preparation and motivation to overcome obstacles and to push the limits of human body further and higher. In the harshest of environments, we truly discover what we are made of.  It represents the “make it real” spirit with brains.

Mountaineering is something you can never experience in Singapore without going out there to the mountains to see and feel for yourself. The exhilaration of being up there above 5000m, the cold dry windy temperatures and the panaromic scenery of the ends of the world are the mini crescendos in life which make it more meaningful.

Mountaineering is a passion that can only be justified by the self and the will to achieve something much more for yourself. Finally, the camaraderie gained in mountaineering is something that cannot be attained elsewhere, anywhere, anytime.

Our journey to make our dreams of climbing mountains a reality is just one of many dreams. And like mountains, all dreams have obstacles that need to be overcome. But with perseverance, these dreams can be made a reality, as we can attest. The photos speak for themselves. So which dream are you pursuing? Be inspired and make it real!

Samantha Vu, Han EnChou and Nicholas Chee
On behalf of MIR11

On Men and Memes

There’s something about wheels that men find irresistible. But not all wheels, only those that move fast and turn heads. 

Just the other day, I read about a man on wheels who was making news on the Net. He’s not a testosterone-fueled teenager, but what society will euphemistically refer to as an older person. And a professor at that.

Prof Tom Winter was zipping around the University of Nebraska campus on his skateboard when a student took a photo of him in action. According to Know your meme, the photo first appeared on Reddit and then various websites, before turning viral. The local newspaper, JournalStar, even ran an article on him.

So what’s that got to do with the library? Well, the library is holding a meme contest until 15 April, and I decided to use Prof Winter as my inspiration:

Of course, you can use any meme generator and any image to create a library-related meme. The best meme as voted on the Facebook page will win! Remember to check out the details of the contest here. (Editor’s note: Oops sorry, do check out the judging criteria plus rules and regulations, as popularity is not a guarantee).

P.S.: If you’re hungry for fame, then be like Prof Winter and do something meme-worthy. Just don’t wait 20 years for someone to take a photo of you.

Seminar on Southeast Asian Chinese

Chinese Library cordially invites all NUS students and staff to attend the event below:

Seminar on Southeast Asian Chinese

Date   : 30 March 2012 (Friday)
Time   : 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Central Library Theatrette 2, Level 4

Agenda of the event:

  • Talk on Overseas Chinese in Singapore and the Fujian Incident in 1933
    Speaker: Matsuno Yumi (松野友美), Master student of the University of Tsukuba, Japan


  • Talk on Chinese publications in Sabah
    Speaker: Dr. Sim Chuin Peng (沈俊平博士), Head of the NUS Chinese Library

This event is co-organised by the NUS Chinese Library and the Southeast Asian Chinese Research Group from the Department of Chinese Studies. The event will be conducted in Mandarin.

For details, please refer to the poster.

Foursquare @ Music Library

The Foursquare campaign at Music Library was held from 13 Jan to 29 Feb 2012. In order to redeem a small token gift (NUS Libraries stapler), users had to “check in” using the Foursquare application on their smart phones four times during the qualifying period. The contest was open to NUS students and staff only.

Users had to show their Loyalty Special screen to the staff at the Information Desk in order to redeem their prize.

The campaign was a success, as it increased the number of users of check-in at Music Library daily. A total of 87 check-ins were made from 13 Jan to 29 Feb, as compared to 6 check-ins over the same period the year before. This is a significant increase of 93%. In total, the prize was unlocked 12 times. This means that there were 12 instances where the students came to Music Library and checked-in over 4 days.

We thank all users for their participation and support in the Foursquare promotion.

Statistical Databases: Find Out More

TNL supposes that nothing is worse than working with statistics.

But she is told that nothing beats the nightmare of FINDING statistics you want.


So the old girl and her colleagues are having a little online session where you can find out more about statistical database such as International Financial Statistics, World Development Indicators, CEIC Data Manager, etc.


The webinar allows you to “attend” the session by clicking a link we send you. We will meet in the virtual room to explore the mysteries of statistical databases.

The online (Webex) session will be on:

Date: 22 Mar 2012

Time: 1-2:30pm

Register online


Clinic Sessions for Engineering Students

Nothing beats the flexibility of coming to a library session, get a head-start on your project and leave without having to worry about time or rushing for your next class.

That’s what the librarians wanted 1st Year Engineering students of EG1413 (Critical Thinking and Writing module) to have when they developed the 3-hour clinic sessions.

So for 2 days, from 9am-12nn and from 1-4pm, students came into the clinic sessions and left after their questions were answered.






Some stayed on for the whole hog.  It was very much on-the-fly based entirely on topics or questions posed by the students. And boy, was there ever a deluge of questions.

Students wrote their topics or questions on yellow 3-by-5s (old cataloguing cards) and passed it to the librarian.  The librarian would then show how to search and retrieve the articles based on the topics.

Some topics were similar – social media and privacy, social media and the Singapore political landscape, social media and how it affects teens or the elderly, social media and intellectual property violations, etc. These were grouped and search techniques were taught.


More than 80 students attended the 2 clinic sessions. At any one point in a session,  there were at least 15-20 students in the class.

It was not just a matter of searching for articles.

Some had topics in mind that were kind of hazy. Some had started reading and found interesting patterns and trends but did not know what to make of it. The librarians guided them to see how headlines, keyword summaries, Subject Terms, etc could guide them in scoping or framing their topic, making it easier for them to manage the deluge of information or a run-away topic.

Differences in the types of information retrieved from the databases Business Source Premier, Communication and Mass Media Complete and Factiva were also demonstrated with the students’ topics.

Those who had to leave gave their email addresses on the yellow cards so that the librarian could email them after the clinic sessions.