Honours Seminar, Semester 1 AY2016-2017

Chairperson: Assoc Prof Goh Beng Lan
Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Venue: AS8, Level 6, Conference Room (06-46)


Of Ports and Starboards: Rethinking Women’s Integration in the Singapore Navy 

Speaker: Audrey Yong Hui Ling

The advocacy for gender equality in the world as well as in Singapore, has seen traditionally male-dominated organisations such as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), reinventing itself as gender-neutral in order to facilitate the process of injecting women into the current inter-gendered organisation. In reinventing itself as gender-neutral, the RSN has put in place policies that firstly, ensure equal career opportunities for women, and secondly, ensure that the modesty of women are protected. However, while these policies attempt to portray the RSN as gender-neutral, the reality is that underlying gender inequalities continue to exist within the organisation due to the socialisation of gender norms. By examining everyday interactions between men and women in the RSN, gendered division of labour, and the tension women face between their aspirations and their expected gender role in society, this thesis argues that it takes more than just the reinvention of policies to achieve gender equality in the organisation. With that, this thesis also shows the limitations of policy-oriented studies which often engage in a top-down approach, overlooking the realities in practice.


Reproduction of Racial Inequality in Singapore 

Speaker: Lok Weng Seng

Discussion of racial relations in Singapore might have just moved beyond the usual discourse of vigilance and fragile harmony to a bolder confrontation of matters. Despite talk of Chinese privilege in Singapore society, some Singaporeans are still in denial that there is a serious problem of racial inequality in Singapore when the issue is all too real for others. The thesis uses the ethnographic approach to analyse how racial inequality is perpetuated at the micro or individual level. With the rich secondary material on how racial inequality is produced at the structural level, the thesis will then examine the link between these levels to provide a clearer understanding of how the contradictions of meritocracy and multi-racialism in Singapore can persist.

Best Paper and Best Presentation Awards at the International World Peace Conference ‘Better Understanding for a Better World’

Congratulations to Khoo Yi Feng on winning the Best Paper and Best Presentation awards at the International World Peace Conference ‘Better Understanding for a Better World’ held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 2nd to 6th December 2015.

Yi Feng’s paper titled “From Victims to Victors: Learning Psychological Resilience from Khmer Survivors” discussed the coping strategies that the survivors of the Khmer Rouge employed in response to their traumatic past.

BUBW Best Paper and Best Presentation Award

Barong: The Tale of Kunti Sraya



To Balinese Hindus, the Barong is the protector of their island. He is also the material form of the god Siwa who regularly transforms himself into a Barong when coming face to face with his consort in her powerful guise as the witch queen Rangda. The tense and delicate balance between the Barong’s positive energies and Rangda’s dark powers forms the quintessential centerpiece upon which the Hindu Balinese world pivots. One of the most popular Barong plays narrates an episode from the Mahabarata epic called the Tale of Kunti Sraya. Although Indian in origin, the play is distinctly Balinese in flavor and incorporates all major forms of Balinese theatrical performance including refined female dances (pelegongan), barong (bebarongan), masking (patopengan), opera (pearjaan), drama (pengambuhan) and complex musical patterns.

The cast of Barong: The Tale of Kunti Sraya comprise both professional Balinese dancers as well as NUS students. Students enrolled in the class SE2224: Unmasked! An Introduction to Traditional Dance in Southeast Asia, spent a week in Bali in September learning the various roles needed to produce a Barong performance that would meet Balinese nods of approval. They are joined on stage by members of the NUS community including students from SE1101E: Southeast Asia: A Changing Region, and dancers from Eka Suwara Santhi, Singapore’s only Balinese dance group. Musical accompaniment is provided by Gamelan Pinda Sari from the village of Pinda in Bali.

Barong: The Tale of Kunti Sraya celebrates the close relationship that has developed between the Department of Southeast Asian Studies and the Balinese people. It is a collaborative effort and part of an ongoing series of exciting artistic showcases that bring NUS students out of the classroom and into the dynamic cultural worlds of Southeast Asia.

Tickets @ $10 each are available for purchase from the Department of Southeast Asian Studies general office.


Subjectivities: A Journal of Perspectives on Southeast Asia

The inaugural issue of Subjectivities: A Journal of Perspectives on Southeast Asia has launched!

This biannual publication by students and alumni of the Department of Southeast Asian Studies aims to provide an independent platform for students to showcase academic and creative works relating to various issues in Southeast Asia.

The first issue ‘Undersides‘ features articles by our alumni, Cindy Lin and Liani Manta-Khaira, current student Felicia Chia who did an interview with Prof Miksic, other NUS students, as well as Thow Xin Wei from our Singa Nglaras Gamelan ensemble.

The Editorial Team is also looking for Editors and Designer/Web Manager to join them. If you have what it takes, email them at editor.subjectivities@gmail.com today!

– Interested in a wide range of topics relating to Southeast Asia.
– Good time management and able to effectively facilitate communication between contributors, copywriters and other stakeholders effectively.
– Good command of written English.
– Knowledge of a Southeast Asian language is helpful.
– Proficient in MS Word. Familiarity with InDesign is a plus.
*In addition, please send a short writing sample (may be a recent paper written for a module)

Designer/Web Manager
– Good time management and able to manage different platforms (website, social media)
– Proficient in Adobe Photoshop and website editing.
* Interested students can also send a portfolio of their recent works (website design, publicity materials, graphic design, artworks)