Dr Stephen Lim Joins the FASS Deanery

We would like to welcome our new Deanery member, Dr Stephen Lim, who joins us from the Department of Psychology and will look after the Office of Programmes in the Dean’s Office. The Office of Programmes looks after Freshman Seminars, European Studies, multidisciplinary minors and the writing modules. We ask Dr Lim some questions to find out more about him.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I received the PhD degree in experimental cognitive psychology from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2010, and visited the Perception Lab at the Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders in Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School before returning to join the NUS Department of Psychology as a Lecturer in July 2010. Since January 2012, I serve the Department as a Senior Lecturer and was concurrently, from July 2012 to June 2013, the Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies and Deputy Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Since July 2013, I serve the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as an Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies overseeing the Office of Programmes, and the University as a Fellow of the NUS Teaching Academy.

What is your area of research?

In terms of basic research, I am mainly interested in issues of visual and auditory cognition but have, through an ambition to understand the way humans perceive objects and hear music, developed a particular curiosity for human evolutionary psychology. These are some questions that motivate my research: Why do we sometimes see (and are influenced by) what we ought not to see? What exactly constitutes a visual object? Why is music so pleasurable, with tonal music often more so than atonal music? Why do some melodies (but not some) reside and recur in our minds? How can rubato ever occur when pulse (together with pitch) is cornerstone of all music? In terms of pedagogical research, I currently examine the efficacy of innovative pedagogical and assessment methods in hope to discover ways of promoting effective (e.g., lifelong) learning among NUS undergraduate students.

Why Psychology?

I have always been fascinated with human behaviours (and the reasons behind them); Psychology provides one direct way of studying and understanding them (both the behaviours and their underlying reasons).

What are your plans for the Office of Programmes?

I endeavour to work closely with our academic convenors in raising the profile of the various academic programmes and educational platforms that our Office offers – such as the Freshmen Seminar Series and Multidisciplinary Minor Programmes – in a number of ways. We are looking to fetching new study options for our students to enhance their learning experiences by, for instance, establishing new connections with various Schools, Faculties, and like-minded overseas partners. As an example, we envision that our European Studies students might actually receive opportunities to read modules about European architecture in our School of Design & Environment, western music at our Music Conservatory, or engage in direct conversations and exchange ideas with regional or international peers about such issues as paving a new silk road. At the personal level, I hope very much and shall strive to get to know and interact with as many of our students enrolled in our diverse programmes as I can, and together foster many friendships. We envisage a range of new, stimulating possibilities at our Office of Programmes in the days ahead.

We would also like to thank A/P Cecilia Lim for her efforts as Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies – Office of Programmes).

History: The Best Subject for Teaching Empathy

The Department of History recently organised a 2-day workshop for History majors who have an interest in teaching. “Developing your EQ skills – History Begins With You” is a new initiative aimed at helping potential teachers develop Social and Emotional skills which they can then impart to students through History lessons in schools. History is known to be the best subject for teaching EMPATHY, a core value of Social and Emotional Learning.

Held on 13 – 14 June 2013 at University Town, the workshop was also attended by a History PhD student and a few faculty/admin staff members (History and two other FASS Departments) who joined as observers-participants.

The programme was found to be beneficial and we have received feedback to extend it to all History students. It is certainly hoped that the initiative can be further developed for future participants!



Dear ARS4/SOC4 Students,

ENROLLMENT AND Preallocation for CS5351, THE BUSINESS OF SOFTWARE Competition and Trends in Digital Markets

Professor Juzar Motiwalla will select students for his module CS5351, The Business of Software – Competition and Trends in Digital Markets.  The enrollment for CS5351 is limited. The class is open to 4th year undergraduate students from all faculties.

More details can be found at


The lecturer is Professor Juzar Motiwalla, who was a Partner at a Venture Capital company. He has been on the Boards of several ventures in the US and Asia. Recently he has been involved with three Mergers and Acquisitions, including a US$400 million acquisition last year. Previously he was CEO of Kent Ridge Digital Labs. He has worked closely with top executives of Apple, HP, IBM and other leading companies as well as with venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and Asia.

CS5351 is offered in Semester 1 (2013/14), on Mondays 6.30 -9.30 pm in Executive Classroom COM2-04-02. The first class is on Monday, 12th August. The course can be only taken for credit (no sit-in) and is graded. Full attendance is expected.

If you wish to sign up for CS5351, please fill in and submit the Google Forms link shown below by 24th July 2013.


Google Forms Link:


In this form, please pay particular attention to your answer to the question of why you wish to take the course, and please identify your achievements.

If you have any attachments to supplement your response to the form, please email Prof Juzar Motiwalla directly at dcsjm@nus.edu.sg. Students with questions about the course may also contact him at that e-mail.


The students to be preallocated for the module will be selected by 31st July 2013.  The module can only be used to fulfil the Breadth and UE requirements.

Please ensure that you do not select more than 4 modules (included allocated ones) in CORS to facilitate the preallocation on 31 July 2013.  Thank you.

From Anthropology, to Geography to Philosophy.

“The Cultural Studies in Asia PhD Programme has deepened the scope of my work as an artist in Singapore. I particularly enjoyed taking a range of modules across the faculty, from anthropology, to geography to philosophy. A focus on aspects of culture and politics in Asia has enabled be to understand better the place of the arts and subaltern communities in Singapore.”

Felicia Low Ee Ping

The research interests undertaken by our candidates in the Cultural Studies in Asia programme range from politics of pop music, museum and nation building, documentary films of Thailand, political and intellectual biography of Indonesian revolutionary writer Toer, urban imaginaries of Dhaka, heritage spatial politics in Malaysia, community activism and dance in India, and aesthetic engagement with history among Southeast Asian visual artists. In these cases, supervisors for the dissertation research have been drawn from the departments of Southeast Asian Studies, Sociology, Geography, English Literature, Chinese Studies and School of Architecture. For more information, please refer to: http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/soc/


Cultural Studies in Asia

Robert Williamson shares about his research in Cultural Studies in Asia, a PhD programme established in 2009.This is the only such programme taught in English in Asia.

“My research concerns documentary filmmaking in Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on how young people use the medium to formulate political positions and identities in societies where the public discussion of recent political history remains regulated or restricted. This topic is positioned at an intersection of political science, law, education, social memory and film aesthetics. The Cultural Studies in Asia program is designed to help students negotiate these kinds of complex interdisciplinary questions and construct theoretical frameworks that cut across traditional academic disciplines. It allows real flexibility and freedom to explore issues from a number of perspectives, encouraging students to take classes and choose advisors from any number of the departments within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I feel I can approach my topic in a much more comprehensive way than a Film Studies program would normally allow, and the resulting work should be of interest to a wider range of readers.”

For this and more on Cultural Studies in Asia – please refer to http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/soc/

Distinguished financial economist Professor Darrell Duffie appointed as MAS Term Professor at NUS

Singapore, 28 June 2013 – The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have jointly appointed Professor Darrell Duffie, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, as MAS Term Professor in Economics and Finance from 30 June to 6 July 2013. Professor Duffie will be hosted by the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Department of Economics, the NUS Business School, and the Economic Policy Group at the MAS during the term of the Professorship.

2          Professor Duffie is a member of the Financial Advisory Roundtable of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a Fellow and member of the Council of the Econometric Society, a Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Duffie was the 2009 president of the American Finance Association. His recent work has focused on how the behaviour of financial intermediaries impacts the re-allocation of capital from one segment of asset markets to another, and the implications of imperfect trading opportunities for asset price behaviour, especially in over-the-counter markets. Professor Duffie’s recent books include How Big Banks Fail (Princeton University Press, 2010), Measuring Corporate Default Risk (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Dark Markets (Princeton University Press, 2012).

3          Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, MAS, welcomed Professor Duffie’s appointment as the sixth MAS Term Professor.  “Professor Duffie is the leading expert in his field, and his research has helped provide deep insights into financial market behaviour and guide policy formulation for the financial sector.  His visit is most timely, and MAS is honoured to have this opportunity to engage Professor Duffie on the current issues facing the financial industry.

4          Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said, “Professor Duffie is one of the most influential financial economists of this era and we are very pleased to welcome him to NUS. In addition to his strong academic background, Professor Duffie also has a wealth of practical knowledge from his time advising officials in the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve and other US federal agencies. We look forward to the dialogue with him in the coming days.”

5          Professor Duffie will deliver a public lecture at NUS on 4 July 2013 where he will discuss the appropriate regulatory boundaries of the banking system in the light of the financial crisis of 2007-2009, recently enacted laws, and proposed new regulations. He will also meet with NUS students, faculty members and government officials from various agencies during his time here.

6          The MAS Term Professorship was established in 2009 to help strengthen Singapore’s financial and economic research infrastructure and contribute to a vibrant research community and culture at local universities.

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

NUS has 16 faculties and schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 37,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.

NUS has three Research Centres of Excellence (RCE) and 23 university-level research institutes and centres. It is also a partner in Singapore’s 5th RCE. NUS shares a close affiliation with 16 national-level research institutes and centres. Research activities are strategic and robust, and NUS is well-known for its research strengths in engineering, life sciences and biomedicine, social sciences and natural sciences. It also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.

For more information, please visit www.nus.edu.sg.

About Monetary Authority of Singapore

As Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through appropriate monetary policy formulation and close macroeconomic surveillance of emerging trends and potential vulnerabilities. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, foreign reserves and liquidity in the banking sector. MAS is also an integrated supervisor overseeing all financial institutions in Singapore — banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors, and the stock exchange. Being an integrated supervisor allows the MAS to adopt a consistent and progressive regulatory and supervisory approach and framework, thereby ensuring a level playing field across all market segments, sectors and activities. With its mandate to foster a sound and progressive financial services sector in Singapore, MAS also helps shape Singapore’s financial industry by promoting a strong corporate governance framework and close adherence to international accounting standards. In addition, it spearheads retail investor education. MAS ensures that Singapore’s financial industry remains vibrant, dynamic and competitive by working closely with other government agencies and financial institutions to develop and promote Singapore as a regional and international financial centre.

For more information, please visit www.mas.gov.sg.


Arts Camp – June 2013

The annual FASS Social Camp, the Arts Camp, was held from 16th to 20th June this year.

Arts Camp had always enjoyed a strong reputation as one of the best social camps in the whole of NUS. It was thus unsurprising to see the slots snapped up by eager incoming freshmen when they went on sale during FASS Open House.

Wide-eyed freshmen were welcomed on Day 1 of camp by their various houses and orientation groups (OGs) which they were randomly sorted into. The houses, A, R, T and S, were supposed to engage in friendly rivalry while the OGs sought to allow the freshmen to make new friends in a smaller and more comfortable setting.


As the days went by, the participants became bonded to one another and the morale of the entire camp grew evidently much higher. Even the haze and the cancelled Sports Day at the Sports Recreational Center were unable to dampen the excitement of all participants as OGs simply moved indoors to play OG games instead.

Eventually, after the 5 action-packed days, R house emerged as the “best house”. However, everyone was a winner as the freshmen enjoyed themselves tremendously and the One-ARTS spirit, propagated by all houses throughout the camp, shown through in the end.

To our freshmen who participated in the Arts Camp, welcome to FASS.