Rahul Mukherjee: Balanced growth need of hour

Friday, 26 December 2014

Live Mint

This was an interview with Associate Professor Rahul Mukherji from the South Asian Studies Programme at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Assoc Prof Mukherji, who is also Head of Research at the Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS, noted that the Narendra Modi government has significantly transformed the investment climate in India within a short span of time, and cited respecting secularism and poll reforms as pressing governance issues facing India.

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Is Uber taking us for a ride? (Pages 10 and 15)

Monday, 22 December 2014


In today’s edition of TODAY, there was an article contribution by Professor Sumit Agarwal, Dean’s Chair and Low Tuck Kwong Professor in the NUS Departments of Economics, Finance and Real Estate, on regulating ride-sharing apps such as Uber and the lessons offered by the issues surrounding the company for businesses beyond the taxi industry.

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Set maximum sum for CPF members (Opinion, Page A32)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Straits Times

This was an article contribution by Associate Professor Chia Ngee Choon from the Department of Economics at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Prof Chia noted that the Minimum Sum (MS) scheme and Central Provident Fund (CPF) Life help improve retirement adequacy and remove longevity risk, but they are not comprehensive enough. He opined that a single cohort-specific decreed sum will not be optimum to meet the retirement aspirations of different members. A better alternative is to allow people to save more in their retirement account, up to a maximum sum which can be set at 40 per cent higher than the Minimum Sum, and all CPF members must still set aside savings to meet the MS for a basic retirement.


Crisis of legitimacy for Japanese democracy (Page 22)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lianhe Zaobao

This was an article contribution by Mr Gao Yang, a PhD candidate from the Department of Japanese Studies at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he observed that the voting rate in the recent Japanese elections registered a new low of 52.66 per cent. While it seemed that the Liberal Democratic Party won a convincing victory, the low political participation rate suggested a crisis of legitimacy for Japanese democracy.

Extreme weather events: Is climate change to blame? (Opinion, Page A31)

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of the Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Assistant Professor Winston Chow from the Department of Geography at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on the increasing frequency of extreme or weird weather events in Singapore and elsewhere, and whether they were due to chance or climate change. He opined that although it is difficult to pin down an extreme weather event as being caused by climate change, recent studies have revealed that an increasing number of global extreme weather events did have a discernible climate change signal.

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Public talk and book launch: “Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities: Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia”

Public Lecture by Professor Lily Kong on the occasion of the launch of her new book, Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities: Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia

Organizers: The Singapore Research Nexus at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS and the Centre for Liveable Cities

Date: Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

Time: 4:30-6pm, registration from 4-4:30pm

Venue: The Pod, L16, National Library, 100 Victoria Street #14-01, Singapore 188064

Speaker: Prof Lily Kong, Geography Dept, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS

Chair: Prof Chua Beng Huat, Sociology Dept, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS

Welcome Remarks by: Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Centre for Liveable Cities

Presentation abstract: While global cities have mostly been characterized as sites of intensive and extensive economic activity, the quest for global city status also increasingly rests on the creative production and consumption of culture and the arts. Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities examines the cultural ambitions and projects in five major cities in Asia: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Singapore.  The book provides a thorough comparison of their urban imaging strategies and attempts to harness arts and culture, as well as more organically evolved arts activities and spaces, and analyses the relative successes and failures. Offering rich ethnographic detail drawn from extensive fieldwork, the authors challenge city strategies and existing urban theories about cultural and creative clusters and reveal the many complexities in the art of city-making. The talk will draw on select case studies examined in the book.

RSVP to: nexus@nus.edu.sg with your full name, title, email address, and affiliation.


4-4:30pm: Registration and refreshments

4:30-4:35: Welcome Remarks by Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities

4:35-5:30: Presentation by Prof Lily Kong, chaired by Prof Chua Beng Huat

5:30-6: Q and A


Discussion of The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future

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A Crisis of Global Modernity

—A discussion of Prasenjit Duara’s “The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future”—


ARI and FASS are pleased to present a launch event for the latest book by Professor Prasenjit Duara, The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future.

The book, published by Cambridge University Press, will be available for purchase at the event at a special discounted price. It can also be ordered here.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of the book to pick up at the event, please contact fasbox42@nus.edu.sg.

About the book

In this major new study, Prasenjit Duara expands his influential theoretical framework to present circulatory, transnational histories as an alternative to nationalist history. Duara argues that the present day is defined by the intersection of three global changes: the rise of non-western powers, the crisis of environmental sustainability and the loss of authoritative sources of what he terms transcendence – the ideals, principles and ethics once found in religions or political ideologies. The physical salvation of the world is becoming – and must become – the transcendent goal of our times, but this goal must transcend national sovereignty if it is to succeed. Duara suggests that a viable foundation for sustainability might be found in the traditions of Asia, which offer different ways of understanding the relationship between the personal, ecological and universal. These traditions must be understood through the ways they have circulated and converged with contemporary developments. More information on The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future is available here.

Date and time: Friday, January 30th, from 3-5:30pm

Venue: Seminar Room AB on level 1 of AS7 (FASS, NUS Kent Ridge Campus).


3-3:30pm: Registration

3:30-3:55pm: Presentation by Prasenjit Duara, chaired by Kishore Mahbubani

3:45-4:45pm: Panel discussion by Daniel Goh, John Kelly, Kenneth Dean, and Ted Hopf, moderated by Kishore Mahbubani

4:45pm: Q and A session

5:15pm: Tea reception

About the Speakers

Prasenjit Duara is the Raffles Professor of Humanities at the FASS Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he is also the Director of the Asia Research Institute. He is the author of several books on Chinese and East Asian history, including Culture, Power and the State: Rural North China, 1900-1942 (Stanford, 1988), which won the Fairbank Prize of the AHA and the Levenson Prize of the AAS. His other books are Sovereignty and AuthenticityManchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), Rescuing History from the Nation (U Chicago, 1995), The Global and the Regional in China’s Nation-Formation, (Routledge, 2009) and an edited volume on Decolonization (Routledge, 2004). In addition to Chinese history, he works more broadly on Asia in the twentieth century, and on historical thought and historiography. Professor Duara spent a major part of his career teaching at the Department of History in the University of Chicago, where he was also chairman of the department from 2004-2007. His Ph.D was obtained in 1983 from Harvard University, where his doctoral thesis was Power in Rural Society: North China Villages, 1900-1940.

Kishore Mahbubani is Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Concurrently, Prof Mahbubani continues to serve in Boards and Councils of several institutions in Singapore, Europe and North America, including the Yale President’s Council on International Activities, Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, University of Bocconi International Advisory Committee and Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee. He previously served for 33 years in Singapore’s diplomatic service and is recognised as an expert on Asian and world affairs. Prof Mahbubani was also listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005, and included in the March 2009 Financial Times list of Top 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. Professor Mahbubani was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, he was described as “the muse of the Asian century”. He was also selected by Prospect magazine as one of the top 50 world thinkers in 2014.

Daniel Goh is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2005, and his core specialisation is in comparative-historical sociology. His research interests include ethnography and state formation, race and multiculturalism, religion and society, and the cultural politics of global city making. He is currently writing a book on History, Heritage and Reurbanization in Hong Kong, Penang, and Singapore. His published papers can be accessed at www.danielpsgoh.com.

John D Kelly is a Visiting Professor in Social Science at Yale-NUS College. He holds a concurrent appointment as Professor in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Professor Kelly’s research focuses on capitalism, colonialism, diaspora, decolonization, and Pax Americana. His books include A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji, which was published in 1991, and Represented Communities: Fiji and world decolonization, co-authored with Martha Kaplan in 2001. Professor Kelly also co-edited the book Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency, which was published in 2010. Professor Kelly has also written encyclopedia entries on Postcoloniality, Cultural Relativism and Neo-imperialism. Most of his work concerns the political anthropology of the decolonization era. More recently; Professor Kelly has chaired discussions at the 2013 meetings of the American Anthropological Association. Professor Kelly was formerly the director of the University of Chicago’s Human Rights Program. He is also the co-editor of Corporate Social Responsibility: Human Rights in the New Global Economy, a forthcoming book that attempts to bring lawyers and anthropologists into dialogue. While he is in Singapore, Professor Kelly is writing a book on the political struggles in highland Asia. The book’s working title is Highland Asiaand the Paradoxes of Self-Determination in Practice. It will cover topics ranging from World War II, decolonization, and the Bandung Conference to the era of permanent counterinsurgency occupations.

Kenneth Dean is the head of the Chinese Studies Department at FASS. He was previously James McGill Professor and Drs. Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair of Chinese Cultural Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies of McGill University. He recently completed Bored in Heaven, an 80 minute documentary film on ritual celebrations around Chinese New Year’s in Putian, Fujian, China. He is the author of several books on Daoism and Chinese popular religion, including Ritual Alliances of the Putian Plains: Vol. 1: Historical Introduction to the Return of the Gods, Vol. 2: A survey of village temples and ritual activities, Leiden: Brill, 2010 (with Zheng Zhenman);  Lord of the Three in One: The spread of a cult in Southeast China, Princeton: 1998  Taoist Ritual and Popular Cults of Southeast China, Princeton 1993; as well as  First and Last Emperors: The Absolute State and the Body of the Despot (with Brian Massumi), Autonomedia, New York. 1992. He gathered and edited (with Zheng Zhenman) Epigraphical Materials on the History of Religion in Fujian: Xinghua Region (1 vol. 1995); Quanzhou Region (3 vols, 2004).

Ted Hopf is Professor at the FASS Department of Political Science. Professor Hopf has been appointed by NUS as a Provost’s Chair at FASS in recognition of his outstanding and internationally acknowledged scholarly accomplishments. His main fields of interest are international relations theory, qualitative research methods, and identity, with special reference to the Soviet Union and the former Soviet space. He is the author or editor of five books, including Social Construction of International Politics: Identities and Foreign Policies, Moscow, 1955 and 1999 (Cornell University Press, 2002), which won the 2003 Marshall D. Shulman Award, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies for the best book published that year on the international politics of the former Soviet Union and Central Europe, Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958, was published in April 2012 by Oxford University Press. Professor Hopf received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1983 and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1989. He was a Fulbright Professor in the autumn of 2001 at the European University at St. Petersburg and a former vice-chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. His research has been supported by the Mershon Center, the Ford Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the Olin and Davis Centers at Harvard University. He is a member of the international advisory board of the Annals of the University of Bucharest: Political Science Series.

Registration is required. Please register by emailing fasbox42@nus.edu.sg with your full name and email. We hope to see you there!

The annotated Malay Archipelago (Read, Page 24)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Sunday Times

This was a listing on a book published by NUS Press, titled The Annotated Malay Archipelago, which was authored by Alfred Russel Wallace and edited by Dr John van Wyhe from the Department of Biological Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Science and the Department of History at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dr John van Wyhe has included more than 800 footnotes to clue the modern reader into Wallace’s classic travel account of the Malay Archipelago in the 19th century

Buddhist values brought to life, artistically (Home, Page B14)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Straits Times

This was a feature on Associate Professor Irving Johnson from the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, who has taken upon himself to fill the walls of the Uttamayanmuni Temple in Chua Chu Kang with scenes from religious Buddhist texts. Assoc Prof Johnson, who started on the murals in 2012, estimated that it would take 30 years to transform the shrine’s 30 or so panels into a rich tapestry of paintings. It was mentioned that such a massive undertaking usually requires a team of 20 skilled Thai artists to complete over a decade.

Middle class in Singapore feeling more insecure (Home, Page B16)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Straits Times

This was a report on the “Middle Class in Singapore: Security or Anxiety?” workshop organised by the Social Lab at the Institute of Policy Studies and the Social Sciences and Policy Cluster at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on 28 November 2014. It was mentioned that academics at the workshop said that the sense of security typically associated with being middle-class has given way to anxiety among such Singaporeans, as technology and globalisation widen income gaps and take away jobs. The workshop covered issues such as how healthcare policies affect middle-income earners and their attitudes on income inequality.

Click here to read full article.