First S R Nathan Professor speaks on innovations in asset building

Professor Michael Sherraden gave the inaugural S R Nathan Professor Lecture titled “Innovations in Asset Building” on 17 February 2014. At the lecture held at NUS, Prof Sherraden discussed asset building as a social policy strategy, which Singapore has carried out with notable success through the Central Provident Fund and other programmes.

The S R Nathan Professorship in Social Work was established by the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) in 2012 to honour former Singapore President, Mr S R Nathan, who is also a former NUS Chancellor and an eminent alumnus of the faculty. The aim of the Professorship is to support the long-term goal of promoting social work education and encouraging research among scholars in Singapore and Asia on issues related to social development, poverty and asset building.

Prof Michael Sherraden, the first scholar to be appointed under the Professorship, is the Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and Founding Director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University. He is the creator of Individual Development Accounts, a matched savings programme designed to help the working poor save money and accumulate assets. In 2010, he was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Both The Straits Times and NUS News have published articles on the lecture. For the NUS News article, click here.

Check out the shows at FASS Arts Festival 2014 with FASS students/staff/alumni involvement!

Play Out: A Double Bill
NUS Stage with Peter Sau, Gerald Chew & Judy Ngo
Sat 22 & Sun 23 Mar | 8pm
Additional matinee performance on Sunday | 3pm $23, $19


Parenting in Singapore is often an untold, unsung, unappreciated story. As children, we often take for granted that our parents should know everything and blame them for their incessant meddling and shortcomings. We forget, that prior to our existence, they were never parents. We forget, that prior to us, they were children too.

These two heart-warming plays by Candlelight by Joanna Hioe and Wai? by Judy Au remind us the complexities and heart-ship that goes into parenting. Who we are today, is shaped by where we came from in the past. As our lives play out, let us remember that it is therefore easier to leave, than be left behind; that it is easier to grow up than to grow old.

Candlelight and Wai? were written as part of the scriptwriting class under Huzir Sulaiman. Candlelight tells a story of longing, love and legacy as the protagonist Jonathan struggles to reconstruct the memory of his grandfather through stories- both his and his grandfather’s. In his projections of insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams, we see Jonathan come of age. Despite the changes that have forcibly shaped his life, Jonathan and later his daughter, Jadene, eventually understands what it means to tell stories of personal histories.

Wai? presents the narrative of an old couple Qing and Fong, who learnt about the London Bombing from the news and tries in vain to call their son who was working in the UK. This eventually reveals the tenuous relationship that Fong has with her son, and Qing that escalates to questions about parenthood and the sacrifices of what it means to be a mother/wife for the sake of a family.

Candlelight, which is about to be published by Epigram books, went on to win an Honorable Mention in the 2011 international scriptwriting competition organised by Trinity College, will be receive full staging for the first time – giving Joanna the opportunity to have her heartwarming and brilliantly-written story told. Similarly, Wai? is a uniquely multi-lingual play that touches on Mandarin, Cantonese and English that draws upon Judy’s own experiences of her parents and concerns.


Joanna Hioe is a young woman with a taste for adventure. As an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, she had the opportunity to explore new terrain for study and work in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Suzhou, China; Santiago, Chile; and Bangkok, Thailand. The more she broadens her horizons, the more she finds that the contours of her world are defined by life’s rituals, which serve hold to the universe in place – celebrations of life, death, and longings for what is beyond the perishable. Candlelight celebrates all of these, remembering the ritual of storytelling on which Singapore was built. Candlelight has come a long way, from humble origins in a playwriting class under the tutelage of Huzir Sulaiman, to winning a runner-up title in the Trinity College London International Playwriting competition 2011. Most recently, it was staged as part of NUS Stage’s Chamber readings in January 2012. Joanna also co-founded Teater Dian, (“Candle Theatre”) which staged a Javanese-styled theatre experiment of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in July 2011.

Judy Au discovered her love for acting in Secondary 1, and has been involved in several productions ever since. She most recently co-wrote and acted in City Night Songs, a joint production by Checkpoint Theatre and Centre for the Arts for NUS Arts Festival 2012. Wai? is her first play, written under the guidance of veteran playwright Huzir Sulaiman in 2013. Judy was also a vocalist in the NUS Jazz Band and a DJ in NUS Radio Pulze. She is currently a member of the improvisational comedy troupe, The Improv Company.


A masters candidate, researcher, events-organiser and budding theatre-maker. Claudia Wong (王颍琪) has combined theatre-related work into social science research that involves producing a youth-run community workshop “Theatre every Sunday” as part of her research. She had the honour of having her reesearch in theatre supported by the National Arts Council Research and Development Grant as well as the Graduate Research Support Scheme from National University of Singapore. This was later presented at the Institute of British Geographers International Conference 2013 under the Children and Young People Research Group. She was also the Assistant Director in Global Youth Congress International and facilitated and director various youth-led forums and conventions such as the Global Youth Forum 2012 and ASEAN Youth Convention 2012/2013 as part of her passion in the development of young people. This directorial experience will give her a unique opportunity to finally develop creatively and have a deeper understanding of the praxis of theatre beyond academia.

Goh Koon Hui (吴坤辉) is a fourth-year Theatre Studies and Literature major at NUS. In his spare time, he writes, dances, acts and coaches theatre. Having written poetry since his Junior College days, he has also gone into scriptwriting in his freshman year. Since starting out in 2010, Koon Hui has been involved in various productions with various other drama groups such as NUS Thespis (B. in 2012), NUS Stage (Mind Games in 2010, Play! in 2013, me, now in 2013) and NUS Theatre Studies Department (Apes and Moths in 2012 and Family in 2013). He recently debuted at Lit Up 2013 with an interdisciplinary work, Echo, organised by Word Forward Private Limited.


White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a very interesting play where actors have access to the script only 1 hour before the show and they can only be involved in the play once.

Ms Nora Samosir, Faculty at Theatre Studies will be performing on 22 Mar, 8pm performance. Paula Sim is an NUS alum from Theatre Studies and she will be performing on 23 Mar, 3pm.

white rabbit


CON$UMED is a theatrical collaboration where our NUS students had the chance to work with professionals such as Theatre Director Edith Podesta, Multimedia Designer Brian Gothong Tan and Lighting Designer Adrian Tan. This play promises to be candid, witty and provocative with a wide appeal to all. The NUS students come from a mixture of faculties including FASS.

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Makers of Singapore: The Made in SG Market


Makers of Singapore is organizing The Made in SG Market, this weekend on 22 & 23 February 2014 at National Design Centre (111 Middle Road). The event is free and open-to-public. 😉

NDC_Map_LocationThe Made in SG Market is not a flea market.

It’s about craft.

It’s a marketplace and exhibition event featuring makers who handcraft their products from start-to-finish in Singapore. All made in Singapore.

Expect an exciting line up of a bustling marketplace of our participating makers, such as ParasolBags (trendy tote bags made from off-cut fabric), Shiok wallets (ultra-functional-ultra-skinny wallets), demonstrations by makers like The Gentlemen’s Press who will be showcasing letterpressing techniques, TINKR, who will be bringing us through the world of 3D Printing and many more!

Not to mention, a cozy food corner, where you can sip freshly brewed & roasted coffee by LibertyCoffee and savour exotic locally inspired artisan jams (dragonfruit, lychee & lime, just to name a few) by GSH Conserves together with some snacks, and a short-film screening area where we will screen 7 short videos that we’ve made on makers & their craft.

Expect an event bustling with activities and we promise that you’ll leave The Made in SG Market with a new discovery or something you never knew before 🙂

See you there!

The Makers of Singapore Team

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The middle-income trap in three stories

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Bangkok Post

This was an article contribution by Professor Jonathan Rigg, from the Department of Geography at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, together with Buapun Promphaking from Khon Kaen University and Ann Le Mare from Durham University, which discussed why Thailand remains caught in a “middle-income trap” despite having attained middle-income status in the mid-1980s.

Click here to read the full article.

Heritage tour of war depot to mark Battle of Singapore

Friday, 7 February 2014

The Straits Times

It was reported that a new heritage tour of the Woodlands North Depot, a former fuel reserve depot used by the British Royal Air Force and the Japanese during World War II, called the “Marsiling Tunnels Tour” was launched by the National Heritage Board to commemorate the Battle of Singapore. For the first time, the NUS History Society will be conducting its popular Tales From The Opium Hill Tours at night. The two ­hour ­long tour will lead participants along the Kent Ridge trail and up Bukit Chandu to recreate the heroic deeds of one of Singapore’s war heroes, Second Lieutenant Adnan Saidi, who died in battle.

Click here to read the full article.

Ask: NUS Economists: Gauging the real value of increase in investments

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Professor Basant K. Kapur from the Department of Economics , who discussed the difference between real and nominal interest rates.

The article is part of a monthly series “Ask: NUS Economists” by the NUS Department of Economics. Each month, a panel will address a topical issue.

Click here to read the full article.