Throwing the Net around human trafficking

Jay Vlazlovski, is studying a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Security at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, reports on the scourge of human trafficking in Cambodia and how it is being combated using online resources and social media. Earlier this year he participated in FASSTRACK Asia at the NUS where he undertook extensive research on human trafficking in Cambodia.

Click here to read the article.

Click here to read more about the the Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia module (PS3880E)

Gao Shuang, the First NUS student to graduate from the Joint PhD programme with King’s College London


Gao Shuang undertook a PhD in Language, Discourse & Communication, jointly awarded with the National University of Singapore (NUS).  She was one of the two PhD students who have now become the first to graduate from the Joint PhD programme.

‘I started my PhD at NUS in August 2009. After almost two years of course work, a qualifying exam (upgrade) at the Department of English Language & Literature at NUS followed by field work in China, I began my placement at the Centre for Language, Discourse & Communication at King’s in September 2012 to write up my thesis.

 ‘Working and living in different environments can be daunting in the first place, but in the end it’s all worth it. Throughout my study, I received intellectual and moral support from my supervisors at both universities, Associate Professor Joseph Sung-Yul Park at NUS, and Professor Ben Rampton at King’s. Doing a joint PhD also means being immersed in different academic traditions, joining a wider academic community, and in the process learning to challenge orthodoxies and push knowledge boundaries in creative ways.

 ‘As I am now graduating, I am most grateful to my two supervisors for their extraordinary mentorship. At the same time, I look forward to future opportunities to return as an alumna of both!

 FASS is truly proud of Gao Shuang and we offer her the warmest of our congratulations as our first graduate of the Joint Degree Programme.

King’s College London article –

What does Jackson Hole mean for Asia’s businesses?

Monday, 25 August 2014

BBC News

This was an interview with Professor Sumit Agarwal, a former economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who has appointments with the Departments of Economics, Finance and Real Estate at NUS. Prof Agarwal shared his views about what the discussions about unemployment and inflation at the recent central banker meeting at Jackson Hole, which was hosted by the US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, mean for businesses in Asia.

Click here to read the full article.

FASSforward! The Ultimate Research Challenge

In celebration of the Faculty’s 85th Anniversary, the Graduate Studies Division organised “FASSforward! The Ultimate Research Challenge” for graduate students in FASS on 6 & 7 August.  With team members and the research theme of “Forgotten Peoples, Places and Issues in Singapore” revealed only on the morning of the competition, students were challenged to: identify a group, a site or a topic that has been neglected in Singapore; demonstrate why it is important to give the topic more focus in academic research; and propose an inter-disciplinary project, including specific points/lines of enquiry, to undertake research on the group/site/issue identified.

Working in multi-disciplinary teams of 4-5 members, the eleven teams came up with some excellent topics, interesting perspectives and excellent presentations in just 28 hours.  Topics ranged from “overlooked” and marginalised minority groups in Singapore to spaces that have been buried in our social memories.  The winning team, comprising students from Comparative Asian Studies, Communications and New Media, Geography and Malay Studies, won for their presentation on Merdeka Bridge, Singapore’s “Lost Bridge”, while the runners-up made their respective cases for “Remembering the Orang Laut” and not “burying history” by forgetting Singapore’s burial spaces.

Representation from all the departments and programmes across FASS took part in the challenge.  Many of the students – a good mix of new and current, coursework and research, and Masters and PhD students – shared that they had benefitted greatly from participating in the competition through making new friends, learning different approaches in conducting research, and finding out many (new) things about Singapore.  Professors David Taylor and Vineeta Sinha, two of the judges of “FASSforward!”, echoed the thoughts of the students when they voiced the hope that the competition will “become a part of the annual calendar of events in the Faculty”.  The Graduate Studies Division would like to thank all colleagues and students who contributed to making the event a success.

Click here to view a short video clip of “FASSforward! The Ultimate Research Challenge”

2The competitors, with Deanery members and FASSforward Resource Persons, at the start of the competition.

3                        Team H, the eventual winners, in discussion.


OdySEA 2014: Political Science Class Revisits Extraordinary Cambodia

In June, 24 students from the Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia module (PS3880E), which is taught as part of the NUS OdySEA/FASSTrack Asia programme, embarked on a journey of self-discovery to various parts of Cambodia.

The class, which spanned five weeks, included a ten-day field trip component in which students travelled to Siem Reap, Poipet, Battambang, and Phnom Penh, to examine human trafficking as well as learn about different historical and cultural aspects of Cambodian life.

Dr Kevin McGahan, assisted by Mindy Tadai and Seow Siew Hwee, led the class.  The students received an extraordinary opportunity to study an incredibly timely and important social issue in both Singapore and Cambodia.

During class sessions at NUS, students were able to interact with local and regional activists who addressed various dimensions of human trafficking.  Ms Shermaine Singh, a Singaporean who recently graduated from Rochester University in New York, for example, gave a passionate overview of her work with International Justice Mission in Chennai, India.  In addition, Ms Ruici Tio, formerly of MTV Exit in Bangkok, and Mr Jeff Wu, a regional manager at Facebook, discussed the role of the media and technology in tackling seemingly intractable problems such as human trafficking and exploitation.

Students also held interactive meetings, throughout Cambodia, with numerous community leaders, including a village chief, and NGOs, such as Friends International, Damnok Toek, and Sala Bai, and even government officials at the US Embassy.

Moreover, students were treated to local food, some of which was prepared by former street children now being trained in culinary skills.  The menu included Cambodian delights such as fried red ants and lime-flavored tarantulas.

Unlike previous years, this recent cohort of students involved eight international students from partner universities, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of British Columbia, and Australian National University.  Both local and foreign students came from various disciplines, ranging from engineering and life sciences to global studies and political science.  Students not only travelled to Cambodia to experience a different culture and history, but they also shared their own diverse experiences to learn more about each other.

During the trip, students also got an eye-opening experience touring the majestic Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap, taking the bamboo train ride in Battambang, and visiting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Court as well as the Killing Fields outside Phnom Penh.

grpStudents from the Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia module posing in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Call for Paper for the 7th Next Generation Global Workshop @ Kyoto University

Call for Paper for the 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop at Kyoto University

The 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop

Theme: Care and Gender

Date: December 6-8, 2014

Venue: Faculty of Letters Main Building, Kyoto University

I. The Purposes of the 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop

The Next-Generation Global Workshop (NGGW) has been held once a year since 2008 to provide early career scholars with an opportunity to deliver presentations to an international audience and to exchange opinions with their peers from various parts of the world. It was initiated by the Kyoto University Global COE on “Reconstruction of the Intimate and Public Spheres in 21st  Century Asia” together with its international partners and succeeded by Kyoto University Asian Studies Unit (KUASU). KUASU and its international partners established Kyoto  International  Consortium  for  Asian  Studies  (KICAS)  in  January,  2014.  The  7th Next-Generation Global Workshop will be held by KUASU in collaboration with the KICAS members on December 6-8, 2014.

The purpose of the 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop is twofold. One is to provide early career scholars with opportunities to learn how to participate and communicate in an international academic setting, as previous years. They receive comments from peers and senior scholars from partner universities. The other purpose is to construct a common academic basis for international collaboration with a special focus on the Asian region. This has been implied in previous years, but from this year, we will pursue this goal more intentionally. We provide chances for the participants to share the latest theories and stimulating arguments on the theme of the year in the lectures by distinguished scholars and specialists very active in the field. The participants are expected to contribute to the generation of new ideas and frameworks we can share for future collaborations in their presentations and in discussions.

II. Theme

The theme of this year’s workshop is “Care and Gender.”

Care is the key for understanding the logics behind the transformation of the intimate and public spheres currently taking place everywhere in the world. Care has been regarded as a part of domestic work, predominantly done by women in the family as a “shadow work” that is invisible in the public sphere. However, as feminist scholars have revealed, care and domestic work became feminized and invisible only in the process of modernization that gave rise to the family with the “male breadwinner/ female housewife” type of gender division.

 It is natural that care and domestic work are becoming visible again in the first decades of the 21st century when the boundary between the intimate and the public is blurred again in the process of a fundamental social change prompted by global population ageing, increasing transnational mobility and shifting industrial centers. State intervention, either through defamilialization or familialization policies, is considered to be inevitable, but its permanent insufficiency leads to commodification of care including the introduction of migrant workers and to the promotion of community care.

Seen from the Asian perspective, supply of migrant care workers cannot last forever. Asian societies are ageing too, with unprecedented rapidity. Challenges faced in different places in the world are still quite different but, in the near future, the human race will be facing the same challenge to create a sustainable global society without exploiting and depending on “outside.” Internalization of reproductive cost is inevitable challenge.

Gender is the remaining question. It is true that one third of family care takers are male in Japan, the most aged society in the world. However, workers in the care sector promoted by state intervention are predominantly women as well as the majority of migrant care workers. People might say that defamilialization of care would not change highly gendered commitment to care. Is it possible to eliminate the gendered division of labor? Otherwise, is there a way to establish a fair division of labor by gender?

Care and gender are the keys for imagining and designing a new world that assures fairness and sustainability in the era of longevity. For this reason, the 7th Next Generation Global Workshop takes up the issue of care and gender as the keys for understanding current transformation of the world and designing the future.

The next-generation participants are expected to present their innovative thoughts and research results on such topics but not limited to;

State intervention and care
Role of the state, family, community and market in provision of care
Gender (im)balance of care
Training and skills development of care work
Care work and Poverty
Work life balance and family care
Healthcare and migration Migration of elderly
Rights to care and rights to provide care
Divergence and convergence of welfare policy
Care work and abuses
Family law and care

 The participants of the workshop can learn about the most advanced theories and stimulating arguments from the specialists in this field who deliver lectures.The participants are to join a field trip to nursing homes and nursery schools in Kyoto or surrounding areas to learn about elderly care and childcare in Japan, the most aged society in the contemporary world.

III. Application

Schedule for the workshop (Japan Standard Time)
Application deadline: September 27, 2014
The result of review: beginning of October.
Deadline for the submission of the full paper (4,000-6,000 words) : November 20th 2014. Workshop: December 6-8, 2014

The applicant should provide the following information in the pdf attached email:

a) Name (please capitalize your family name)
b) Title
c) Position (Master’s course student, Ph.D. course student)
d) Affiliation
e) Postal Address, Telephone Number, and Email Address
f) The name of a referee who is a faculty member of one of the KUASU overseas partner universities
g) Travel award application. Conditions apply. See below. ( Yes,       No,      Not Applicable )
h) A 350-word maximum abstract in English
The application should be sent as a PDF file to kuasu.nextgeneration★★

Eligibility for application

Master’s course students and Ph.D. course students of KUASU overseas partner universities. ( The Organizing Committee will screen the applications by candidates’ qualifications as well as the content of their abstracts.

Fee for Registration:

No registration fee required. Travel grant available upon conditions below.

Travel award application:

Travel award is applicable only for regular students at master’s and Ph.D. course from the following universities due to the rules of the fund. The organizing committee will select around
12 students for travel award based on quality of abstract and relevance to the theme.

National University of Singapore
Chulalongkorn University
University of the Philippines
Vietnam Academy of Social Science
University of Putra Malaysia
University of Indonesia
University of Hasanuddin
National Taiwan University
National Chung Cheng University
Seoul National University
Beijing University
Beijing Normal University
Beijing Foreign Studies University
Fudan University
Nanjing University
University of Delhi
Tribhuvan University
Qatar University
University of Hawaii
Heidelberg University

Travel award covers airfare, domestic transportation from Kansai Airport to hotel, and hotel accommodation for four nights accordingly to the rules and regulations of the University. Meals are not covered. Flights and hotels are arranged by the KUASU office.

 IV. For Professors

To support active discussion in the Next-Generation workshop, we would like to ask KUASU partner professors to participate in the workshop as advisors who provide comments on the papers presented in a session. KUASU will cover the cost of hotel accommodation for four nights in Kyoto and you are welcome to join the fieldwork tour to nursing homes and nursery schools in the City. We are sorry that we cannot cover your airfare due to budgetary constraints. Please kindly inform us of your attendance plans, including your name, affiliation, and position, not later than September 30. We would appreciate your cooperation in the program.

V. Credit and Certificate

The Next-Generation Global Workshop is recognized as a course with 2 credits at Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University. The participants from Kyoto University can receive 2 credits.  The  participants  from  other  universities  will  receive  a  certificate.  The  partner universities are encouraged to recognize this certificate and give credits to the participants.


Organizing Committee of the 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop, Kyoto University Asian Studies Unit (KUASU)
Emiko Ochiai, Wako Asato, Masahro Yamada, Shoko Kurata, Megumi Komazaki


Contact: Organizing Committee of the 7th Next-Generation Global Workshop, Kyoto University
Asian Studies Unit.
Email: kuasu.nextgeneration★★→@)

Call for Paper_The 7th Nex-gen Global Workshop

Ideal of the S-E Asian family unlikely to endure

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Professor Jonathan Rigg from the Department of Geography at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Prof Rigg cited reasons why the “ideal” South-east Asian family, which has been seen as the cornerstone in the region’s economic success, is unlikely to endure. Noting that modernisation and social transformations have placed families under strain, he opined that the challenge for wider society is how families will adjust their cultures of caring to account for the new household forms that are emerging.

Click here to read the full article.


FASS establishes Professorship in Social Sciences in honour of Singapore’s First President Encik Yusof bin Ishak

The University will establish an endowed Professorship in Social Sciences in honour of Singapore’s first President, Encik Yusof Bin Ishak. The Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences pays tribute to Encik Yusof’s distinguished contributions to Singapore, especially his profound interest in promoting harmonious relations in a multiethnic and multicultural nation.

The endowed professorship will be established at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). It will enable FASS to attract and appoint leading social science academics who have demonstrated excellence and established international recognition in teaching and research in the areas of multiethnicity and multiculturalism.

Read the full article here.




Non-profit group BLESS launched by NUS students to help direct aid to the needy

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Straits Times Online

It was reported that a group of 45 undergraduates and recent graduates from NUS have started a non-profit organisation called Bringing Love to Every Single Soul (BLESS), to help coordinate, mobilise and direct aid to the needy. Founded by Miss Francesca Wah, who recently graduated from the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, BLESS has five programmes that serve underprivileged children and the elderly.