Excellent contributions to University of Singapore by Yusof Ishak

Friday, 19 September 2014

Berita Harian

This was a report on the contribution by Singapore’s first president Encik Yusof bin Ishak towards the building of the University of Singapore. He was the Chancellor of the University of Singapore from 1965 to 1970. His efforts were recognised through the establishment of the Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences at NUS, which will enhance research in multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism. NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan noted that Encik Yusof challenged the university community to inspire the consciousness and civic spirit, and reminded us to be a centre of learning as well as a focus of nation-building.

Click here to read the article in Malay.

NUSS 60th Anniversary Lecture, Distinguished Speaker PM Lee Hsien Loong

Details of the event is as follows:


3 October 2014, Friday


7.30pm (Registration begins at 6pm)


University Cultural Centre

Dress Code

Shirt & Tie/ National Dress




(Click here to register.)

For queries please contact Miss Gayathri Ayathorai DID 6586 3739 or Miss Valerie Toh DID 65863744, or email nuss_lecture@nuss.org.sg. As seats are available on first-come-first-served basis, please do RSVP early in order not to miss this opportunity.

Please note that students will have to indicate “NUS” in the box labelled “Membership No.”

Thank you and we look forward to your participation.

History’s many shades of grey

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Professor Tan Tai Yong, NUS Vice Provost (Student Life) and Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS. Prof Tan, who is also a Nominated Member of Parliament, noted that historians enhance our understanding of historical change through new interpretations and that efforts at revising history should be welcomed. Prof Tan pointed out that as we develop a more nuanced and textured approach to our historical narratives, these efforts must be underpinned by rigorous research and intellectual honesty.

Click here to read the article.

HR Perspectives Recruitment Deciphered!

Dear FASS Students,

Take a glimpse into the “behind-the-scenes” process of job applications and understand from HR’s perspectives on what makes or breaks an application.

You are invited to join us for the inaugural recruitment discussion forum to meet with 3 of your FASS Seniors who have gone on to take on HR roles in Changi Airport Group (CAG), Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation!

hr perspective

See you there!

<Click here> for the Speaker’s Profile

<Click here> to sign up for the event, registration deadline: 15 Sep, Mon

Celebrating Words

It was a gathering of an all-star cast of Singapore poets and writers under one roof. From Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo to author and poet Felix Cheong, the event was a celebration of our literary scene and proved that with their vibrancy and creativity, Singapore’s literary minds have much to share with us all. The event, Celebrating Words: A Symposium of Poetry Readings by ELL Alumni and Friends, was held on August 23 in NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Thirteen prominent writers were invited to share their experiences and answer questions from eager students and members of the public. The fourteen prominent poets, all alumni and friends closely associated with the Department of English Language and Literature (ELL), were Felix Cheong, Elangovan, Gwee Li Sui, Heng Siok Tian, Aaron Lee, Lee Tzu Pheng, Oliver Seet, Kirpal Singh, Paul Tan, Edwin Thumboo, Eric Valles, Cyril Wong, Wong Phui Nam, and Yong Shu Hoong. Celebrating Words was co-sponsored by the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation.

In his opening address, Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo reminisced about the “old days” decades ago with a whole gang of young poets who loved and honed their craft through the years. Some, as he noted, are not known for their poetry, but for other aspects of their public life, yet he remembers their creative output fondly. In the panel sessions, the thought on not being known for their poetry continues to be echoed. Lee Tzu Pheng spoke of no one in her parish knowing that she wrote poetry, almost for a decade. Paul Tan added that he wears the hat of a poet “awkwardly” especially as our day jobs may be most “unpoetic”.

In the next panel session, a student raised the very pertinent question about what the hardest part of writing poetry is. To Kirpal Singh, the greatest challenge to poetry was being honest, echoing Hemingway’s insistence on writing words that are honest and true. For Cyril Wong, it was to continue writing despite social rejection of his poetry and even being turned away from events and sessions. On the other hand, Elangovan found poetry writing not a challenge at all, because to him it was “zen” – something to bring peace and calm in routinely crafting a work to represent the communities he was looking at. Yong Shu Hoong agreed that if a poem took a great amount of effort, it might not be meant to be. These insights were very illuminating in showing the students in the audience what it takes to be a poet and how these local literary greats honed and perfected their craft.

The final panel launched into a spirited discussion on gender. A member of the audience enthusiastically brought up the male gaze, used in poetry and prose when the female is objectified as the target of the male character. In response, Felix Cheong discussed one of his works where he took on the point of view of a woman and turned the male gaze on himself in that sense. The discussion also delved fruitfully into the purpose of poetry, when Oliver Seet very aptly pointed out that the purpose of poetry is to project oneself into different points of view and cultures and take on varied voices.

In sum, the stellar cast of local literary greats provided the audience with a session of poetry and enlightening discussion. Ultimately, they prove more than ever, that the local literary culture is not just existent, but flourishing. As Prof Thumboo noted, poetry is about passion. With passion in the human psyche, there will be words to translate that passion into poetry.

blog 2The event was attended by almost 200 students from schools, universities and members of the public.

blog 3Panellists for the 1st of 3 sessions: (from left) Edwin Thumboo, Gwee Li Sui, Lee Tzu Pheng and Paul Tan.

blog 4Paul Tan: “It was very meaningful to come back to NUS and see all the familiar and friendly faces.”

blog 5Celebrating Words (from left): Organising Committee member Vincent Ooi, Cyril Wong, Kirpal Singh, Yong Shu Hoong, Elangovan, Wong Phui Nam, Kirsten Law from the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, Edwin Thumboo, Oliver Seet, Lee Tzu Pheng, Heng Siok Tian, Eric Valles, Paul Tan and Aaron Lee. Absent from photo were Felix Cheong and Gwee Li Sui.

blog 6Panellists for the 2nd session (from left):  Aaron Lee, Yong Shu Hoong, Elangovan, Cyril Wong and Kirpal Singh.

blog 7Panellists for the 3rd session (from left): Heng Siok Tian, Felix Cheong, Oliver Seet, Eric Valles and Wong Phui Nam.

blog 8Felix Cheong: “It was great to be back in NUS to do a reading.”

Puzzling behaviour of Singaporeans at 55

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Straits Times

 This was an article contribution by Associate Professor Sumit Agarwal, who has appointments with the Departments of Economics, Finance and Real Estate at NUS, Assistant Professor Jessica Pan of the Department of Economics at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Assistant Professor Wenlan Qian from the NUS Business School, in which the authors discussed what Singaporeans do with their CPF savings withdrawn at age 55.  They noted that findings from their recent research paper suggest that consumer financial literacy and sophistication are important factors driving withdrawal decisions.

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 full article

The evolution of modern Singapore’s civil society

Thursday, 11 September 2014


This was an article contribution by Mr Pravin Prakash, an NUS student who is pursuing his master’s degree at the Department of Political Science at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on the growth in Singapore’s civil society. He opined that it is essential that this public sphere evolve with little government interference, in order for it to function as an independent socio-political space, with original and autonomous ideas. He also noted that for this to exist, civil society must develop self-governing mechanisms that embrace diversity of ideas, while rejecting and censoring extremist ideas and groups that promote hate speech and discrimination.

Click here to read full article


When growth outpaces development

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Straits Times

This was an article contribution by Professor Jonathan Rigg from the Department of Geography at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on a gap opening up between economic growth and social well-being in Southeast Asia. Prof Rigg opined that the reason for this widening gap is that economic growth and rising incomes are treated as development ends when they are the means to achieve development, while other components of development – such as education or environmental regulation – are regarded either as means or as barriers to development, when they should also be viewed as ends.

Click here to read full article.