Better scores now needed for NUS arts faculty (Home, Page B1)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an interview with Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on the rising quality of students applying to the faculty. It was noted that this year, A-level holders needed at least an A and two Bs to get into the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences  at NUS, despite the faculty taking in the largest number of students at the University – 1,700 in all. Top A-level students, who score at least 3As, made up 15 per cent of applications, up from 7 per cent in the 2000s.

Prof Brenda Yeoh attributed the higher demand to the wide range of courses on offer and students seeing the value in a broad education. With 17 departments, 20 major subjects, a host of minor programmes and a centre for language studies offering both Asian and European languages, the faculty offers the most comprehensive education in the humanities and social sciences in this part of the world.

In a related report titled “NUS launched award for alumni in social work” (Home, Page B2), it was mentioned that the Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award was launched by the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to mark the faculty’s 85th anniversary. The Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award is named after Mrs Ann Wee, former head of the social work department, often described as the founding mother of social work in Singapore. Today, she remains at the department as an Associate Professorial Fellow. Prof Brenda Yeoh said the new award will be given to alumni who have a similar spirit of sustained commitment and contribution to the profession and to societal well-being.

Click here to read full article.

FASS Bookshare on Nov 25 2014: Photo Gallery

FASS Bookshare was held on 25 November with presentations by Rajesh Rai (South Asian Studies) on Indians in Singapore, 1819-1945: Diaspora in the Colonial Port City, Rahul Mukherji (South Asian Studies) on Political Economy of Reforms in India and Globalization and Deregulation: Ideas, Interests and Institutional Change in India, and Itty Abraham (Southeast Asian Studies) on How India Became Territorial: Foreign Policy, Diaspora, Geopolitics. Click here for a complete catalogue of books and stay tuned for the next edition of Bookshare.


FASS Anniversary Dinner: A Night of Asian Nostalgia

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FASS ended its year of celebration with a bang! The Faculty’s 85th Anniversary Dinner. centred on the theme of “Asian Nostalgia” was held at the NUS Society Kent Ridge Guild House on 22 November 2014. It was graced by Guest-of-Honour, NUS Board of Trustees Chairman, Mr Wong Ngit Liong, NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye, former deans of the Faculty and 300 alumni, faculty members, students and friends of the Faculty.

In her opening address, Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean of FASS said, “This evening, we are in the mood for nostalgia, and I would like to take you along a short journey from the beginning to relive how it is that we have grown to become one of the largest Faculty on campus in terms of undergraduate numbers, with 17 Departments, 20 Major Subjects and 7,000 students…The Faculty certainly has cause for celebration, and indeed, all segments of the Faculty have celebrated our 85 years in their own way.”

Prof Yeoh brought the audience back to the founding of the Faculty as part of Raffles College in 1929 to the present day and our celebratory events for the year. She then followed up her address with a quiz for all the guests to see if they had been paying attention during her address!

We also launched two awards that night; the FASS Student Leadership Award (FSLA) and the Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award. Mr Wong Ngit Liong and Prof Tan Chorh Chuan led the launch for the FSLA which was set up in commemoration of the Faculty’s 85th anniversary to recognise the efforts of FASS student leaders beyond academic excellence by focusing on experiential learning and student life leadership within FASS and the wider community. We also held the Faculty’s first ‘silent auction’ of artworks contributed by faculty, alumni, student and friends that raised over $42,000 in support of the FSLA.

The Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award was launched by Prof Tan Eng Chye, Provost, NUS. He said, “This award is a reminder that while we strive for world class standards in research and innovation, ultimately the work we do impacts community and society. I hope that our alumni, not just those from Social Work, will be inspired by the selfless contributions from Mrs Wee and the social workers as symbolised in this award.” The idea of setting up the award and naming it after Mrs Ann Wee was mooted by several social work alumni and friends to reflect the memory and affection they have for her as the longest serving Head of the Department and to recognise the work of the many unsung heroes in the profession.

Starting with an energetic starting performance by the Jigri Yaar Bhangra, Singapore’s pioneer Bhangra Company, the guests were regaled throughout the evening with performances by the Faculty’s very own singers – Mithila, who is currently a postgraduate student in the Department of Economics, and Farisha, an undergraduate in the Faculty and winner of Singapore’s The Final One competition. Mithila sang a wonderful rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep followed by the upbeat Mamma Mia. Farisha sang two songs, Soulman, and Hidup Ini Indah, a self-penned number from her album, “Aligned”.

Guests were also entertained by re:Percussions who performed the Chinese Drum Medley 2211, arranged specially for this performance. The medley is a collection of music played on Chinese percussion instruments that contain elements of traditional Chinese, Western, Indian and Malay percussion music at its core.

It certainly has been a busy year for our Faculty and we would like to thank everyone for their support for the past 85 years. We are also looking forward to the excitement the years ahead will bring!

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Chong Pang & Dymon Asia Scholarship for Social Impact

 The Chong Pang and Dymon Asia Scholarship for Social Impact seeks to nurture promising university students into effective leaders of positive change. Instead of straight-A academic qualifications, the overriding criterion for the scholarship is the ability, desire, and track record of the candidate to effect positive change in their community.

Every year, the Chong Pang Citizens’ Consultative Committee and Dymon Asia will award up to six undergraduate university students with scholarships. Scholarship recipients will be awarded $6,000 for the first year, and $10,000 for the subsequent years of their undergraduate education.

Dymon Asia is collaborating with the Nee Soon GRC to deliver on social impact.  Recipients of the scholarship are expected to make significant impact to landmark community development projects within Nee Soon GRC, and are expected to contribute at least 30 hours of community and social work per month during their scholarship tenure.

The sponsor for these development projects will be Minister of Foreign Affairs and Law, and MP for Chong Pang Constituency, Mr. K Shanmugam. Dymon Asia is collaborating with Chong Pang Citizens’ Consultative Committee for the scholarship administration.

The scholarship targets Singapore citizens residing within Nee Soon GRC, who are undergraduate students enrolled in National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Singapore Institute of Technology.  Exceptional Singapore citizens beyond Nee Soon GRC will also be considered.

Applicants pursuing academic disciplines of geared towards social impact will be given preferred consideration.  Examples of such disciplines include public policy, social science (e.g. social work, political science), communication studies, information technology, economics and business.

Applicants can submit a single application to be considered for both the Dymon Asia Scholarship for Social Impact, as well as for the Chong Pang Scholarship for Social Impact.  The deadline for the application is 20 December 2014. Interviews of shortlisted candidates will commence shortly after the deadline closure.

All scholarship applications must be submitted to the following address:

Chong Pang Community Centre
21 Yishun Ring Road, Singapore 768677
c/o Ms. Xie Peiling

Click here to download the application form.

Dr Yosuke Sato and his co-authors named Routledge’s authors of the month

Dr Yosuke Sato, Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, and his co-authors of The Routledge Handbook of Syntax, Dr Andrew Carnie (University of Arizona) and Daniel Siddiqi (Carleton University, Canada), are Routledge’s authors of the month for November 2014!

Have a look at their interview, where they discuss their inspiration to write the Handbook, what makes it special, and how it represents several perspectives on the study of syntax. You can read the first 30 pages of The Routledge Handbook of Syntax here, and the book, which is a whopping 716 pages, was published in May 2014 and is available from NUS Central Library.



Empowering foreign domestic workers (Opinion, Page A25)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Straits Times

This was an article contribution by Assistant Professor Slesh Anand Shrestha from the Department of Economics at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he discussed whether sharing information on foreign domestic worker labour laws and market conditions can help improve employment outcomes. He noted that contrary to the common perception that a well-functioning market is an unregulated one, in some cases, good government regulations can actually help markets work efficiently.

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.

Graduate students from NUS Chinese Studies Department explore architectural culture of Hakka temples (zbNOW, Page 4)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Lianhe Zaobao

This was a report on the field research that 38 graduate students from the Department of Chinese Studies at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences conducted as part of a graduate course to look at the interactions between Chinese and Southeast Asia. The students, who are under the supervision of Associate Professor Wong Sin Kiong, examined Hakka culture that are embedded in traditional Hakka buildings and temples.

Making history at NUS (Life!, Page 2)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Sunday Times

This was a feature on Professor Kenneth Dean, a leading scholar in Chinese popular religion, who will be heading the Department of Chinese Studies at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from January 2015. Prof Dean has been a Visiting Professor at NUS since 2006, teaching courses in Chinese religion and Southeast Asian Chinese temples.

Prof Dean credited his proficiency in the Chinese language to spending over 25 years in Mandarin-speaking environments – China, Taiwan and Hong Kong – and his lifelong interest in Chinese culture. He said that he is constantly amazed at the linguistic skills his NUS counterparts, as well as those of Taoist priests, temple leaders, teachers, writers and newspaper professionals in Singapore.

U@Live Featuring Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim




With the rapid digitisation of media content, the ubiquity of high-speed broadband connections, and proliferation of Internet-enabled devices, Singapore is now experiencing a media convergence that has totally transformed how media content is distributed and consumed.  It has and will continue to have an increasing impact on the social and political space in Singapore.  We cannot turn back the clock.

Even as the industry responds to the opportunities with multi-platform and interactive services and solutions, our policy and regulatory frameworks are playing catch-up – the odds continue to be stacked against them.  The idea cannot be to pull the brakes on convergence.  The challenge is to embrace this new phenomenon, while finding creative yet judicious ways to mitigate and minimise its negative effects.

Join the Minister for Communications and Information as he shares his perspectives on the new phenomenon and discusses the impact of the government’s measures to up the boon and manage the bane.   

Details of the event are as follows:

Date: 26 November 2014 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm (Registration at 6:45pm, Seated at 7:15pm, Cocktail reception after event)
Location: Auditorium (2nd Storey), Shaw Foundation Alumni House, National University of Singapore, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244

A unique feature of U@live is that not only will it be viewed by a live audience, it will be streamed live through a dedicated website ( The event will also incorporate a new interactive application that allows users to post questions and vote for their favourite questions in real time. The event will consist of a 10-minute talk by the speaker followed by a 20-minute interview conducted by Mr Viswa Sadasivan and a 30-minute Q&A session open to the live and online audience.

We sincerely hope that you will be able to join us for this event.

Click here to register.