Singapore Summer School

21-29 May 2011

 

THE ARTS AND CULTURAL IDENTITY IN A 'BORDER-LESS' WORLD

 

The Summer School provided students with an overview of Singaporean society, its history, culture and arts.  We met with arts managers, policy makers, artists, curators and educators and engaged in significant discussions with philosophers, historians, sociologists and media professors.  We participated in a public forum, visited arts and entertainment centres, saw local documentaries and attended performances at the Singapore Arts Festival and exhibitions at various Museums and Galleries.  Moreover we experienced this alongside Adila Mohckeram a Singaporean student and arts manager who accompanied us throughout the week alongside staff from local institutions and other colleges so that we really could experience a conversation about our future role as Arts Managers in terms of our various cultural identities and the complex notion of a borderless world.

 

Our Hosts

T. Sasitharan and Goh Su LinT. Sasitharan, is the co-founder and director of TTRP which he conceived and established with the late Kuo Pao Kun in 2001.  Sasi's article Consuming Political Appetites can be found in the Lying Abroad: A Critical Study of Cultural Diplomacy UB Arts Management Occasional Paper Series #2.

Goh Su Lin, is the General Manager of TTRP.  She has held numerous positions in Singapore including General Manager of The Necessary Stage and Consultant, Law & Business Affairs at MTV Asia.

The Venue

 

Emily HillThe UB Arts Management Program was hosted by Emily Hill and Theatre Training & Research Programme (TTRP).  The group stayed at the Hangout @ Emily Hill.  Emily Hill is more than a location.  It aims to be "a creative cooperative ... the first, tangible instance of the drive to promote creative industries bearing distinctly Singaporean fruit. It represents a ground-up initiative of creative people, in both commercial and artistic practice, to establish a new kind of enterprise. One in which the dedication and discipline usually associated with cultivating artistic innovation is nurtured together and in tandem with the priority to grow commercial potential and markets."

Guest Speakers

Tisa HoBenson PuahTan Boon HuiAlvin TanLysa HongAlex Au

Gene Sha RudynDr. Kwok Kian WoonDr. Laurence LeongAlfian Sa'atYane TanKoh Buck SongVijay Chandran

Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.  Click here for more information on the 2011 Hong Kong Arts Festival held February 17-March 27, 2011.

Benson Puah, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore's National Arts Council (NAC) and also holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of The Esplanade Co Ltd. which manages Esplanade Theatres on the Bay.

Tan Boon Hui, Director of the Singapore Art Museum

 

Alvin Tan, Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage

 

Alex Au, Web Commentator.  His current blog is yawningbread.wordpress.com.


Laurence Leong, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

Gene Sha Rudyn,  Founder Keelat Theatre Ensemble, actor and director.

Dr Kwok Kian Woon, Head Division of Sociology and Vice Dean (Academic) at Nanyang Technological University.    Board member TTRP

Lysa Hong,  Historian. Former Senior Visiting Fellow at the National University of Singapore History Department

Alfian Sa'at, writer, poet and playwright

Yane Tan, Sponsorship Professional.  Formerly with Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

Koh Buck Song, Author and Business Consultant

Vijay Chandran, Chairman of the Media Development Authority's Films Consultative Panel

 

Arts Management Faculty

Ruth BeresonAndy Finch

Ruth Bereson, Director of the UB Arts Management Program.  Dr. Bereson lived and worked in Singapore between 1999 and 2001 where she taught Arts Management at the National University of Singapore and presented the symposium entitled "Artistic Integrity and Social Responsibility."

Andy Finch, Adjunct Instructor for the UB Arts Management Program is Co-Director of Government Affairs for the Association of Art Museum Directors, lobbying on issues including tax deductibility of gifts of art, nonprofit governance, and federal funding.

The Activities

The students were encouraged to arrive prior to the summer school to acclimatise themselves to Singapore, get over jetlag and be ready for the busy activities which lay ahead.  They visited local attractions including The Night Safari, the Botanical Gardens, and enjoyed a dinner at a local Indian restaurant as well as taking advantage of their free time in order to explore the city's day and nightlife.

Sunday 21 May

We began with an orientation of Emily Hill given by Goh Su Lin and Sasitharan and were presented with books on TTRP's co-founder Koh Pao Kun.  This was followed by a tea of traditional Peranakan kueh from Katong.  We were joined by Benson Puah, CEO of the National Arts Council and The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Dr Laurence Leong, sociologist from the National University of Singapore and Vijay Chandra, Chair, Films Consltative Panel, MDA.  We also met our two Singaporean student colleagues who had applied to TTRP and selected to join us throughout the summer school .

We then walked down to a Chinese noodle restaurant for dinner and onto the National Library Drama Centre Theatre for a performance of  Kuu (Emptiness)  Yoshito Ohno (Japan) .  This was followed by a late night sampling of hot bean curd and donuts on our way back to Emily Hill.

Monday 22 May

The summer school now began in earnest.  We started our first morning with a lecture by T. Sasitharan on Framing Cultural Identity in Singapore - Doxa & Dilemma

We enjoyed a lunch of local hawker food.

In the afternoon Dr  Kwok Kian Woon spoke to us about Understanding Singapore’s Socio-Political Milieu

Then Gene Sha Rudyn, Founder Keelat Theatre Ensemble presented his views on  Being Muslim and Performing Islam in Singapore

 

Tuesday 23 May

We began the morning out of the classroom visiting two sites: The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and The Substation.

At the Esplanade we met with J.P. Nathan, Director of Programming who gave an in-depth briefing concerning the history of the Esplanade and its current programming, staffing and mission and Koh Sian Eng who took us on an information tour of the venue.

From there we walked to The Substation to meet with their Director Emily J. Hoe who showed us through their multipurpose venues and provided us with a history of its significant role in the arts and cultural life of Singapore.  Emily accompanied us back to Emily Hill where we enjoyed a meal of Nasi Lamak

We then returned to the classroom where Koh Buck Song provided an overview of issues concerning media in his lecture: The state of media in a State yearning to be a player on the Global Media Stage

After his lecture we went to the Singapore Art Museum where SAM curator  Khai Hori and his colleague took us on a tour of the latest exhibition Negotiating Home, History and Nation:
Two decades of contemporary art in Southeast Asia 1991 - 2011
which was part of the recent Singapore Biennale and then were met by Tan Boon Hui, Director, Singapore Art Museum on The role and direction of the Singapore Art Museum.

We then went to a local Kopitiam for dinner and back to Emily Hill where we enjoyed a film evening of local Singaporean documentaries Tan Pin Pin’s Singapore Gaga and Singapore Standard Time Directed by Joycelyn Khoo and Serene Ng

Wednesday 24 May

 

The morning began with a tour of Sri Mariamman Temple: A site of the South Indian pre-modern in Singapore led by T. Sasitharan.  This was followed by a tour of Little India and lunch of Thali and Mango Lassi at an Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

In the afternoon we returned to the classroom for a n overview of A Global City for the Arts by Pearl from the Economic Development Board

After a short break we were joined again by Benson Puah CEO of the National Arts Council who spoke about Singapore’s Cultural Policies –Renaissance City Plan and Beyond and engaged us in a lively conversation about Singapore's aspirations for the arts and culture. 

In the evening we attended Javanese Moonlight Intertwined  Bedoyo Dirodo Meto and Acapella Mataraman (Indonesia) at the Festival Village

Thursday 25 May

The morning began back in the classroom with Historian Hong Lysa, who spoke on the topic of Stories of Chinese Singaporeans – An Alternative History of Nationhood

We then enjoyed a lunch of Eurasian Food including rice cakes with banana sauce

In the afternoon we presented our first findings in small group presentations to the faculty.

This was followed by a presentation by Sociologist Dr Leong Wai Teng from the National University of Singapore who gave us context to the tour he was to take us on The Underbelly of Singapore.  After his lecture we boarded a bus and were taken on a two hour tour of the 'underbelly of the city' ranging in places from Little India and Geylang and Orchard Road, finally finishing our tour in China town.

The evening concluded in a noodle shop where we watched the chef make the noodles and dumplings before sitting down to enjoy them

Friday 26 May

      

We started the day by visiting the Resorts World on Sentosa one of Singapore's new Integrated Resorts Yane Tan and Mervyn Quek from Six Degrees.  Returning to Emily Hill Yane Tan gave a presentation on the role of the Integrated Resort in the arts scene of Singapore: Tour of performance spaces.

Lunch was a local speciality:  Hainanese Chicken Rice

Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival flew in especially to join the summer school and took us to the porch of Emily Hill to talk about her experiences as an arts manager both in Singapore and Hong Kong and to reflect upon the qualities which arts managers need in order to have a long international career. 

In the evening we attended Tempest: Without a Body  Lemi Ponifasio/MAU (Samoa/New Zealand) Esplanade Theatre

Saturday 27 May

The first session was a panel discussion with four arts managers of smaller sized organisations.  Until now, with the exception of The Substation and Keelat Theatre Ensemble we had seen many of the larger venues in Singapore.  These arts managers spoke about their missions and ways in which they work within the system to produce strategies for good management of their organisations.

Lunch was a popular local dish: mee goreng

TTRP held a Public Forum in the afternoon on the topic:  "Without Fear or Favour: Free Speech in a Borderless World"

Members of the public were engaged in a lively debate on this topic which was moderated by poet and Playwright Alfian Sa'at who introduced a panel of speakers comprising Alvin Tan, Artistic Director The Necessary Stage; Alex Au, author of the blog Yawning Bread; Vijay Chandran, Chair, Films Consltative Panel, MDA; and T. Sasitharan of TTRP.

Sunday 28 May

The final day of the summer school was devoted to student presentations on what we had learnt about Singapore, how we could compare this with Arts Management in the U.S. and our engagement with the notion of a border-less world.

The final evening we joined faculty, lecturers who had spoken to us throughout the week and staff of TTRP for a final dinner at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant where we finaly tasted Singaporean Chili Crab.

Before and After

Some of us arrived beforehand and stayed later.  We visited Museums, Galleries and attractions such as the Botanical Gardens, The Night Safari and of course clubs.

Events

Singapore Arts Festival

We will be attending the Singapore Arts Festival and seeing the following performances:

 

Biographies

T.Sasitharan, Director and Founder of TTRP

T. SasitharanT. Sasitharan (Sasi) is the co-founder and director of the Intercultural Theatre Institutre (ITI), formerly the Theatre Training & Research Programme (TTRP). Together with the late Kuo Pao Kun, he conceived and established TTRP in 2001. Prior to that, he was the artistic director of The Substation from April 1996 to August 2000. From 1988 to 1996 he was the theatre and visual art critic with The Straits Times, where he also served as arts editor for ‘Life!’. An important writer and commentator, he has had articles ranging from commentaries on Singapore culture and the arts to reviews of performances, exhibitions, talks and catalogue entries published both in Singapore and abroad. He taught Philosophy at the National University of Singapore from 1983 to 1989. For more than 30 years, Sasi has been actively involved as an actor/performer and producer in the local theatre scene. One of Singapore’s finest actors, he has performed in more than 25 plays directed by Singaporeans Chandra Lingam, Max Le Blond, Ong Keng Sen, and Kuo Pao Kun.

Sasi has been invited to lecture on Theatre, Theatre Training and Education, Theatre Criticism, Aesthetics and Creativity both at home and abroad, including UNESCO’s Forum on Communication and Cultural Expression in the Dominican Republic, the International Association of Theatre Critics in Hong Kong, the Instituto De Estudos Europeus in Macau, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Columbia University, the University of Buffalo, New York, the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and the National School of Drama in New Delhi. Over the last 12 years he has served on the Boards and Panels of several Singaporean and multinational institutions including: The Substation, National Arts Council, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore International Foundation, National Book Development Council, Philip Morris ASEAN Art Awards, Philippe Charriol Foundation art awards, and the Asian Arts Network.

Goh Su Lin, General Manager, TTRP

Goh Su LinGoh Su Lin is General Manager of the Intercultural Theatre Institutre (ITI), formerly the Theatre Training and Research Programme (TTRP), and part of the core team at Six Degrees, a new community for people in the creative industries. She is also part of the core team at arts charity Emily Hill, where she is also Course Director for the Professional Diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship. She sits on the Arts & Culture Manpower & Skills Training Council of Singapore’s Workforce Development Agency, and has contributed on various National Arts Council panels. She has co-developed curriculum for, and lectured in, the Arts Business Management diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and has acted as guest speaker and external examiner for classes at National University of Singapore, LaSalle SIA College of the Arts, Temasek Polytechnic, and Columbia University.

Before taking up her current positions, Su Lin practiced commercial litigation before becoming General Manager of The Necessary Stage, then Consultant, Law & Business Affairs at MTV Asia. She holds an Executive MBA from Insead and an LLB(Hons) from National University of Singapore.

 

Guest Speakers

Benson Puah, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore's National Arts Council (NAC)  and CEO of The Esplanade Co Ltd

Benson PuahMr. Puah is the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore's National Arts Council (NAC) appointed by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. As Chief Executive Officer of The Esplanade Co Ltd since July 1998, Benson Puah is responsible for the overall development, management, programming and artistic direction of Esplanade –Theatres on the Bay. Benson brings to Esplanade a passion for the arts matched by an international business perspective. In the last five years, he has led the team at Esplanade to build an annual calendar of diverse programmes with a special focus on community access and arts education. Today the centre presents over 2,500 programmes per year and has a visitorship of over eight and a half million annually.

Prior to Esplanade, Benson had 20 years of experience specialising in pioneering hospitality projects internationally. After graduating with Honours in Hotel, Catering and Tourism Management from the University of Surrey, he worked with leading luxury hotel companies imajor US, European and Asian cities.

Benson then ventured into the public sector, as Chief Executive of Sentosa Development Corporation where he spearheaded the repositioning of Sentosa as an attractive island resort getaway for Singaporeans and tourists, and was involved with the masterplanning of Sentosa Cove. His next position was as Chief Executive Officer of Temasia Health Pte Ltd, the international business and management arm of Health Corporation of Singapore, a government-linked company.

Benson is currently the Chair for the New York-based International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), a prestigious membership association for leaders in the arts world. He is the first Asian to hold this appointment. He is also the Chair of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC) and a member of various boards and committees. These include SISTIC, Parkway Trust Management Ltd (Parkway Life REIT), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Association of Concert and Event Managers Singapore (ACEMS), Urban Redevelopment Authority’s programmes for Architecture-Urban Design Excellence (AUDE) and Design Advisory Committee (DAC) and the NAC’s Singapore Arts Festival Steering Committee. He chairs the Wildlife Conservation Singapore Fund and Birdlife Conservation Singapore Fund. A strong advocate of education, he is involved with a number of educational institutions including Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) where he is the Vice-Chairman of both the Board of Governors and the Board of Management, he also chairs the Curriculum Development Advisory Committee for Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ Department of Arts Management and Education and is a Governor of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

Tisa Ho, Exectuive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival

Tisa Ho

Tisa Ho is Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, one of the most important arts festivals in Asia, with a strong 39 year track record of presenting some of the world’s top artists in a range of traditional and contemporary work.

Tisa grew up in Hong Kong and trained in arts management at the City University, London. Her previous professional experience includes policy and infrastructure development, as well as marketing and curatorial responsibilities for the 1988 and 1990 Singapore Arts Festivals. As Manager of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Victoria Concert Hall between 1991 and 1999, she helped to set up the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestras.  In 1993, she helped to conceptualise and launch the annual Singapore International Piano Festival. 

Tisa has served on the Boards of the Substation Arts Centre, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, the LaSalle SIA College of Arts, and the Necessary Stage Theatre Company. She is currently a Board member of the Man Hong Kong Literary Festival, and the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Festivals, and Vice Chair of the Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association. In NGO work she has served as President of AWARE and the Singapore National Council of Women’s Organisations. Tisa is also an editor and author with eight published titles.

Tan Boon Hui, Director of the Singapore Art Museum

 

Tan Boon HuiTan Boon Hui is Director of the Singapore Art Museum since August 2009. He is currently developing the contemporary art programming of the Museum. Previous to this, he was Deputy Director for Programmes at the National Museum of Singapore. His portfolio included the development of large scale festivals and events, institutional relations and international projects for the Museum. His work has focused on creating new possibilities for contemporary artists to engage with historical and social issues within the context of a history museum. He has a specific interest in the contemporary re-making of traditions among young artists. He curate the Museum’s Opening Festival in December 2006 and has been the programmer for the Museum’s major festivals including a performance and film festival on the Arab World in 2007 called ‘Under the Crescent Moon’. Significant commissions include ‘120’ a landmark site specific performance by Ong Keng Sen & Theatre works to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the Museum. He has also conceived ‘Art-On-Site’, a unique public art programme which invites artists to create work that alters perceptions of the Museum’s public spaces. The programme was one of the most important public art platforms in Singapore that regularly provides opportunities for Asian artists to create exciting new work that represents a new level in their artistic practice. In 2008, he has also programmed the large scale outdoor Night Festival within the civic and cultural district. His current responsibilities involve building a major collection of contemporary Southeast Asian and Asian art, development of new touring projects, the creation of new residency and commissioning platforms for emerging artists. As Director of SAM, he also heads the organizing secretariat of the Singapore Biennale 2011.

Alvin Tan, Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage

 

Alvin TanAlvin is Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage (TNS) and co-Artistic Director of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Under Alvin, TNS has grown from a society in 1987 to one of Singapore’s most prominent and respected theatre companies. He initiated the Company’s Theatre For Youth Branch, the annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (previously M1 Theatre Connect and M1 Youth Connection) and the Marine Parade Theatre Festival.

He has a BA from the National university of Singapore, a Diploma in Education from the Institute of Education, and an MA from the University of Birmingham. One of the leading proponents of devising theatre in Singapore, Alvin has directed more than 40 plays, which have been staged in Singapore, Malaysia, Glasgow, Cairo, Busan, Seoul, Melbourne, Birmingham, London, Dublin, Cairo, New Delhi, Hungary and Romania. Some of these landmark productions include Lanterns Never Go Out, Still Building, Pillars, Galileo, Koan and godeatgod. He was also involved in Diaspora in Scotland, for which he co-directed goteatgod with 7:84, a Scottish theatre company.

In December 2005, Alvin directed Boxing Day: The Tsunami Project, a response to the tragedy of 2004, as well as Separation 40 with Dramalab’s Zahim Albakri, which won three 2005 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards including Best Director. More recently, Alvin co-directed a collaborative project entitled Mobile, with artists from Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Mobile was a commission of the Singapore Arts Festival 2006 and had its world premiere in Singapore in June 2006. Mobile toured to Kuala Lumpur for a three-night run at The Actors Studio in Bangsar, and travelled to Japan for performances in March 2007. Most recently, Alvin directed the restaging of Frozen Angels which was presented as part of the 2009 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

Alex Au, Web Commentator

Alex AuAlex Au discovered the internet in 1994 when he was looking for ways to communicate his LGBT activism to a then closeted, underground community. In the years since, he has acquired a reputation as an outspoken web commentator, not only on gay rights, but on Singapore society and politics too. His chief bugbears include the criminalization and state discrimination against gay people, the homophobic discourse mounted by certain religious groups, the distortion of democratic principles and trampling on human rights meant to perpetuate one party's hegemony, the arbitrary censorship deployed to shape social consciousness, the insidious elitism and its corollary, the denigration and exploitation of vulnerable and marginal groups -- features that frame today's Singapore.

His current blog <yawningbread.wordpress.com> is his chief vehicle, though he is also a regular speaker at forums and occasional contributor to other sites and books. The latter include a chapter on the government's response to rising gay activism during the period 1991 - 2004 in the book Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years, and a chapter on opposition parties in the book The Management of Success 2.  Au continues to be active in the gay advocacy group People Like Us and is also an office-bearer with Transient Workers Count Too, a civil society group concerned with the protection of migrant workers from abuse.


Gene Sha Rudyn, Director, Writer Performer

Singaporean-Baweanese-Muslim Gene Sha Rudyn, born in 1968, draws inspiration mainly from the theatre ideologies of Antonin Artaud, Augusto Boal and Jerzy Grotowsky in the production of theatre plays that may be described as experiential, minimal and unsettling. He dealt with the issues of friendship in Anita & Generation X (1996), spiritual love in Happy Valentine’s Day (1998), psychological displacement in causeway (1998), oppression of women in Win! (1999), child violence in We All Fall Down (2000), romantic love in the musical SIGELAP (2000), religious retribution in Die Faustus Die (2001) and social cleansing in Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa’ Hassan (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007). Gene Sha Rudyn was Associate Director of Teater Ekamatra (1998-2000), Co-Artistic Director of Naga Pass-Ra (2002-2003) and is the founding Artistic Director of Keelat Theatre Ensemble (2008-present).

As a writer Gene Sha Rudyn made his foray into playwriting with Anita & Generation X (1996). His major works are the film-to-stage adaptation Semerah Padi (1999), the musical SIGELAP (2000), the improvisational Rock operetta Die Faustus Die (2001), the one-hour concert of songs in response to Khairuddin Hori’s art installation Boudoir (2002) and two collections of short plays on Singapore’s historical places and personalities River Trails (2003) and Fun on Foot (2004). His feature-length co-written screenplay, the tri-lingual Ramuan Rahasia | The Missing Ingredient, is currently in production.

As a performer Gene Sha Rudyn began performing professionally in his teens and joined the theatre industry in 1991. He has performed at international arts festivals in Singapore, Yokohama, Perth, Wellington, Budapest, Hong Kong and Hobart. Two landmark moments in his career were the 2007 six-state Malaysian kampong tour of Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa’ Hassan and the 2009 Singapore mosque premiere of AL-IKHLAS (SINCERITY) - a monologue in seven acts reintroducing God, both unprecedented. Gene Sha Rudyn currently leads Keelat Theatre Ensemble.

Hong Lysa, Historian.  Independent Researcher

A former member of the History Department, National University of Singapore, Hong Lysa now does research on her own steam. She is co-author of 

The Scripting of a National History: Singapore and its Pasts (2008) and one of the editors of The May 13 Generation: The Chinese Middle Schools Student Movement and Singapore Politics of the 1950s.   She is also a founder-member of the collective which puts out s/pores: new directions in Singapore studies [www.s-pores.com]

 

Kwok Kian-Woon,  Sociologist, Nanyung Technological University

KWOK Kian-Woon (Ph.D, University of California at Berkeley) is Associate Professor, Associate Chair (Academic) and Head, Division of Sociology at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Chair, University Senate, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  His teaching and research interests relate to the historical and comparative understanding of modern social transformation and contemporary social change.    His current teaching and research areas include:  Social and Political Theory; Qualitative Social Research; Social Memory; Comparative Cultural Policy (Arts, Heritage & Creative Cities); Singapore Studies; and Mental Health and Illness. He was a  Fellow in the Asia Leadership Program in Japan since 1996 and a recipient of the Fulbright Research Grant at Harvard University in 1998.   

He is actively involved in civil society and the public sector, including as Honorary Chairman, National Archives of Singapore, Past President, Singapore Heritage Society, Member of the National Heritage Board and the Singapore Art Museum Board, Member of the Steering Committee on the National Art Gallery (and Chairman of its Museological Advisory Group), and Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Singapore Biennale 2006.  He served as a member of the National Mental Health Sub-Committee on Research (2005-2006) and has been Visiting Scientist at the Institute of Mental Health (2007-2008).

Laurence Leong, Sociologist National University of Singapore

Dr Laurence Leong is currently a senior lecturer in National University of Singapore, in the Department of Sociology. His teaching areas include mass media, human rights and sexualities. His current research are news media, human rights and sexual policies. A selected list of his publications appear below.

Book Chapters

  • "Sexual Governance and the Politics of Sex in Singapore", in Terence Chong (ed.)(2010) Management of Success: Singapore Revisited. (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies), pp. 579-593.   
  • "Singapore", in Chuck Stewart (ed.)(2010) The Greenwood Encylopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide. (Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press), (Vol. 1), pp. 475-487.   
  • "From Asian Values to Singapore Exceptionalism",  in Leena Avonius & Damien Kingsbury (eds.)(2008) Human Rights in Asia: A Reassessment of the Asian Values Debate. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 121-140.    
  • "Decoding Sexual Policy in Singapore", in Lian Kwen Fee & Tong Chee Kiong (eds.)(2008) Social Policy in Post-Industrial Singapore. (Boston: Brill),  pp. 279-308.    
  • "The 'Straight' Times: News and Sexual Citizenship in Singapore", in Angela Romano & Michael Bromley (eds.)(2005) Journalism and Democracy in Asia, edited by Angela Romano & Michael Bromley. (London: Routledge), pp. 159-171.   
  • "Of Rice and Potatoes: The Dynamics of Inter-Racial Gay Relationships", in Joseph Lo & Huang Guoqin (eds.)(2003) People Like Us: Sexual Minorities in Singapore, (Singapore: Select Publishing).   
  • "Singapore", in D.J. West & R. Green (eds.)(1997) Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison. (New York: Plenum Publishing), pp. 127-144.  
  • "Commodifying Ethnicity: State and Ethnic Tourism in Singapore", in Michel Picard & Robert E. Wood (eds.)(1997) Tourism, Ethnicity and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press), pp. 71-98. 
     

Journal Articles

  • "Consuming the Nation: National Day Parades in Singapore", New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2 (December 2001): 5-16. 
     "In Defence of Youth Culture", Looking at Culture, Vol. 1, No. 1 (August 1996): 11-17. 
     "Walking the Tightrope: The Role of Action For AIDS in the Provision of Social Service in Singapore", Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1995): 11-30. 
     "Cultural Resistance: The Cultural Terrorism of British Male Working-class Youth", Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 12 (1992): 29-58. 
     "The Pornography Problem: Disciplining Women and Young Girls", Media, Culture and Society, Vol. 13, No. 1 (January 1991): 91-117. 
     "Culture and the State: Manufacturing Traditions for Tourism", Critical Studies in Mass Communication, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 1989): 335-375. 
Alfian Sa'at, writer, poet, and playwright

Alfian Sa'atIn 1998, Alfian published his first collection of poetry, One Fierce Hour at the age of twenty-one. The book was acclaimed as "truly a landmark for poetry [in Singapore]" by The Straits Times, and Alfian himself was described by Malaysia's New Straits Times as "one of the most acclaimed poets in his country... a prankish provocateur, libertarian hipster."

A year later, Alfian published his first collection of short stories, Corridor, which won the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award. Seven of the short stories from the collection have since been adapted for television. In 2001, he published his second collection of poetry, A History of Amnesia, which was hailed by The Straits Times as "one of the most powerful collections by a Singaporean" in addition to being shortlisted for a Kiriyama Asia-Pacific Book Prize. Alfian won both the inaugural National Arts Council-Singapore Press Holdings Golden Point Award for Poetry in the same year, as well as the National Arts Council's Young Artist Award for Literature.

Alfian's first play was produced when he was 19, and he has had a long association as a playwright with theatre group The Necessary Stage as well as withTeater Ekamatra, a Malay theatre group known for articulating minority concerns in Chinese-majority Singapore.  Alfian is currently the resident playwright of theatre group W!LD RICE.  His plays include Fighting (1994), performed by The Necessary Stage Theatre for Youth Ensemble, Yesterday My Classmate Died (1997), performed by The Creative Arts Alumni, and Black Boards, White Walls (1997) performed by The Necessary Stage. Alfian has also written Malay plays which were all performed by Teater Ekamatra: Dongeng (Myth, 1997), Deklamasi Malas (Declamation of Indolence, 1997), Causeway (1998), Madu II (Polygamy, 1998) and Anak Bulan di Kampung Wak' Hassan (The New Moon at Kampung Wak' Hassan, 1998).

Yane Tan, Sponsorship professional

Yane TanYane has 10 years experience as a sponsorship professional. She was the pioneer team of Esplanade Theatres on the Bay for seven years. More recently, she had been the Director of Membership & Promotions at Singapore's first Integrated Resort since pre-opening. Her background includes expertise in marketing, branding, sales and business development. Effectively bilingual, she has hosted corporate events and been a speaker at seminars. She holds a Bachelor of Arts(Honors) from National University of Singapore. Her love for the arts sees her acting on stage, dancing and painting in her free time.

Koh Buck Song, Author and Business Consultant

Koh Buck SongKoh Buck Song is a Singaporean writer, business consultant and author and editor of 17 books. His latest book is Brand Singapore: How Nation Branding Built Asia’s Leading Global City.

He has taught leadership as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and media studies at the Singapore Management University’s School of Social Sciences. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and degrees in English from Cambridge University and in education from London University.

His public service since 1991 has included being on three national Censorship Review Committees, in 1991-92, 2002-03 and as Deputy Chairman in 2009-10, and as a Board member of the National Arts Council and Media Development Authority.

He was previously a columnist, political and features supervisor and literary editor with The Straits Times, and has also worked with the Singapore Economic Development Board, heading strategic planning and marketing communications, and with the consultancy Hill & Knowlton consulting mainly to the government on nation branding and public engagement.

Vijay Chandran, Chairman of the Media Development Authority's Films Consultative Panel

Vijay ChandranVijay was a pioneer faculty member in Singapore’s first mass communication course, the Diploma in Mass Communication, launched by Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 1989.  He was then instrumental in starting the Diploma in Film, Sound & Video, the first local programme in filmmaking, in 1993. In 1999, he initiated and headed the post-graduate Advanced Diploma in Film Production.  Apart from teaching, Vijay has been involved in the film community in various capacities.  He was seconded to the Singapore Film Commission in 2001 as a Resident Consultant during which time he developed the SFC's International Co-production Funding programme, established to incentivise collaboration among local and international film producers, and Singapore's first HD production initiative.  He has provided script consultancy to the SFC, Raintree Pictures and other independent companies on feature film projects and served on film juries internationally and locally.  He has worked with several government agencies in developing film initiatives and in 1999 assisted the Ministry of Education in starting the Schools Video Award competition in an effort to spur video production among primary and secondary school students. Vijay has also worked as an advertising copywriter and producer of television commercials.

He currently serves as the Chairman of the Media Development Authority's Films Consultative Panel, a citizen's consultative panel which advises the government on classification of films and video games.  In 2010, he was appointed to the Censorship Review Panel formed by the government to review regulations and policies relating to all media and the arts in Singapore.

In 2009, Vijay left academia to head a consultancy project for the government agency, Workforce Development Agency, to create competency-based training frameworks for the Creative Industries.

Vijay possesses a Master of Fine Arts in Film Producing from the American Film Institute as well as a BSc in Journalism and BA in Theatre and Film from the University of Kansas.

 


 
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