Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award 2018

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ESM Goh Chok Tong
Dr Lee Soo Ann
Mr Yap Hock Seng, Arthur
Ms Pang Cheng Lian
Dr Lee Tzu Pheng
Mr Edward Lee Kwong Foo
Mr Viswa Sadasivan


Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (Lifetime Achievement)

After graduation, Mr Goh joined the Administrative Service in the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister's Office of the Singapore Government.  In 1967, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Development Economics from Williams College, USA.  In 1969, he joined the national shipping company Neptune Orient Lines, and was its Managing Director from 1973 to 1977.

In 1976, then Minister for Finance, Hon Sui Sen, persuaded him to stand for elections for a seat in Parliament. He won in Marine Parade, and remains a Member of Parliament (MP) there.  Soon after, he was appointed Senior Minister of State for Finance, as part of the government’s plan to groom the next generation of leaders.

Between 1979 and 1990, Mr Goh served as Minister in the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Health and Defence.  He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, and succeeded Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 28 November 1990 as Singapore’s second Prime Minister.  As Prime Minister, he espoused a kinder and more consultative government. He set in motion social policies aimed at addressing income inequality and strengthening the social fabric of the nation. He steered the nation through major economic, security and health crises, including the SARS pandemic, Jemaah Islamiyah threat, and Asian Financial Crisis.

He actively broadened and deepened the Republic’s diplomatic ties. In recognition of his contribution to bilateral ties, Mr Goh was conferred the Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant (Thailand) in 1997, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 2004, the Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005, and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2011.

Mr Goh stepped down as Prime Minister in August 2004 to renew the leadership of the country.  He remained in the Cabinet as Senior Minister, and was Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from August 2004 to May 2011.  Upon leaving Cabinet in 2011, Mr Goh was given the honorary title of Emeritus Senior Minister, and appointed as Senior Advisor to MAS. In 2017, he was asked to chair the governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Mr Goh’s longstanding interest in community well-being translated into active support for research in the social sciences.  He advocates the importance of bridging policy-making and practical actions in society, and uses his constituency, Marine Parade, as a test-bed for implementing social measures to advance the interests of the elderly and the vulnerable, needy residents.   Thus started his association with the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Social Service Research Centre, which he first mooted and continued to serve as an advisor.

Mr Goh’s academic awards include: Honorary Doctor of Laws (Williams College, USA, 1995), Eminent Alumni Award (NUS, 2005), Honorary Doctor of Laws (University of New South Wales, Australia, 2005), Honorary Doctorate for Business Administration (University of Pretoria, South Africa, 2008), and Honorary Doctor of Laws (NUS, 2015).



Dr Lee Soon Ann

Dr Lee Soo Ann graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics from the University of Malaya in Singapore, and obtained his PhD (Economics) in 1969 from the University of Singapore.

Concurrently a Senior Fellow at the NUS Department of Economics and NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Dr Lee has an academic and professional career spanning across more than 50 years. Apart from having taught Economics and Business Policy for almost 30 years, he has served as Director of the then-NUS School of Accountancy and Business Administration from 1978-79, and then appointed as Dean from 1980-85. He was also the Director of the School of Postgraduate Management Studies (1980-83), as well as Chairman of the NUS Economics Alumni (2007-12).

Dr Lee’s public service and business appointments include Assistant Secretary and Director of Projects at the Ministry of Finance, being a board member of the Port of Singapore Authority, Jurong Town Corporation, National Productivity Board, and Science Council of Singapore. He was also Economic Adviser to the United Overseas Bank Singapore from 1970-85. He currently sits on the Board of Directors at AGF Asset Management Ltd. He has also served as General Secretary and later President of the Bible Society of Singapore.

Dr Lee has published seven books, and over 40 articles in books and journals. Dr Lee is married with three children and five grandsons, and was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1998.





Mr Yap Hock Seng, Arthur

Mr Arthur Yap graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1963, with the then University of Singapore.  He is a strong believer of gloablisation, international partnerships and connections.

After working for six years in Singapore, first with the First National City Bank of New York (now CitiBank), and as a Shipping Executive with a large British Trading Company, Harrison and Crosfield, he emigrated to  Vancouver Canada  in December 1967, with his young family, where he has lived for 50 years.  In Vancouver, he was active in Community work and was the Vice President of the Vancouver Singapore club for nine years.

He also served as Chairman of the NUS Alumni Chapter in British Columbia, Canada for 15 years from 2001 to 2015.  He travelled to many NUS Alumni Chapters in the world (including Boston, USA; Shanghai, China; Sydney, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), to encourage overseas NUS alumni to return to NUS Singapore, and to encourage, inspire and mentor the young generations of NUS alumni.

Mr Yap was appointed to the first NUS Alumni Advisory Board in 2006 and served for four years, till 2010.

In 2007, he received the NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award for his unwavering dedication and steadfast support for the University.




Ms Pang Cheng Lian

Ms Pang Cheng Lian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science in 1966, and obtained her MA (Political Science) in 1970 from the Singapore University. Her MA thesis on the People’s Action Party (PAP) was published by Oxford University Press in 1971.

After serving her bursary bond as a Research Officer with the then Ministry of the Interior and Defence, she worked as a journalist with New Nation.  In 1977 she joined the United Overseas Bank, where she was First Vice President and Special Assistant to the Chairman and CEO, Dr Wee Cho Yaw.  She retired from UOB in 2014 after 37 years.

As Special Assistant to Mr Wee, who was founding President of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, she played an active role in promoting Chinese culture and traditions.  Besides editing books on clan associations and Chinese customs, Ms Pang was secretary of the Organising Committee of the Singapore River Hongbao festivity for 18 years.

In conjunction with World Scientific series on Singapore’s 50 years of nation building in 2015, she edited the book, “50 Years of the Chinese Community in Singapore.”

Ms Pang also served as Vice Chairperson and then Chairperson of the Films Appeals Committee for 15 years (1992 to 2007).  She led the Committee through difficult and landmark film appeal decisions, broadening viewing choices for public enjoyment, whilst protecting the young from undesirable content.

She was appointed Non-Executive Director of Singapore Land Limited from 1995 to 2010, and was Director of United Industrial Corporation Limited from 1999 to 2010.  She currently serves as Director in Temasek Foundation Cares and Mee Toh Foundation.  

Ms Pang was also appointed in the Foreign Service as Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Italy in 1997 and concurrently in 1998 to Switzerland till 2004. In 2000, she received the Public Service Medal at the National Day Awards.





Dr Lee Tzu Pheng

Dr Lee Tzu Pheng graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature from the University of Singapore in 1968; later completing her PhD in 1972.

Joining the University’s English Department upon graduation, her early talent in creative writing proved valuable to the young Singapore nation’s concern with developing a national identity through the works of its artists and writers.  In the 1980s, Dr Lee headed the sub-committee on Reading, part of the National Agenda committee which drew up a report on the Literary Arts in Singapore, led the Singapore team for an ASEAN-COCI project on a comparative study of nursery rhymes, was an editor for the Singapore poetry collection in the massive ASEAN Anthology series; and in 1989-90, served on the national committee of the IEA study project on reading literacy. From 1992 – 96, she served on the Jury Panel (Grants), Singapore International Foundation, the National Arts Council, the NAC Arts Resource Panel and Drama Review Committee.  In 1995 she was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine.  She retired as Associate Professor from the National University of Singapore in 2001, on completion of tenure.

Dr Lee spent nearly 20 years facilitating creative writing workshops and mentoring young writers in the MOE/NUS Creative Arts Programme (CAP).  Many of her mentees are today Singapore’s established young writers, making a name for themselves internationally, and continue to acknowledge her inspirational guidance.

Dr Lee, considered one of the nation’s finest poets, is published and studied internationally.  She is author of seven poetry collections, a book of essays, and a handbook for developing reading-readiness in children. Her numerous awards include the Singapore Cultural Medallion for Literature (1985), the Southeast Asia WRITE Award (1986), the Montblanc-CFA Award (1996), and the National Book Development Council of Singapore’s Award for Poetry (three times). In 1995, she was the only Singaporean and one of six writers from the Asia-Pacific region among 50 outstanding writers worldwide to be conferred the Gabriela Mistral Award by the Republic of Chile, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral’s winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In 2014, she was one of 108 women inducted into the inaugural Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, established to honour the women who had made an impact on the nation with their humanity, talent and creativity, vision, passion and leadership. Dr Lee was honoured as an outstanding Literary Pioneer at the Singapore Writers Festival 2017.



Mr Edward Lee Kwong Foo

Mr Edward Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from the University of Singapore in 1970. He then received his Master of Arts Degree in Government from Cornell University. He is a Director of several public-listed companies in Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, including Keppel Land Limited, Indofood Agri Resources Ltd, and Exalt Resources Ltd.

During his 36 years in the Singapore Foreign Service, Mr Lee was High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam (1984-1990), Ambassador to the Philippines (1990-1994), and was the long serving Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia (1994-2006). He is a Board member of two Singapore-listed companies and an adviser to a consultancy firm in Indonesia.

He was bestowed the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu (Grand Cross) by the Philippine Government in 1993, and the Bintang Jasa Utama (First Class) – the highest civilian honour by the Indonesian Government in 2007.  He was also awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1996, the Long Service Medal in 1997, the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1998 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2006 by the Singapore Government.

Mr Lee was a Member of the NUS President's Advancement Advisory Council and in 2013, he received the NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award.



Mr Viswa Sadasivan

Mr Viswa Sadasivan started his career after graduating from NUS in 1983 as a current affairs producer with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.  As Executive Producer and Anchor of popular TV current affairs programmes such as Feedback and Talking Point, he saw the importance of finding ways to create conditions for the people to be engaged without fear, and for those in power to reciprocate with accountability.

He served for 10 years as chairman of the government Feedback Unit’s Political Division and facilitated many forums for the people and the government to engage on topics such as electoral reform, income disparity and meritocracy.

Mr Viswa helped influence public policy by serving on national committees such as the Singapore 21 Committee, the Economic Review Committee, the Remaking Singapore Committee, and more recently the National Convergence Committee.  He served as a board member in various organisations, including the Media Development Board, SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), the National Youth Achievement Award Council, and the NUS Alumni Advisory Board.  2017 marked Mr Viswa’s 40th year as a National Serviceman.  Holding the rank of Colonel, Mr Viswa serves as Deputy Director, Joint Operations in the SAF.  Between 2009 and 2011, Mr Viswa also served as a Nominated Member of Parliament.

In furthering his belief that people become more engaged when society is less adversarial, Mr Viswa accepted the appointment to the inaugural panel of mediators with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) in 1997.  On the corporate front, Mr Viswa has built a respected corporate strategy consultancy and training practice focused on building a more accountable and engaged leadership in the public and corporate sectors in Singapore and the region.

For his contribution to NUS and society at large, Mr Viswa was conferred the NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2011.

Mr Viswa also has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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