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25 SEPTEMBER 2020 — Georgette Tan (Arts and Social Sciences, ’82), was conferred a lifetime accolade at the virtual Asia-Pacific Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation & Engagement (SABRE) Awards yesterday.

Tan was previously Senior Vice President of Communications at Mastercard, where she managed external and internal communications across the Asia Pacific for over 18 years. She also led Mastercard’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes which focused on education and development programs for children and female empowerment across the region.

“Obviously you go into your careers and do what you do, not because you think you’re going to win an award at the end,” said Tan on receiving the Individual Achievement SABRE Award.

“The role, the job, the satisfaction of a job well done, and the impact you have on the lives of people and your organisation, that's your reward.”

While she was humbled by the recognition, Tan maintained that communications is not an individual role as she also paid tribute to all the people she has worked with throughout her professional journey. 

Supporting community involvement
An advocate of giving and volunteering, Tan said it is never too early or too late to start, urging students, young graduates and mid-career professionals alike to actively seek opportunities for community involvement.

At present, Tan is the President of United Women Singapore (UWS), a women’s organisation with a primary mission of advancing gender equality, female empowerment and building the pipeline of future women leaders through education, economic empowerment and advocacy.

Tan also sits on the board of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) and is chair of BoardAgender, an SCWO initiative focused on increasing the number of women in board positions. Additionally, she serves on the Taskforce on Family Violence which is co-chaired by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Tan, who graduated from FASS with a degree in English Language and Literature, made the switch to the non-profit sector after a decades-long career in the communications industry spanning public service and the corporate world, citing the evolving nature of the non-profit landscape as a driving factor.

“You need to have a commercial lens, understand how best to market yourself, how to use social media and understand the power of partnerships, because it is a crowded landscape and you cannot do it alone,” she added.

“I felt I was ready to take all my skill sets and years of corporate training and channel that to the non-profit space.”

Championing female empowerment and anti-violence
Currently as President of UWS, Tan is focusing her energies on accelerating female empowerment and anti-violence efforts through education and advocacy programmes.

According to Tan, more girls and young women should be encouraged to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and in their careers, so as to pave a way for gender equality in these fields.

“The idea is to level the playing field between the genders and eventually get more women into STEM roles which are male-dominated,” Tan explained. “In that process, with more women in engineering, innovation, sciences and math, we would also see a narrowing, and ultimately eradication, of the gender pay gap that exists today.”

UWS is in its seventh year of running Girls2Pioneers, an outreach programme in schools targeting girls primarily aged 10 to 16 and from disadvantaged backgrounds, encouraging them to pursue STEM in their higher education and careers.

Based on research that UWS had conducted this year, Tan said that a number of findings stood out: firstly, more girls than boys actually find STEM subjects easy; secondly, families tend to support boys more than girls in taking up STEM subjects; and lastly, it is critical for girls to have role models to look up to.

“So it’s not a capability issue, it’s a confidence issue,” Tan stressed.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic providing disruptions to the programme, UWS has been steadfast in moving some of its facets onto digital platforms.

According to the UWS website, over 28,000 girls have benefitted from the programme since its inception in 2014, where they undergo hands-on workshops and camps, as well as go on field trips to corporate offices where they get to interact with female professionals in science, technology and engineering fields.

By the end of the year, UWS plans to launch a mentorship programme where small groups of girls are matched to a mentor from these industries, so that they can gain first-hand insight and guidance and understand the role that these women play at work.

At the same time, UWS champions anti-violence, which has become more pertinent during the COVID-19 pandemic as more families are cooped up at home leading to a rise in domestic violence.

UWS has created GenSafe Workspaces, a programme that helps employers recognise the early signs that their staff or colleagues may be subjected to domestic violence at home, and know how to respond, or which agencies they can refer them to.

Besides working with victims of domestic violence and their immediate support network at work, Tan believes that it is crucial to educate young boys about anti-violence and healthy masculinity.

“The idea is to get (boys) early, to (help them) rethink what masculinity is, value the role women play in the household and society at large, and things like consent and respect. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence starts with the boys,” Tan said.

Applying corporate skills for the community 
Looking back on her time at the National University of Singapore, Tan admitted she has slight regrets for not taking up any leadership roles then, but said that she made many good friends and memories during her undergraduate days here. 

Urging students to break out of their comfort zones, Tan shared her piece of advice: “Don’t be afraid, don't hold yourself back, get involved, do diverse things. It’s only when you try out new things that you realise what you're really good at or what your true passion point is.”

With the changing outlook of the non-profit sector, Tan reiterated that there are many ways to get involved.

“A lot of people now go into skills-based volunteering and make use of their corporate abilities,” she explained. “You can be a great web designer, marketeer, communications practitioner, auditor, HR person, or digital specialist. The non-profit sector needs all these corporate skill sets.”

21 AUGUST 2020 —The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is greatly saddened by the passing of Mr Ngiam Tong Dow on 20 August 2020 at the age of 83.

A prominent alumnus of the Faculty, Mr Ngiam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with First Class Honours in 1959.  As a former civil servant of Singapore, Mr Ngiam contributed to Singapore’s economic development over four decades.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the Public Service, Mr Ngiam has been conferred various national public service awards, including the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1971, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1978 and the Distinguished Service Order in 1999.

                 Mr Ngiam Tong Dow (Economics, '59), dedicated public servant, strong supporter of NUS and FASS, and recipient of the 
                 NUS Eminent Alumni Award (2019).

Mr Ngiam was also actively engaged with the National University of Singapore (NUS).  He had been serving as Pro-Chancellor of NUS since 2000 and was the Chairman of the NUS Centennial Campaign Advisory Board in 2003.  Over and above his service to the NUS community, Mr Ngiam has also donated generously to university and FASS.  In 2006, Mr Ngiam and his family across two generations established the Mr and Mrs Ngiam Fook Quee Memorial Scholarship in honour of their parents and grandparents who had migrated to Singapore from China in the last century with nothing but the determination to work hard and succeed.

FASS presented Mr Ngiam the FASS Distinguished Arts and Social Alumni Award in 2016 for his enormous contributions to Singapore’s nation-building efforts and his strong commitment to and support of the University and the Faculty. In 2019, NUS bestowed upon Mr Ngiam the prestigious NUS Eminent Alumni Award.

Mrs Chua-Lim Yen Ching receives public service honours for contributions to education in Singapore

10 AUGUST 2020 — NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Advisory Board Member, Mrs Chua-Lim Yen Ching, was conferred the Public Administration Gold Medal at this year’s National Day Awards by the Prime Minister’s Office for her numerous contributions to education in Singapore. 

Mrs Chua-Lim is the Deputy Director-General of Education (Professional Development) and Executive Director of the Academy of Singapore Teachers Directorate at the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore. This latest award follows the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) she received in 1999, and the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2017.

Her career in education spans 37 years, during which she has served as a teacher, principal and policy maker. Highlights include her leadership, as Deputy Director of the Sciences Branch of the Ministry of Education of Singapore, in the development of primary to pre-university curricula for mathematics, science, technical and physical education from 1998 to 2002, and the pivotal role she played as the founding principal of the NorthLight School, an institution offering enhanced vocational education from 2006 to 2011. She is now helming advancements in the professional development of teachers in Singapore.

At this year’s National Day Awards, Mrs Chua-Lim joins the ranks of illustrious NUS notables such as Former Deputy Prime Minister and current Senior Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof S. Jayakumar, who received the highest Order of Temasek (with High Distinction) honour, and Prof Wang Gungwu, FASS Professor and former Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy as well as the East Asian Institute, who was awarded The Distinguished Service Order.

Other FASS awardees include the following:

Public Administration Medal (Bronze)
Prof Lionel Wee Hock Ann, Vice Dean (Research) and Professor, Department of English Language & Literature

Commendation Medal
Ms Loo Bee Bee, Associate Director, Department of Psychology

Efficiency Medal
Ms Jane Ong Pei Hoon, Management Assistant Officer, Department of Sociology

Long Service Medal

  • Prof Ong Chang Woei, Department of Chinese Studies
  • Assoc Prof Loon Seong Yun, Department of English Language & Literature
  • Ms Sakinah Bte Yusof, Management Assistant Officer, Department of Geography
  • Ms Jasmine Sim Bee Lay, Management Assistant Officer, Department of History
  • Assoc Prof Chen An, Department of Political Science
  • Assoc Prof Irving Chan Johnson, Department of Southeast Asian Studies
  • Assoc Prof Narayanan Ganapathy, FASS Associate Dean, and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

The FASS Student Leadership Award (FSLA) recognises student leaders beyond academic excellence, and aims to reward students who demonstrate student leadership, foster experiential learning, and enhance outreach activities within FASS and/or the wider community.

The FSLA was launched in AY2014/2015 and is awarded each academic year, with values of $300 for each individual award and $500 for each group award. In 2018, a total of 1 group award and 5 individual awards were given out.

Application Period: 5 June – 3 July 2020
Award winners will be notified in August 2020.

Application process

Nominations are to be submitted by the Society, the Society Advisor, or Faculty Member. Self-nominations are also accepted.

Please send the completed nomination form and the supporting documents (detailed below) by e-mail to:          

Ms Lynn Seah
Manager (Student Support)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Supporting Documents

  1. A write-up of the project in no more than 500 words, mentioning the following pointers:
  • Background and overview of Project – aims and objectives, innovation, collaboration with other groups, etc.
  • Impact of the Project on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and/or external community, including a clear articulation of the number of people who benefited from your initiative; how you arrived at these numbers, etc.
  • What makes your initiatives(s) stand out
  • Self-reflection on your leadership abilities and relationship management skills – e.g. the challenges you faced and how you overcame them, etc.
  1. Supporting documents to substantiate the points made in the write-up where relevant (emails, feedback or testimonials from people who benefited, publicity materials, registration lists, programme booklets, event photos, etc.)
  1. Letter of Recommendation not exceeding one page describing leadership potential, co-curricular activities and good character of the candidate with specific reference to nominee’s project or initiative.

Assessment Criteria

General Eligibility Criteria

  • The award is open to all full-time Undergraduate and Graduate FASS students and recognised FASS student groups and societies.
  • CLICK HERE for more information on eligibility criteria
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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Level 5 (Undergraduate) & Level 6 (Graduate)
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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