IPS Community Leaders Integration Conference


The Institute of Policy Studies convened a series of closed-door dialogues this year between leaders from immigrant associations and local civic organisations.

The aims of this initiative were as follows:

  1. Foster a better understanding of the challenges of integration among community leaders from different immigrant groups and civic organisations.
  2. Find ways for civic organisations to provide leadership in promoting integration

We are now bringing together leaders from all the immigrant associations and civic organisations we had engaged in a public conference focusing on integration. They would be joined by policy makers, academics and other interested parties.

We would like to invite you to attend this conference. There will be three sessions at this conference.

The first will summarise the findings of the closed-door dialogues we had conducted. Panelists will discuss how immigrant associations can play a role in fostering good relations between local-born Singaporeans and new immigrants. Examples of such integration efforts will be showcased along with the challenges they encountered.

The second session will discuss the norms and values that civic organisations and immigrant group leaders believe are important for social cohesion. The panel will consider how Singaporean norms and values can be better communicated to new immigrants.

The final session will consider what needs to be done to better integrate immigrants into Singaporean society. The panel will deal with the challenges and the prospects of immigrants integrating into and feeling a sense of allegiance to the nation.

There will be ample time during the conference for participants to engage the panelists in discussion.




AMEEN Talib_80x100AMEEN Talib grew up between Aden (Yemen), Singapore, England and Cairo (Egypt). He obtained his degree in BCom (Accounting) from Ain Shams University, Cairo in 1983. He further obtained his MSc (Accounting and Finance) from London School Economics, England in 1985 and his Doctorate from Warwick Business School, Warwick University, in 2003. Dr Ameen’s thesis was on Performance Measures and Resource Allocation.

He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) having practiced in United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore with KPMG Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young. He was an Assistant Professor with NUS Business School, National University of Singapore (NUS) from 1991 to July 2003. He left NUS to focus on his consulting business (www.atassociates.com).

Dr Ameen is currently an Adjunct Professor with Maastricht School of Management. Dr Ameen has lectured Accounting, Management Control, Finance and Managerial Economics at undergraduate and graduate level in various locations including the United Kingdom, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Peru, India, Zambia, Rwanda, Mongolia, China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Poland, Kuwait, Surinam and Singapore. His vast travels gave him tremendous international exposure. Ameen has conducted various training programs and have published extensively.

In addition to his academic and training experience and auditing experience, Dr Ameen also has vast consulting experience in Singapore, Dubai, Kuwait, Thailand and Indonesia. He is also Founder and Managing Director of Café Le Caire group; a hospitality group based in Singapore.

Dr Ameen has served in numerous Management Boards of voluntary organisations and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and is currently a Member of the Board of Management of The Middle East Institute, NUS. He is also the Chairman of The Research Institute for Malay and Islamic Affairs (RIMA), Singapore.


Yoga Dirga CAHYA_80x100Yoga Dirga CAHYA came to Singapore in 2004 with a grant from Ministry of Education to study biological sciences in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). After graduation, he served his bond at National Environment Agency for 4.5 years. For the past few years, he has been actively involved in various organizations, such as President of Indonesian Communities Forum in Singapore, President of Indonesian Professional Association, Chairman of Enchanting Indonesia, and Exco of Indonesia Students’ Association. He is the Chairman of Tim Advokasi TKI, a proxies organisation that aimed to assist Indonesian migrant workers overseas.


ChiangWaiFong_80x100CHIANG Wai Fong (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. As a trained Linguistic Anthropologist, her main areas of research are heritage language maintenance, language ideologies, language management, and intergenerational language negotiations. She is currently working on a monograph that reviews the Education Study Team Report published in 1979, and is a co-editor for a book on managing diversity in Singapore. Her forthcoming publications include a journal paper on the effects of religious conversions on heritage language maintenance. She was formerly an Associate Faculty and Course Developer at the English Language and Literature Department, SIM University. Prior to her postgraduate studies, Dr Chiang was a Correspondent with Lianhe Zaobao, and a Research Officer with the Oral History Centre. She currently writes a column at the Lianhe Zaobao on language and social issues.


Chung_Ting_Fai_80x100CHUNG Ting Fai was born in Hong Kong on 3rd June 1964. He came to Singapore as a child, received his education here and became a Singapore Citizen. He graduated in 1989 from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelor of Law (Honors) Degree and was called to the bar in March 1990. He started his legal career in private practice and was an Associate at several medium-sized law firms before setting up his own practice, Messrs Chung Tan & Partners in 1995 and Messrs Chung Ting Fai & Co in 2007. His practice covers a wide spectrum of legal functions had advised clients in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Some of Mr Chung’s clients include the followings; Government of the People’s Republic of China, The HK SAR government, Renault, Cathay Pacific, China Insurance, Bank of China, Xinhua News Agency, Commonwealth Travel Services CTC, Chen Fuji, Singa China Travel Services, Siloso Beach Resort, Challenger Limited, Chesterton Properties Pte Ltd.

In recent years Mr Chung has been helping clients out of difficult situations in China. He is also a Mediator in Jinan Shandong Province PRC and Arbitrator in Qinzhou Guangxi Province PRC. Apart from his legal work, Mr Chung is frequently invited to speak at business forums and in international seminars. He has been invited to address the Shanghai Intellectual Property Source Center in April 2005 on Intellectual Property Protection in Asean and to deliver a paper on 4th China-ASEAN Forum on Legal Cooperation and Development in November 2010 in Chongqing, China. He is also frequently invited to speak at seminars to advice on doing business in China and Singapore and lectured on law. He pens a column “Legal Affairs” in Lianhe Zaobao. Besides his legal work, Mr Chung is also active in community work. He is a recipient of the Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2000. He was appointed as Assistant Registrar of marriage in 2006 and headed the Hong Kong Community in Singapore as President of Kowloon Club from 1998 to 2009.


Danish Sohail SULTAN_80x100DANISH Sohail Sultan was born in India, brought up in Pakistan, travelled the globe for 16 years as a Merchant Marine, lived in Maryland, Hong Kong and settled in Singapore. He is a Master Mariner who commanded VLCCs and now the Managing Director and share holder of PacMarine Services a Marine Surveying and Consultancy firm for the Oil Majors. Mr Sultan is Aassociated with the Singapore Pakistani Association for over 10 years, currently a Vice President of the SPA. In collaboration with Mercy Relief, Mr Sultan participated in relief efforts for the earthquake and flood victims. He is also actively involved in supporting the education charity “The Citizens Foundation”, climbed the Kilimanjaro to raise funds.


Janadas_80x100Janadas DEVAN is Director of the Institute of Policy Studies. He was educated at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Cornell University in the United States. He taught English in various institutions in Singapore and the US, and later wrote for a range of publications in the region, before joining The Straits Times in 1997. He served as the paper’s Leader Writer for many years, writing unsigned editorials on a wide variety of subjects. He wrote a weekly column on politics and economics, in which he covered international and domestic developments. He also wrote a column on language for The Sunday Times. In 2008, he became the Editor of the paper’s opinion pages, and in 2010, became the paper’s Associate Editor. He also did a weekly radio broadcast, “Call from America”, for Radio Singapore International, from 2000 to 2008, on American life and society. He left The Straits Times in July 2012 on being appointed the Government’s Chief of Communicationsat the Ministry of Communications and Information.


Josie_Fu_80x100Josie FU is currently serving as the Chief Public Relations Representative of the Singapore Loving & Giving Society. Her full-time job is with EMC, a Forbes 500 company. Before joining EMC, she worked for six years in the financial and insurance sectors covering the Chinese market. She graduated with the Degree of Master of Science Management from the University of Wales in 2011.



JI Yun_80x100JI Yun is an Assistant Professor of the Buddhist College of Singapore (BCS). Dr Ji received his PhD from Fudan University in 2006. His research encompasses the study of Buddhism within the philological studies of Buddhist written texts, the collecting of biographical materials of monks, and the anthropological studies of religion. His dissertation “A Study on the Biographies of Eminent Monks” was published in early 2009. Dr Ji also published another scholarly book in 2011 and over 10 research papers in the past 6 years. Two other translation pieces which exceed a total of 700 pages will be published shortly. He is also an active columnist for the local flagship Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao. He writes on problems stemming from the local vibrant and ever-changing society. As a fulltime Lecturer of BCS, Dr Ji is now engaged in teaching subjects such as Buddhist Languages, Buddhist Literature, Institution of Buddhist Sangha and Buddhist arts. Dr Ji also assists in overseeing the operation of the college’s Academic Office and the Monastery’s library.


Joanna Jiao_80x100Joana JIAO writes for LianHe ZaoBao about integration of new citizens in Singapore, and the columnist for Magazine “Migrate to China”. Currently, she is the Director of Shanghai JiaoTong University Industrial of Project Innovation Institute Center. She is also the Lecturer of Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) at Shanghai JiaoTong University since 2009 teaching a course on Character Psychology. Ms Jiao is the executive committee of Tianfu Association, which is the earliest local organisation for integrating new citizens. She is also a Team Member of Kampong Chai Chee Integration and Naturalisation Champions actively building the aspiration of local-born Singaporeans and new immigrants for greater social cohesion as well as addressing potential tension points.


Koh_Buck_Song_80x100KOH Buck Song is a Singaporean Consultant in strategic communications, branding, leadership and corporate social responsibility. For more than 20 years, he has done advisory work for the Singapore government on quality of life, nation branding, economic strategy, foreign investment promotion, entrepreneurship, urban planning, national security, environmental stewardship, international media relations, market competition and policies on media, heritage, arts and culture.

He is the Author and Editor of over 20 books, including Brand Singapore: How Nation Branding Built Asia’s Leading Global City (2011), the first study of Singapore’s country branding, which has an edition in Chinese published in China (2012). He has spoken on Singapore’s global brand overseas including at Shanghai, Melbourne and Putrajaya; and at universities including Harvard, MIT, Chicago, Melbourne and Fudan.

His other books include Perpetual Spring on Gardens by the Bay, and works on 100 years of electricity in Singapore, 50 years of investment promotion, 40 years of public housing and 20 years of white-collar crime-busting. He has published three volumes of poetry and has edited literary anthologies including Singapore: Places, Poems, Paintings (1993) and From Boys To Men: A Literary Anthology Of National Service in Singapore (2002). He was General Editor of the national multilingual arts journal Singa in the 1990s. He has represented Singapore abroad including as poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, and at literary events including at Cambridge, Harvard, MIT and Manila.

As Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Integrative CSR Consulting, he now helps organisations in leadership, CSR and branding. He is co-founder of the social movement Ageless in Singapore, promoting an “ageless” society with a new mindset on ageing. He also serves as Policy Fellow, International Longevity Centre Singapore, and on the international advisory board of Global Medical Knowledge, a non-profit in the USA. He is the author of a study on a national strategy for end-of-life care in Singapore (2011) for the Lien Foundation.

Previously, with The Straits Times (1988–99), he was a regular columnist for over 10 years, and literary editor and supervisor on the Political Desk, Life! section, and Sunday Review. He was a regular columnist for The Straits Times on leadership (2004-05) and for Today on world affairs (2003-04, filed from Harvard).

He was Head of global media relations and strategic planning (1999-2005) at the Singapore Economic Development Board, where he led a team to devise the “global entrepolis” concept for Singapore, and has edited two books on Singapore’s foreign investment (2002 and 2012).

As Head, Public Affairs (Southeast Asia) at communications consultancy Hill & Knowlton (2005-10), his work included the global positioning of Gardens by the Bay, Fusionopolis and National Art Gallery, and on public engagement including the environment and total defence.

He has a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of government, and degrees in English from Cambridge and in education from London University. He taught leadership as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and media policy at the Singapore Management University.

A current Board Member of the Media Development Authority and previously the National Arts Council, he has served on many citizen panels including as Chairman of the Drama Review Committee and Newspapers Sub-committee, Publications Advisory Panel. He was Deputy Chairman, Censorship Review Committee 2010, and is the only person to have served on all three such committees, including those of 1992 and 2003.


Lai Ah Eng_80x100LAI Ah Eng is Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore (NUS) and was until recently Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, NUS. Trained in Economics (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Development Studies (Sussex) and Social Anthropology (Cambridge), her research fields are in migration and diversity; multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion; local histories and heritages; and family and gender. Her past projects include ethnic relations, intercultural dialogues, and ethnic and religious diversity in Singapore; migration and diversity in Asia with a focus on immigration, integration, social cohesion and multiculturalism; family transformation and resilience in Asia; and life histories of immigrant and local women in Singapore. Her recent and major publications include Navigating Disconnects and Divides in Singapore’s Cultural Diversity (2013); Migration and Diversity in Asian Contexts (co-edited), 2013; How Fares the Family? Resilience and Transformation of Families in Asia (co-edited, 2011); ‘Talent’ Migration In and Out of Asia: Challenges for Policies and Places (co-edited) 2008; Religious Diversity in Singapore (edited), 2008; Beyond Rituals and Riots: Ethnic Pluralism and Social Cohesion in Singapore (edited) 2004; and Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Singapore (authored) 1995 which won the Singapore National Book Council Highly Recommended prize. She currently teaches two modules `Religious Issues in the Contemporary World’ and `Singapore Studies: Multiculturalism and its Contested Meanings’. She is also active as a Public Commentator and in intercultural work with other activists


MathewMathews_80x100MATHEW Mathews is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore where he leads the Society and Identity cluster. He formerly taught at the University’s Sociology department. His research and publications have examined a number of issues related to social cohesion – race, religion and foreigner-local interactions. He also frequently works on research related to the family and social service provision. His recent publications that deal with race and religion include an article on religious freedom and one on the social integration of immigrants into multiracial Singapore. He is also finalising an edited volume discussing the Singaporean experience of managing diversity through social policies. Dr Mathew is well involved in the community and serves as President of Alive Community Network, a social service agency and on the board of One People.sg, among other appointments.


Clement MESENAS_80x100Clement MESENAS is a third generation Filipino Singaporean, with 40 years in journalism with The Straits Times, Kuwait Times, Dubai Gulf News and a pioneer editor with TODAY newspaper (covered three warfronts – the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and the Lebanese conflict). He is now managing the Pinoy Star social media platform for the Filipino migrant community comprising a print magazine, an online version of the magazine, a Facebook page, and an online radio station. Pinoy Star Mission: Connecting the 10 million Overseas Filipinos with their families back home 24/7 with timely news, advice and music. Pinoy Star also encourages and foster social cohesion with the staging of annual events involving the Filipino community and other communities in Singapore.


V P NAIR_80x100V P NAIR is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Nair Cardiac & Medical Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore. He graduated with MBBS, Lucknow, MRCP (U K), MRCP (Ireland), and MRCGP (London) and worked in the Cardiology Departments in England and Singapore. He then obtained further post graduate qualifications – FRCP (Ireland), FRCGP (U K), FRCP (Edinburgh), FAMS (Cardiology, Singapore), FCCP(USA), FACC (USA), FRCP (London), FESC (Europe) and FAPSIC (Interventional Cardiology, Asia-Pacific). His balloon angioplasty and Stenting training were at the Regional Cardio-Thoracic Centre, New Castle Up on Tyne England, San Francisco Heart Institute USA, Cleveland Clinic USA and Broussais University Hospital, Paris, France.

Dr Nair has published many scientific papers in medical journals and interesting articles in magazines. He has addressed many regional and International Cardiology conventions including the World Congress of Cardiology and held many responsible positions in the academic and medical fraternity. Besides this, Dr Nair is involved in many social, cultural, educational, sports and voluntary activities including being the President of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin.


PRADEEP Paul_80x100PRADEEP Paul is Director, Corporate Communications Division, MOH Holdings Pte Ltd. Born in Calcutta, India, he moved to Singapore in 1993 to join the Singapore Press Holdings where he was a journalist with The Straits Times, and later, Editor of Tabla. Pradeep has been a Singapore citizen since 2003 and served as a member of the National Integration Council.



Prakash Hetamsaria_80x100PRAKASH Hetamsaria founded the BiJhar (Singapore) Society in 2006 with the main objective of promoting art, culture, festivals and history of Bihar and Jharkhand among members and fostering their integration into Singapore society. He spearheaded various charity initiatives both in Singapore and India such as Blood Donation drive, visits to homes for under-privileged and handicapped, providing computers, sewing machines, study tables, chairs and aids to needy villagers in India. He also organized activities to promote healthy work-life balance through programme such as family retreat, sports activities, knowledge sharing sessions, yoga session. His interest in this group help to grow the membership from the initial number of 100 to a current membership of over 300. Mr Prakash is also instrumental in helping new immigrants to settle down and integrate with local community. He has led members to participate in various events in Chingay, River Hongbao, Orange Ribbon Walk. He pioneered the formation of Ayer Rajah – West Coast Neighbourhood Committee in 2007 and organized various activities to promote social harmony and neighbourliness among residents with an outreach of over 12,000 residents. He initiated the “Earth Hour” event to promote recycling, reuse and reduce since 2009 and engaged over 2000 residents to participate in Earth Hour 2013. He led a new outreach group in 2012, West Coast Park NC in reaching out to more than 6,000 residents of multi-racial ethnic background in West Coast division. He was elected to lead the first Blue Horizon Management Council and served for five years in 2007 to 2009 and being a Council Member 2011 to till date. He advises on the management of facilities and services covering 617 households comprising residents from different nationalities, engaging residents through various events and activities.


Vincent SCHOON is Project and Marketing Director of IT Technologies. He is the current 1st Vice-President of The Eurasian Association, Singapore and a Board Member of OnePeople.sg, a ground-up national bodyfocused on building racialand religious harmony.


SOH Yi Da_80x100SOH Yi Da is a fourth year undergraduate reading Political Science in the National University of Singapore. In the university, Yi Da currently serves as the President of the 35th NUS Students’ Union. Formerly, he was also the President of the NUS Students’ Political Association. As a young community activist, Yi Da has pioneer nationwide ground-up initiatives such as the Be The Change Youth Consultation Exercise as well as the Envisioning Education Conference. In addition, Yi Da also spearheaded key national initiatives such as the National Family Celebrations and SHINE Youth Festival. Highly passionate about the Chinese community’s culture and heritage, Yi Da also serves on the Youth Chapter of his alma mater Hwa Chong’s Alumni Association, Federation of Chinese Schools Alumni and Tan Kah Kee International Society. Beyond his community contributions, Yi Da is also an avid socio-political commentator who pen thought pieces pertaining to Singapore society.


Tan_Ern_Ser_80x100TAN Ern Ser is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Head, Social Lab, Institute of Policy Studies, at the National University of Singapore. He received his PhD in Sociology from Cornell University, USA. Dr Tan has written on social stratification, welfare policy, ethnic relations, and politics and democracy. He is Author of “Does Class Matter? Social Stratification and Orientations in Singapore (2004)”. He completed a study on social stratification in Singapore in 2011, a sequel to his 2001 study on the same subject. He is also Co-Principal Investigator of Asian Barometer-Singapore (with Dr Gillian Koh), as well as World Values Survey-Singapore (with UniSIM researchers).

Dr Tan has served as principal consultant to the National Orientations of Singaporeans (NOS) survey series I-IV, and a consultant to the National Survey of Senior Citizens 2005 and 2011, the Learning Needs of Senior Citizens Survey 2008, as well as REACH. He is also a MSF Research Adviser, and a member of the HDB Research Advisory Panel. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2013.


Alain Vandenborre_80x100Alain VANDENBORRE is an Entrepreneur and Private Investor. He founded his first company in Belgium at the age of 26, developing new laser technologies for microelectronic design applications. In Singapore he is the Co-Founder and shareholder of Freeport Management Pte Ltd – formerly known as The Singapore Freeport Pte Ltd (www.singaporefreeport.com) as well as the Co-Founder and shareholder of Art Heritage Singapore Pte Ltd, the company redeveloping the Singapore national heritage Fort Canning building into a privately managed art museum dedicated to private collections under the name of Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris.

His main portfolio of businesses today includes: Singapore Diamond Exchange Pte Ltd – Executive Chairman and Founder (www.sdx.sg), Malca-Amit Precious Metals Ltd – Director and Co-Founder (www.malca-amit-freeport.com) and Art & Investment Services Pte Ltd – Chairman and Founder (www.ais-sg.com). His past professional activities include different positions in the private equity and venture capital industry where he served several years from 2001 to 2006 as Chairman of the Asia Pacific Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

He is currently a Member of the International Advisory Board of New York listed group ARIS/Argo group, the largest title insurer to the art world and a Board Member at Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore. Mr Vandenborre is a Director of The Red Pencil Ltd and passionately supporting this international humanitarian foundation founded by his wife Mrs Laurence Vandenborre in 2012 and whose mission is to rescue or assist, through art therapy, children in Asia who are caught in overwhelming situations such as natural disasters, conflict zones and long-term hospitalisation (www.redpencil.org)

Mr Vandenborre holds a MA in Astrophysics from the University of Liege, an Optoelectronics Engineering Degree from the University of Paris and a Post-graduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Brussels. In 1978, at the age of 17, he was awarded the National Young Scientist Award of Belgium. From 1984 to 1989 he was appointed Lecturer in Optical and Quantum Physics at the University of Liege and from 1992 to 1995 he was appointed Lecturer at the University of Brussels HEC and Solvay Business School. His lectures covered topics like Corporate Strategy, Finance and Shareholder Value Creation. He has published two books on Singapore: “Proudly Singaporean – My Passport to a Challenging Future”, published by SNP in August 2003, and “The Little Door to the New World”, published by SNP International in September 2005.


WANG Xin Bin_80x100WANG Xin Bin is the Chief Executive Officer of Everbright Business Consultancy Ltd, which specializes in consultancy services for companies with interests in Greater China, Singapore and ASEAN in these aspects: due diligence, accounting, auditing and internal control, taxation, corporate finance, particularly related to IPO (Initial Public Offering), PE (Private Equity), VC (Venture Capital) and family offices, Business presentations, negotiations, English-Chinese translations and interpretations. Mr Wang has a deep understanding of the political and financial landscapes of Singapore and China. He also has clear and current insights about the economical, legal, cultural, and historical aspects of these countries. Mr Wang also has deep professorial knowledge and valuable experience in his very wide networks in Singapore and Greater China.

Mr Wang is proficient in Chinese and English. He also possesses excellent interpersonal skills, particularly in dealing with partners and associates from Greater China. Mr Wang is currently a Member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Chartered Financial Analyst, Council Member of Hua Yuan General Association of New Immigrants from China, member of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and member of the Singapore Institute of Directors. He had eight years of working experience in a global Chinese state-own corporation in Beijing, China, before coming to Singapore for his full-time studies in 1998 on a Singapore government scholarship. Mr Wang has achieved his ACCA and CFA qualifications. He has since worked in various local and multinational firms including Citibank and OCBC bank.




Media Report

Saturday, 16 November 2013
9.00 am – 2.30 pm