Amb Kenji Shnoda

Fireside Chat with His Excellency Mr Kenji Shinoda and Rear Admiral Mr Lui Tuck Yew, 11 April 2017

On 11 April 2017, Oxbridge Society members enjoyed a “double bill” Fireside chat with the Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, His Excellency Mr Kenji Shinoda and Singapore’s Ambassador (designate) to Japan, Rear Admiral Mr Lui Tuck Yew. The event took place at Tony and Melanie Chew’s home. Our President, Paul Supramaniam as moderator encouraged both ambassadors to discuss weighty issues such as how Japan and Singapore should navigate the South China Sea in the light of various completing claims, the reverberations from North Korea’s recent nuclear tests, what role will America play in Asia in the light of its stated “America First” doctrine, as well as the respective roles of Russia, Japan and Singapore. The recent Abe Trump summit was also discussed together with the joint declaration issued following the summit. With their wealth of experience on geo-political affairs, members were treated to a masterclass on foreign and military policy in Asia with important lessons learnt for both Singapore and Japan. Members also joined in a lively exchange of ideas on the importance of the Singapore- Japan relationship and how this could be further enhanced.

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Commemorative Dinner and Fireside to promote a Singapore – University of Oxford partnership (24 March 2017)

(Many thanks to Oxford alumnus Elaine Z for the wonderful photographs. You can view more of her work at elainezphoto.com)

Our condolences and message of support after the 22 March 2017 attack in the vicinity of Parliament in Westminster

HE Scott Wightman,
British High Commissioner,
Singapore

23rd March 2017, Singapore

Dear Scott,

Like hundreds of millions around the world, we as the Oxbridge Alumni in Singapore stand shoulder to shoulder with the brave and resolute British people in condemning the horrid terrorist attack yesterday in the vicinity of Parliament in Westminster.

By their attack yesterday on London, capital of the United Kingdom but also one of the world’s truly international cities and home to hundreds of thousands of other nationalities, including many Singaporeans, these cowards have shown their depravity, making us all as global citizens even more determined to stand shoulder to shoulder to protect the global values shared by all of us and all major religions, of love to our fellow man, respect for diversity, tolerance and the desire collectively to live in peace and harmony.

Please accept our support and solidarity at this time, and our condolences for those innocently killed or injured in the attack.

Yours, Paul

Dato Paul Supramaniam
President, Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore

-

Dear Paul,

Many thanks to you and to the Oxbridge Alumni for your message of support and solidarity. At this time our thoughts are with those directly affected and their families and friends.

Despite our geographical distance, the UK and Singapore always feel close, with so many deep personal ties, and our connections through education, including alumni societies, are incredibly strong. This is a reminder to all of us to stay united against the threat of terrorism, which seeks to destroy the basic freedoms enjoyed by all people, regardless of nationality or background.

As Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday the location of the attack was no accident. “The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest Parliament – are ingrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.

That is why it is a target for those who reject those values…any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure.

Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal.

And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City – will get up and go about their day as normal.

They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.

And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.

All the very best, Scott

Fireside Chat with Han Fook Kwang : Media in a Post-Truth Age (17 March 2017)

Date: 17 March 2016
Location: 6B Cluny Park

“Fake news” reportedly played a role in the recent United States election, and US President Donald Trump has accused mainstream media of spreading “fake news”. They in turn accuse him of half truths and “alternative facts”. Are we now living in a post truth age, and if so what challenges and responsibilities do the media have in such an age and what role should they play?


We were reminded that “fake news” was not necessarily a recent phenomena and there have been similar incidents of fake news more than 100 years ago. However, the advent of the digital revolution meant that today there are now many more alternative sources of information/misinformation available digitally, not least contributed to by the rise of citizen journalism and bloggers. Social media sites also served as digital filters and echo-chambers as its participants recirculated already filtered news within the group.

Under the circumstances, the idea that truth and news had to be curated by a smaller group of people such as journalists was now under threat, as subscription based internet versions of print media have further demonstrated that these are not economically viable, with consumers so used to free information on the internet.

While media and newspapers continue to struggle to find the right business models to stay viable, a comforting thought was that with the huge variety of unfiltered information, misinformation and outright lies on the internet, readers may eventually gravitate back to trusted sources of curated news and media in the search for truth.


About the speaker: 



Mr Han Fook Kwang is Editor-at-Large at The Straits Times, and a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was in the Administrative Service of the Singapore Government before joining The Straits Times in 1989. He was Editor of the paper from 2002 to 2012, when he was appointed Managing Editor, and later Editor-at-Large. He was founding chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which provides financial assistance to needy students. Mr Han graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in mechanical engineering under a Colombo Plan scholarship, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University. He has co-authored several books on Singapore’s founding Prime Minister: Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas, Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, and One Man’s View of the World.