Yale-NUS College’s next president, Tan Tai Yong, has already left mark on community, curriculum

Tan Tai Yong, executive vice president for academic affairs at Yale-NUS College, has been named as the college’s next president by the Governing Board, following an extensive global search.

Tan, who will take up his new post on July 1, succeeds Pericles Lewis, the college’s founding president. Lewis will return to Yale to assume the combined role of vice president for global strategy and deputy provost for international affairs in the fall.

The announcement of the new president-elect was made March 14 by the co-chairs of the Presidential Search Committee: former Yale president Richard C. Levin, now chief executive officer of Coursera, and Tan Chorh Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore (NUS).



Sea Change Awaits Trump in Thailand

During the US election campaign and since, President Donald Trump and other members of his administration issued tough statements about China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea and promised to bulk up the US naval fleet. Thailand, both bilateral and multilateral treaty ally for the United States, may not be reassured. To be fair, as noted by author Benjamin Zawacki, Trump inherited cooling ties with Thailand from his predecessor who failed to secure a sustainable policy pivot to Asia. Thailand has been gradually improving relations with its neighbor China over the past two decades. Since the 2014 coup, China has become Thailand’s leading trade partner and the second largest source of foreign investment. Thailand joined the China-led Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank, and the two nations have expanded joint military drills. “In January, Thailand announced intentions to develop a joint weapons and defense industry to facilitate increased procurement of Chinese arms,” Zawacki writes. Other nations are run by their own nationalist leaders. If crisis strikes over the South China Sea or another issue in Southeast Asia, the Trump administration could discover that allies could play an oppositional role. – YaleGlobal


A major collection comes to the Yale University Art Gallery

The Dr. Walter Angst and Sir Henry Angest Collection of Indonesian Puppets

Ruth Barnes, the inaugural Thomas Jaffe Curator of Indo-Pacific Art, is pleased to announce that Yale University Art Gallery recently received the largest collection of Indonesian puppets and related material ever given to a collecting institution: 166 complete sets of wayang puppets from Java, Bali and Lombok are coming as a donation to the Gallery. Each set has between 50 and 250 individual puppets. The exact number still needs to be assessed, but it is likely to exceed 20,000. There are two main groups, wayang kulit (kulit = Indonesian/Javanese for ‘skin, hide’), which are played in the famous shadow puppet performances, and wayang golek (three-dimensional puppets with wooden heads and arms and stick bodies covered by clothing), used in open stage narrative enactments. A small third group consists of flat wooden puppets (wayang klitik). Sweeping in scope, the collection contains all elements needed to perform complete narratives such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata stories and represents regional iconographic variations found throughout western Indonesia. Bringing the collection to Yale University immediately creates the potential for a center for cultural and academic research related to wayang, which is at the core of Western Indonesian cultures. The collection will become a draw for scholarly research and heritage preservation of one of Indonesia’s most cherished performance traditions.


Yale Society of Singapore: “Cinema of China” FILM SERIES ~ Kickoff

The Yali Society of Singapore

“Cinema of China” FILM SERIES ~ Kickoff

HERO (99 min.)


With Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi

“This mature movie is a meditation on the nature of heroism, the purpose of violence, and what it takes to live in peace.”




INTRODUCTION by Prof Chee Keng Lee and POST SCREENING Q & A by Prof Lee and Jing Hu both of the Humanities Department at YALE-NUS – A Chinese Language Movie with Sub-titles

WHEN: Saturday, 25 March 2017 WHERE: The “Collections Room” at ’10 Scotts Road’ at the Grand Hyatt; Chinese buffet and beverages provided ; cash bar COST: $40 per person in advance, payable by PayPal. Due to space limitations, we suggest you reserve early. Payments by ‘waiting-list’ late-comers will be refunded.   For Registration: Contact Adam Click <ys-singapore@yalechina.org>

The YALI SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE is an initiative by the



2017 Spring Festival
FRIDAY March 3, 2017

5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Luce Hall Common Room
34 Hillhouse Avenue

Since spring of 2003, the faculty and students of the Yale Southeast Asia Language Studies Programs have organized and hosted an annual “Cultural Festival,” featuring displays and performances of regional arts, crafts, music and dance, along with a buffet dinner of Southeast Asian cuisine. The festival evenings have been open to the University and the public, and each year have attracted enthusiastic crowds of Yale students, faculty, and community participants.

Past festivals have featured Yale student and local community groups presenting songs, dances, fashion shows, photograph collections, and traditional crafts from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, and the Yale Gamelan Suprabanggo has provided small and large group performances. Festivals have also occasionally featured guest performers such as the Nguyen Dinh Nghia Family Ensemble playing traditional Vietnamese instruments, the Gamelan Dharma Swara and Balinese Dance Troupe from the Indonesian Consulate in New York, and the Amnaj Jatuprayoon Dance Troupe of NYC performing the Ramakien Thai Ramayana.

Commentary – Lessons of the Rohingya Genocide

A genocide is underway against the Rohingya of Myanmar. Chronic tensions and sporadic episodes of violent persecution of the group – an ethnic Muslim minority group based in Western Rakhine state, along Myanmar’s Bay of Bengal coast – have devolved into a concerted campaign over the past three months. As several recent reports document, in recent months security forces, allied militias, civil society organizations, and citizens have committed atrocities ranging from pillaging, looting, and forced displacement to rape, torture, and murder against the Rohingya.

While atrocities are not in and of themselves tantamount to “genocide,” a 2015 study conducted by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School found ample evidence that the violence against the Rohingya has indeed constituted violations of the United Nations Genocide Convention. The study concluded that the Rohingya constitute a distinct group by ethnicity and (vis-à-vis their perpetrators) religion (pp. 42-44) and that “the massive scale of the persecution, attacks, killing, and intentional displacement of Rohingya demonstrates intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part” (p.58). The 2016-17 violence took place after the release of the Yale report, but by all available accounts the pattern has conformed to precedent.


Urban Inscriptions, Democratic Imaginings, and the Public Sphere in Indonesia

A Talk by Karen Strassler

Monday February 13th 2017, at 4pm

Room 105, 10 Sachem St.  /   Dept. of Anthropology

Since the end of authoritarian rule in Indonesia in 1998, the urban street has become a particularly dense zone of communication. The unprecedented access to the street as a surface for inscription in the post-Suharto period has been celebrated as a material embodiment of a new democratic era of openness and popular participation. Yet the polyphony of the street with its chaotic mix of advertising, sloganeering, art, and graffiti also serves as a potent symbol of the breakdown of order that accompanied the end of state control over public discourse. Like pollution and traffic, the visual noise of the city has become a subject of public concern, spurring debate about who has the right to mark city surfaces, which kind of inscriptions are of value, and when and how public inscriptions should be regulated. These debates entail imaginings of and contests over the nature of the post-authoritarian public sphere.

Karen Strassler is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center. Her current research centers on media and the work of images in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere. Her book, Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java (Duke UP, 2010) examined the role of photography in the production of national subjects, spaces, and imaginaries in postcolonial Indonesia. She teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center.