Roundtable@SAM: Art & the Big Ideas of a Small Nation - Democracy


The second of five roundtables on Art & the Big Ideas of a Small Nation, experts across diverse fields are invited to share how the value of Democracy affects and influences their experiences, expectations, and visions of the individual, communities, and the state.

This Roundtable is part of the Crescent Project: Art Embraces All for the exhibition, 5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress.


Dr Cherian George

Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Hong Kong Baptist University

Cherian George is a writer and academic engaged in journalism research, education and advocacy. He is an associate professor in the journalism department of Hong Kong Baptist University. He has written three books and will soon release his latest publication Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracy (MIT Press, 2016). Cherian received his Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University, has a Masters from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and an undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University.

Dr Gwee Li Sui

Writer, Graphic Artist and Literary Critic

Gwee Li Sui is a poet, a graphic artist, and a literary critic. With several works of verse to his name, he also authored FEAR NO POETRY!: An Essential Guide to Close Reading (2014) and edited Singathology: 50 New Writings by Celebrated Singaporean Writers (2015) among others. He wrote Singapore’s first full-length graphic novel in English, Myth of the Stone (1993), which has since been re-released in an expanded twentieth-anniversary edition. A familiar name in Singapore’s literary scene, he has written and lectured on a range of cultural subjects.

Kuik Shiao-yin

Co-founder, The Thought Collective, Singapore

Together with her two founding partners, Kuik Shiao-Yin runs a group of social businesses known as The Thought Collective whose mission is to build up the social and emotional capital of their city. They create strategic media, events and programmes that facilitate public conversations for the common good. Outside of the Collective, she served the public sector as a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2014-2015. She speaks regularly on innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, resilience and the power of personal story.

Shirley Soh

Visual Artist, Singapore

Shirley Soh is a visual artist, erstwhile journalist and corporate executive. She received her Honours degree in political science and her Master’s in new media and communication, both at NUS. In between, she obtained a diploma in applied arts, and a fine art degree. Interested in how individuals, community, economy and the environment interdependently connect in constantly shifting ways, she has worked with various communities including migrant workers and prison inmates. Shirley currently lectures part-time at LASALLE College of the Arts.


Dr Kenneth Paul Tan

Associate Professor & Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS)

Kenneth Paul Tan is Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) and Associate Professor at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. His research interests focus on Singapore politics, society, and culture; he has published in leading international journals and has authored many books such as Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007). He is the founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s board of directors and sits on the board of directors of theatre company The Necessary Stage.


5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress is SAM’s salute to Singapore’s Golden Jubilee and the five stars on the Singapore flag which represent universal humanist values. Engaging with these “big ideas” through contemporary art, 5 Stars is an exhibition of five specially commissioned works, curated to encourage contemplation of what these shared human ideals mean in the present day, and how they might continue to help us envision our futures.


Concession eligibility:

(1) Students (full-time, with valid student pass issued by the enrolled institution)

(2) Senior Citizen (60 yrs & above, with valid identity pass showing proof of age)

(3) NSF (with valid 11B pass)

(4) SAM Docents: Friends of the Museums/ Museum Volunteers/Chinese Research Group (through Singapore Art Museum's counter only)

(5) Staff of Ministry of Culture, Communication and Youth, National Heritage Board, National Arts Council, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore Tyler Print Institute


  • The event description was updated. Diff#140891 2016-01-11 13:35:30
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Mon Jan 18, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM SGT
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Standard SOLD OUT $10.00
Concession SOLD OUT $8.00
Venue Address
71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555 Singapore
2-min walk from Bras Basah MRT, 10-min walk from Dhoby Ghaut, Bugis or City Hall MRT stations.
Singapore Art Museum