Thinkers in Society
9 March 2023
The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the structural inequalities and polarities that exist within our society. As we rush to embrace the New Normal, what are the lessons and ideas that we have learned from these past two years that will serve to improve the lived realities of those on the margins? How can we empower connection and solidarity that will reshape and overcome our differences?
Join our Thinkers in Society panel Teo You Yenn, Danish Fawaz and Lim Jingzhou to engage with these questions, as well as hear from the personal experiences of Kuik Shiao-Yin, Theophilus Kwek, and Annette Lee.
Deputy Secretary for Industry and Information, Ministry of Communications and Information
Aaron Maniam is the Deputy Secretary for Industry and Information at the Ministry of Communications and Information. Beyond his twenty years of dedicated public service, he also tirelessly volunteers in community building, inter-faith dialogue, and youth development. An avid contributor to Singapore's art scene, he has published two acclaimed volumes of poetry, contributed to many local and international poetry anthologies, and mentors young writers through the Creative Arts Programme and Mentor Access Programme.
Danish Fawaz is currently a practising Social Worker in the field of Corrections and Offender Rehabilitation. He has vast experiences working collaboratively with individuals, families and other stakeholders in the community to provide interventions such as counselling, case management, group and family work. Additionally, Danish has experiences working and volunteering with various community agencies and welfare homes in efforts to increase opportunities and enhance the strengths and potential of the underprivileged.
Lim serves as a Community Worker in the Cassia Resettlement Team, which seeks to support community members who are affected by involuntary public rental housing relocation. To raise awareness, he edited a book titled ‘They Told Us to Move: Dakota-Cassia’. He was also part of the legislative support team to ex-NMP Anthea Ong, including efforts at the Mental Health Advocacy Workgroup in Budget 2020. Jingzhou currently serves as the Housing Lead at the KeyStart programme at South Central Community Family Service Centre, where he supports families living in rental housing to buy their own homes.
Teo You Yenn
Teo You Yenn
Teo You Yenn is a sociologist whose research focuses on poverty and inequality, governance and state-society dynamics, gender, and class. She is the author of two books, Neoliberal Morality in Singapore: How family policies make state and society (2011) and This Is What Inequality Looks Like (2018). She is the founding co-editor of AcademiaSG, a collaboration among Singaporean scholars to promote Singapore studies and encourage discussion about intellectual life in Singapore.
Cultural change strategist, Executive Director of Common Ground, and former NMP
Shiao-Yin Kuik is a former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) who, in her time in public office, worked on nurturing cross-cultural harmony, strengthening national identity and building a compassionate culture. Today, she is a cultural change strategist and the Executive Director of Common Ground, a cultural change consultancy that provides strategic designing, training, facilitating and coaching services. In partnership with MCCY's Resilience & Engagement Division, Common Ground also leads a civic centre that helps build whole communities.
Writer, translator, editor and researcher
Kwek is a writer, translator, editor and independent researcher whose work has been published in numerous local and international publications. He was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014 and 2018. His pamphlet The First Five Storms was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award and won the inaugural New Poets’ Prize. His poetry addresses pressing contemporary issues such as the global refugee crisis, the demolition of traditional landmarks, and the experiences of migrant workers.
Filmmaker, actress, and singer
Annette Lee is a filmmaker, actress and singer whose work is consistently watched and loved by millions of people monthly. A former member of the SGAG video team, Annette has operated independently since 2020 to write, direct and perform her own viral video and parody song series. Beyond entertaining her audience, she has used her music to share messages of remaining resilient during moments of weakness, and has released two EPs and held a major live show at the Esplanade Theatre in 2022.