Welcome Remarks by Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Office of The National Library Board, at The Official Book Launch of ‘Chapters on Asia: Selected Papers from The Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship (2014-2016)’ on 27 February 2018

Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

1. Good evening and thank you very much everyone for being here. We are pleased to launch this book, which features nine essays by recipients of the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship from 2014 to 2016. I would like to thank the nine researchers for contributing to this book. These research papers were written with the help of the variety of resources from the National Library’s collections. These essays provide rich insights into lesser-known aspects of Singapore and Southeast Asia’s history.

2. For instance, Venkat Subramanian Narayanan looks at how the works of Singapore Tamil writers have reflected social transformations here, from independence till 2015. Adeline Foo examines the lives of the “lancing” girls from the 1940s and 50s – cabaret hostesses who got their name from a Singlish version of the word “dancing”. Wilbert Wong looks at the Malay Peninsula in John Crawfurd’s ideas on ethnology and world history while Lee Ching Seng studies early printing in the Chinese language. These are just some of the fascinating topics studied by our Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows.

3. The Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship is one of two fellowship programmes by the National Library. Since it began in 2005, it has been awarded to 53 researchers. With this fellowship, we aim to facilitate new research and publishing about Singapore and Southeast Asian culture, economy and heritage. Not only do the essays further the cause of scholarship in general, they also enrich the collections of our Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

4. Our other programme is the George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship for Southeast Asia Collections. This has been awarded to 6 fellows so far since its commencement in 2015, thanks to the generosity of Mr and Mrs George Lyndon Hicks. I would like to thank all our Fellows for their support of our programmes, and for contributing to the research of our national history.

5. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome more scholars and researchers to tap on our resources and work with us, as well as more librarians, curators, archivists and collectors to collaborate with us. The applications for the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship and George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship 2018 are now open. We look forward to receiving more applications. Together, we can pursue new knowledge frontiers, and develop our library’s collections for the present and future generations. Thank you.