Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin has been Minister for Social and Family Development since 9 April 2015. Mr. Tan's priorities include going upstream to pre-empt developing issues, improving the coordination of aid for the vulnerable, strengthening support for families amidst evolving trends, and galvanising the larger community to care for the less fortunate around them. These, he believes, will strengthen efforts to build a more caring Singapore society, and a better home for families and children.
Previously, as Minister for Manpower (1 May 2014 to 8 April 2015), Mr. Tan led the charge in creating better jobs and raising incomes for Singaporeans, while helping to strengthen retirement adequacy. Mr. Tan introduced the Silver Support scheme, increased older workers’ CPF contribution rates to better support the elderly, and worked with tripartite partners to review re-employment age. He oversaw the implementation of the Progressive Wage Model to provide structured training and career progression pathway for workers to earn better wages. Mr. Tan introduced the Fair Consideration Framework to ensure a level employment playing field for Singaporeans. Employment legislation and dispute management system were improved to reinforce fair and progressive workplace practices. This included amending the Employment Act to better protect Professionals, Managers and Executives, the Industrial Relations Act to provide more options for representation of executives at the workplace, and the setting up of the Employment Claims Tribunal, a more accessible system to resolve salary-related claims. Mr. Tan also instituted the WorkRight programme to ensure workers know their rights and employers to comply with employment standards. Workplace safety systems were also strengthened. His previous appointments included Acting Minister for Manpower (1 August 2012 to 30 April 2014), Senior Minister of State for National Development (1 August 2012 to 1 September 2013) and Minister of State for National Development and Manpower (June 2011 to 31 July 2012).
Mr. Tan was elected Member of Parliament for Kembangan-Chai Chee, Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency in May 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Tan served in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for nearly 24 years. In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, he led the SAF's relief efforts to Meulaboh, Aceh in Indonesia. The mission provided much needed humanitarian assistance in an area that was devastated and cut off. This remains the SAF's largest military operation to date.
An avid sportsman, Mr. Tan serves as the President of the Singapore National Olympic Council. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Singapore-Liaoning Economic and Trade Council.
Born in 1969, Mr. Tan studied in Anglo-Chinese School and Raffles Junior College. He was awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship to study Economics at the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom. Mr. Tan holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from King's College London. In 2008, he completed a Master's Degree in Public Management at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.
Mr. Tan is married with two children. He enjoys running and photography. In 2014, he published a book capturing his travel photographs and has auctioned his prints in support of charitable causes.
Upon graduation from NUS in 1985, Dr. Tan Lai Yong worked as a medical doctor in Singapore. In 1996, he and his wife, and one year old daughter moved to Yunnan, China, and joined a community development team, working with the poverty affected in remote villages, caring for orphans, disabled children and leprosy affected. In his 15 years on Yunnan, he had to cycle about 30 km daily, create innovative ways to teach health and hygiene to the different Minority Ethnic groups and villages, plan for “surgery camps” for cleft palate babies and other disabled people, and also initiated tree planting (e.g. walnut) efforts that led to thousands of trees being planted to help raise farm income and also reduce soil erosion.
As part of the China National Day celebrations in 2004, Dr. Tan was given the Friendship Award for Foreign Experts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an event that was graced by Premier Wen Jia Bao. Dr. Tan was also given the Singapore International Foundation (SIF Award) presented by Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and the 2005 Singapore MILK Fund (Mainly I Love Kids) Award for Outstanding Youth and Children’s Worker by President Nathan. In 2007, the Yunnan Provincial TV Station ran a series on people in Yunnan and the viewers voted Dr. Tan as one of the "Good Citizens of Kunming"（昆明好人）.
Dr. Tan has written several books and his first book, "Biting the Bamboo", about his experiences of work and life in Yunnan, is in its 5th printing. He also wrote the books "Two Ears But Only One Mouth – Reflections on Wisdom in Rural Yunnan" and "Pilgrims" – a photo-journal of life in a Dai Village in Xishuangbanna (a joint publication with photographer Andrew Chew). He is married to Lay Chin and has 2 teenage children.
Dr. June Goh is currently serving as president of SCWO (Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations). The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is the national coordinating body of women’s organisations in Singapore and have 58 member organisations that represent more than 500,000 women. One of SCWO's main aims is to champion the improvement of status of women in Singapore in all fields. She is also passionate about women’s family and health issues.
Dr. Goh is a Senior Consultant in Singapore General Hospital and the Director of Neuroanaesthesia and Neurocritical Care. She is very involved in teaching both medical students and post graduate doctors as member of the Core Faculty Anaesthesia Residency Programme, Adjunct Assistant Professor Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Clinical Lecturer in the Yong Loo Lin Medical School.
She chairs the STAR budding researcher’s award and the transplant oversight committee. She is also currently serving on the Dover Park Hospice Governing Council and co-chairs the fundraising committee.
She is an active member and past president of the Association of Women Doctors Singapore (AWDS) executive committee.
Sachitra Chitrakar has thirteen years of experience in international development with about five years in Afghanistan. She has mainly worked in South Asia and South East Asia region on various development and humanitarian programme. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations and M.Phil in Social Medicine and Community Health. She is currently a PhD Scholar working on socio-economic dimensions of unskilled migration from Nepal.
Dr. Linda Matar received her PhD in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She is currently a senior research fellow at NUS’s Middle East Institute (MEI). Her research involves the economics of the Arab region with particular emphasis on Syria. Since joining NUS, she has lectured on the development challenges facing the Middle East. Although trained as an economist, her research and teaching approaches have been interdisciplinary drawing on a variety of academic disciplines to present her argument and engage her audience. She invites students to think critically and to explore contemporary issues from a variety of angles. More recently, she has researched the politics and the economics of the Arab Spring. Dr. Matar is the author of "The Political Economy of Investment in Syria".
Satveer Kaur-Gill is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM), NUS and also a Yale Fox Fellow at Yale University. Satveer’s research areas include health and political communication. Specifically, she studies health experiences, inequalities, and disparities among impoverished communities. Her doctoral dissertation explores the relationship between cardiovascular disease, disparities, culture, and health in the Singaporean Malay community.
Satveer has also researched extensively on foreign domestic worker narratives of disenfranchisement in Singapore. Her other research projects include health experiences of migrant communities, the framing of migrant worker communities in media discourse, and health information seeking behaviours of Singaporeans.
Satveer recently received the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) Outstanding Scholarship for Social Justice Research Award. Satveer obtained her Master of Science (MSc) in International Public Policy from University College London in 2011 and her Bachelor of Social Science (BSc with Honors) from NUS.
Mrinalini Venkatachalam coordinates and executes all Public Awareness activities and Youth Initiatives at the Singapore Committee for UN Women. Her experience of over 9 years in the non-profit world has ranged from creating communications to generate awareness on mental health and improve the lives of the mentally ill through capacity building and sustainable livelihoods, to advocating accessibility and equal rights for people with disabilities through public interfaces and sign language training, to generating awareness on Solid Waste Management through radio programmes and awareness camps at local schools and slums in India, to her current role, where her priority is to generate awareness amongst the youth and public in Singapore on often neglected women's issues, such the many roles of women in society, respect for migrant women in the house, the incidence of violence against women, trafficking of women and children and other issues that affect us all, in an environment where they can so easily be forgotten due to the affluence our country enjoys.
Mrinalini did her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative English from a university in India and her Masters in Human Rights from Bangkok. She is a budding writer who loves to write and can conjure up a topic of interest with ease. She loves to read and no genre of books is beyond her horizons.
Now 36, Mel has gone through a lot – from two prison stints for drug-related offences, to enduring years of abuse from her previous partner and mothering seven children alone. Since she was released from prison in 2010, she has turned to dance to mentor other youths. She now runs a dance group, Plus Point, and is a bulwark to many of the boys there.
Debra Lam is the co-founder of Society Staples, a social enterprise advocating for an inclusive future for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Through team building workshops, school programs and community events, they create conversations and shift people’s perspectives about PWDs and provide avenues for organisations to be more inclusive.
From a young age, she witnessed the struggles, discrimination and inequalities her two brothers with autism faced. That set her off on a life-changing journey, combining her passion for sports with a cause she is deeply connected to.
She was featured in Her World Singapore’s 55th anniversary edition as one of the 55 female millennials to watch and her enterprise has also won the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Start-up of the Year 2015 and the ASEAN-China Start-up Young Entrepreneur Award 2015 among many other awards.
Debra is also pursuing a degree in Psychology and Sociology at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).
Michael Ong graduated with honors from NUS in 1995. His social work experiences ranges from counselling children with behavioral issues, counselling delinquent youths, and working with parents on family relationships. His passion and excellent work led to his receiving a full-scholarship from the McDonnell International Scholars Academy to pursue a Master's degree in social work at the prestigious George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Michael is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, as well as couple therapy and he has had experience with counselling people of diverse backgrounds – from USA, Singapore and Vietnam.
He is also the founder of Tea Talk (Vietnam) and the Centre for Counseling Research and Empowering Community (CoRE). He is a guest lecturer and social development consultant at several universities across Vietnam and is fluent in English, Vietnamese, and Mandarin. One of Michael’s many philosophies is, “Tell me a story and I will buy you a cup of coffee”. Michael believes that each and every person has a unique story to tell and that through the sharing of experiences and beliefs, people as well as society will become stronger, happier, and more united.
Michael is married to Jacqueline and has a teenage daughter, Grace. His family's life among the Vietnamese was featured in a documentary, produced by a Singaporean TV network, called "Find Me a Singaporean".
Jethro Wang is a founding member of ServisHero – a mobile first platform that connects consumers with local service professionals like plumbers and handymen. ServisHero was established in Malaysia in 2015, and expanded to Singapore and Thailand shortly after. Jethro graduated from the Warwick Business School with a degree in Business Management. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and product design.
As the Executive Director of UNSAID, I believe that the arts is a very powerful medium that can shed awareness and inspire conversations about social issues. Singapore is seen as a “conservative” society and we tend to not talk about certain touchy-feely subjects. Maybe it’s time to change that.
I joined UNSAID because I believe in the bombastic bond between youths and arts. We collaborate with young artists, focus on a theme, and together create work (video, theatre, writing, photography, etc) that hopefully inspire conversations. Using society as both the inspiration and canvas, we see a multitude of powerful works at play, getting people to talk about things that are left unsaid.