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Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State

Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

Ministry of Communications and Information

Older But Wiser 1st interfaith panel

10 Oct 2019 in Singapore

Forum I"A Smooth Departure" 3pm &

Forum II "Grief -Separation 7 pm

General Secretary of
Singapore Kindness Movement;
Chairman of
Prison Fellowship Singapore
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Moderator for Forum I

Rev. Dr William Wan

Venerable Kanugolle Rathanasara

Founder and Spiritual Advisor of the Dhammakami Buddhist Society (DKBS); Spiritual Patron to Singapore Buddhist Fellowship

Venerable Rathanasara was born in the village of Kanugolle in South Eastern Sri Lanka. He was ordained as a novice monk in 1984 at the age of twelve, and he received his higher ordination (Upasampada) in 1998 at the Malwatu Maha Viharaya in Kandy, Sri Lanka. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Special) degree in Mass Communication and a Master of Arts degree in Buddhist Studies from the University of Kelaniya.


He was the Resident Monk of the Sri Lankaramaya Buddhist Temple in Singapore from 2001 to 2017 and presently serves full time as the Spiritual Advisor of Dhammakami Buddhist Society which he founded in 2007.


Venerable K. Rathanasara is a well-respected Dhamma teacher, author of many Dhamma books and also serves as Spiritual Patron in many Buddhist organisations.


Venerable K. Rathanasara’s Dhamma works can be found in and

Balqis Maricar

Ustazah (Arabic Language)
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Balqis Maricar developed an early interest in Arabic Language and Islamic studies for her studies at Madrasah Al Saggoff. Balqis graduated from Medina International University with a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and Islamic Studies in 2010 and also holds a Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology in 2017. She was a teacher ( Ustazah ) for more than 15 years’ experiences in Arabic teaching Madrasah students and at Arabic Language Centre.

Currently, Balqis is a counsellor at Club HEAL, a VWO that supports people with mental health challenges lead fulfilling lives. Throughout her 5-years’ experience, she has worked with many adult and elderly persons with mental health issues, facilitating them in their recovery journey. Balqis also
provides support to caregivers as well, through psychoeducation and support groups.

Moreover, she often conducts trainings and talks to the general public to increase awareness regarding mental health and caregiving. Area of interest: Balqis gives her support and contribute to the people with mental illness in their recovery, by giving them a renewed sense of purpose, spirituality and reintegration.

Life quotes: “EVERY SOUL will taste death” Quran 3 : 185

Rev Tan Mui Kiang

Associate Pastor
Bethel Presbyterian church
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I am Mui Kiang, married, and my husband and I have a wonderful daughter of 25 years old. I have been a pastor for 7 years after 30 years in the business world.

It was in weakness and trials that I experienced the power and the reality of God and His love. Now I am an associate pastor in a Presbyterian church, looking after young people and the social concern ministries of the church.

I have a passion for journeying with people whether in facing their ultimate departure or their current challenges in living. I have found both scriptures and counselling to be of service to them.


Sr. Geraldine Tan Fdcc

Executive Director,
St. Joseph’s Home,
Catholic Welfare Services

Sister Geraldine Tan currently heads the overall Senior Management portfolio for St Joseph’s Home, newly located in an increasingly bustling Jurong West, the second largest township in Singapore. She is a trained registered nurse by profession with a major in Nursing, ancillary programs in Palliative Care and Clinical Pastoral Care, including Oncology Nursing.

In her role of Executive Director of one of the largest locally established integrated long-term care facilities, which also offers hospice care, therapy services, dusk to dawn services for dementia sundown syndrome and an infant and childcare centre, Sister Geraldine’s focus has never wavered from palliative care. Essentially, her dedication is to help progressively ill patients improve their quality of life. “The emphasis is living well before death, regardless of the prognosis of the medical condition.” Her interests are in encouraging quality of life in advanced illness, care models and pathways, and advocating education in palliative care training. Since 1982, she has been a member of the Canossian Daughters of Charity.

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Swami Samachittananda

President of Ramakrishna Mission Singapore

Swami Samachittananda joined Ramakrishna Order of Monks in 1982 in India. He was posted at Ramakrishna Mission Singapore as its vice President in 2001 to 2016. In 2016 he was posted as vice President of the order's centre at Buenos Aires in Argentina. In 2018 he was again called back to Singapore and was made President of the centre. Swami Samachittananda gives regular talks on various religious and spiritual topics in Singapore and other South East Asian countries. Swami Samachittananda is also a council member of Inter Religious Organization (IRO) of Singapore . Ramakrishna Mission is one of the founding members of IRO Singapore.


Ramakrishna Mission Singapore runs the following activities: Ramakrishna Mission Boys' Home, Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten, psychological services in form of counselling, workshops and therapeutic work with children and  adults. Mission maintains an universal temple dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna. Yoga classes are run 3 times a week.  Mission also runs a small library with about 8000 books mainly related to Culture, art and spirituality. Mission also runs Homeopathy  clinic twice in a week where consultation  and medication are given free.


Master Dong Nong Zheng

FengShui Master
Chinese Customs & Folk Beliefs Interpreter/ Chinese Writer

Dong Nongzheng, born in Fuzhou, China, is currently consultant to 中 天 文 化 ZhongTian Cultural society and runs an agency  一 轩 命 理 he has founded . Mr Dong is also an accomplished writer and poet, with numerous awards in poetry since 1977. During his formative years, he met his Master who was in search of a suitable disciple. He has then accomplished understanding towards the deeper appreciation of human fortune and astrology. He has columns with many main stream papers and big magazines on Chinese Astrology and Geomancy and is regularly invited by media to give yearly predictions. His books on knowledges about oriental astrology and human fortunes are widely popular.

A Smooth Departure Speakers

Forum I: A Smooth Departure

Guest Speakers

An interfaith panel comprising of the four main religions of Singapore by the Ordained persons and religious teachers from different practice lineages of their faiths. Speakers will share on the less understood philosophies and diverse end-of-life rituals & religious practices for the dying. And how can religious faith groups and medical professionals in hospitals learn and practice greater sensitivity and understanding at our most vulnerable state. Most importantly, how can one strengthen our mental resilience for a smooth departure.

Ven. Rathanasara & Sr Geraldine
Ustazah & Swami
Rev Tan & Master Dong
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Forum I Speakers

Grief Separation Speakers

Ms Chee Wai Yee

Senior Director, Grief Matters, Montfort Care;
Program Director Singapore Hospice Council

Moderator for Forum II

Forum II  Speakers

General Secretary of
Singapore Kindness Movement;
Chairman of
Prison Fellowship Singapore
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Rev. Dr William Wan

Dr William Wan is the General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement.  He is the winner of the Active Ager Award 2011 and an Ambassador of Active Ageing. Recognized for his community work, he is the winner of the President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award among several others.  A much sought-after speaker and writer of "matters of the heart", he has authored 10 books and his current best-selling book is "Through the Valley: The Art of Living and Leaving Well" which is available at the symposium.

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Scholar in Chinese Language & Literature (JNU, Fudan, Stanford);
Past President of Indian Women's Association Singapore

Sukanya Pushkarna

Sukanya Pushkarna has a background in Chinese language and literature from India. She was a recipient of a scholarship from China and studied at Fudan University in Shanghai between 1986 and 1988. She is a docent at the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Indian Heritage Centre. She also actively volunteers with the Indian Women's Association, Singapore and is its former president. Under her leadership, IWA received a special award for integration from the National Integration Council in 2017. She volunteers actively with local nonprofit organisations like TWC2 and Beyond Social Services and is a member of the Chinese language chapter of Soroptimist International in Singapore. Sukanya moved to Singapore 9 years ago after spending 23 years in the Silicon Valley and is thoroughly enjoying it."

Special Guest Speaker

Wai Yee currently serves as the Senior Director of Montfort Care to pilot Grief Matters – a community movement focusing on promoting advance care conversations, grief literacy and death education, in addition to supporting bereaved families and people living with a life-limiting condition. Her role as Program Director with the Singapore Hospice Council continues to focus on improving psychosocial care standards including grief and bereavement care. She co-led the production of the first two local publications – ‘Caring for Yourself and Others After a Death’ and ‘When A Death Occurs: A Guide to Practical Matters’ to improve grief literacy in Singapore. She was instrumental in organising the inaugural grief and bereavement conference – Our Collective Voices, in Singapore.


Dr. Ng Wai Chong

Chief, Clinical Affairs of Tsao Foundation
Dramatist (Malay Theatre)
recipient of the highest Malay Literary Award in 2013 - "The Anugerah Tun Sri Lanang" by Malay Language Council.
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Almahdi Al-Haj Ibrahim (Nadiputra)

Almahdi Al-Haj Ibrahim, more popularly known as Nadiputra, is one of Singapore Malay theatre’s most important pioneers. For over five decades, he has made great impact on the Singapore Malay-language literary, theatre and entertainment scene with more than 300 works for radio, stage and television that explore moral, religious and social issues in Singapore. The playwright, actor, director, producer, television scriptwriter, voice-over artist and poet received the Malay Literature Prize in 1993. In 1986, Nadiputra received the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to theatre in Singapore. He is also recipient of the highest Malay Literary Award in 2013 - "The Anugerah Tun Sri Lanang" by Malay Language Council.

Deputy Head and Senior Consultant Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Dr. NEo Han yee

Dr Neo is currently the Deputy Head and Senior Consultant with the Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He completed his specialisation in Geriatrics Medicine and Palliative Medicine in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In 2015, he was awarded a HMDP to further his interest in Clinical Ethics. He is currently the deputy co-chairperson of TTSH’s Clinical Ethics Committee. Additionally, he holds the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.

Forum II: Grief - Separation

Guest Speakers

Forum II  Topic “Grief - Separation” 10 Oct 2019 @ NKF HQ @ 7pm -9:30pm

A panel comprising of lay practitioners of various faiths from different walks of life. This sharing shall focus on mitigating the grief or loss experienced by the living. This forum shall look at the living rather than the departed. Separation is an universal experience, but we can offer contemplative practices or self-kindness, or simple acknowledgement to this unsolvable suffering. Grief resulting in depression, confusion or shock, perhaps can be mitigated.

Dr Ng Wai Chong is Chief, Clinical Affairs of Tsao Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops and operates innovative community aged-care services, capacity building programmes and advocacy platforms related to aging and the sustainable care of vulnerable seniors. (see )

Dr Ng has been a practicing community aged-care family physician since the late nineties, mostly as a home-care physician working within a multidisciplinary team. His areas of interests include primary health care for the frail, elder abuse, dementia care, end-of-life care and the development of sustainable community aged care system. Dr Ng also oversees some of the Foundation’s research agenda related to longevity and wellbeing, population health, long term care, primary care for the frail, dementia care, frailty and self-care.

Sukanya & Dr Neo
Dr Wan & Nadiputra


Old Tree No Shade Guest Speakers

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谭显灼   Tham Shean Chow


谭显灼,笔名向何方,1934年生。南洋大学史地系第一届毕业生,1960年起任教于中正中学(总校)约20年,教授地理,深受学生爱戴。新加坡教学媒介语言改为英语后,编为中文老师,80年代起任教于黄埔中学(1995年并入明智中学Bendemeer Secondary School)。曾为《新明日报》撰写股市分析,笔名向何方。1994年退休后创办股市分析周刊《向何方股讯》。谭先生兴趣广泛,好学不倦;除地理、历史、股票等,更爱好语言文学,时时著诗记叙身边事。因自幼体质孱弱,尤为注重保健及自我疗愈,深信身体健康必须自己负责。

Tham Shean Chow, born in 1934, can be described as a lifelong learner with wide-ranging interests.  A Geography major among the first cohort of graduates from Nanyang University, he taught secondary school until his retirement in 1994.  His teaching career began as a Geography teacher in 1960 at Chung Cheng High School (Main), where he taught for approximately 20 years. After all schools converted to English as a language of instruction, he was re-assigned to teach Chinese, teaching at Whampoa Secondary School (merged with Bendemeer Secondary School in 1995) from the 1980’s onwards.  Mr Tham once wrote a weekly stock market analysis column for the Shin Ming Daily News, and upon his retirement, founded Optimum Analysis, a weekly subscription newsletter on the stock market. He is also a lover of language and literature, often capturing moments in his life through Chinese classical poetry. A firm believer in taking responsibility for one’s own physical well-being, in part fueled by poor health in his younger days, he is especially interested in methods of self-healing and in working towards greater fitness.

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甘拿老师  Sri Ghanavenothan Retnam

Bhaskar's Arts Academy 音乐总监

甘拿老师(Sri Ghanavenothan Retnam), 新加坡先驱音乐家拉特南 (Sri R.Retnam)之子,师承新加坡印度传统音乐大师潘迪.拉玛林甘(Pundit M. Ramalingam) 及印度南北各地坚忠音乐的艺术家。除了演出和在新加坡印度艺术传承学校Nrityalaya教学,他也创作音乐并且为自己的学生完成两支印度笛的编曲,此举在新加坡首开先例。作为新加坡首个获颁“新加坡青年艺术奖” 的印籍音乐家,他荣获各种赞誉, 如“印度音乐传人”(Sangeetha Kala Nipuna)、“新加坡著名印度笛演奏家”(Singai Venugana Visharada)、“吹奏美妙旋律的印度笛演奏家” (Mohana Murali)、“印度音乐的权威” (Sangeetha Kala Bushana), 并得奖无数,其中包括美国纽约非政府世界和平与和谐组织 (World Peace and Harmony) 的“终身成就与人道主义行者奖章 ” (Lifetime Achievement & Humanitarian Medallion)。他也服务于新加坡国家艺术理事会、人民协会以及国家青年理事会,担任各项节目内容评委会委员。


Sri Ghanavenothan Retnam, son of Sri R.Retnam a pioneer musician of Singapore, had his tutelage under Pundit M. Ramalingam and many stalwarts from North and South India. Besides performing, and teaching at Nrityalaya, he also composes music and  has conducted two flute arrangements for his students, first of its sort in Singapore. As the first Singapore Indian artiste to be awarded Singapore's "Young Artist Award" for music, he holds other honorific titles : Sangeetha Kala Nipuna" - exponent in Indian Music, "Singai Venugana Visharada" - Singapore’s prominent flautist, “Mohana Murali“ - a beautiful musical flautist and “Sangeetha Kala Bushana” - an authority in Indian music. He has received many awards, including a "Lifetime Achievement & Humanitarian Medallion" by the World Peace and Harmony Organization in New York. and serves in the various programming panels at the National Arts Council, People's Association and the National Youth Council.

Old Tree No Shade Speakers
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杨 帆 Yang Fan


杨 帆从 事 戏 剧表演、导演 及 教学 逾 四 十 多 年, 是位非常精通戏剧与语言培训的导师,经常受邀为教育学府、文化团体、新加坡电视机构,做培训班导师。他在1966年加入于新加坡广播局儿童戏剧组,曾参与录制过几百场广播剧。更在70年代活跃于本地戏剧与广播剧演出。他的声音出现在无数的广告中,耳熟能详,也担任过【探索频道】各节目的中文旁述员。


曾为FM 95.8电台节目《笑谈古今事》的嘉宾,讲述中华历史 ,这档节目从1998年开播至2000年;在2004年,他为FM100.3电台录制了11集的讲故事系列之《西游记》。目前,他在参与FM95.8电台节目《学习成长时段》,分享中华文化、儒家与道家思想及中文成语的典故。他也曾受邀参与《2013年妆艺大游行》,朗诵《正气歌》。

Yang Fan has experience in performing, directing and teaching for more than 40 years, and a highly proficient instructor in drama and language training often commissioned by schools, cultural organizations, and Television Singapore to serve as instructor of training classes. He was recruited into the Radio Singapore Children’s Play Group in 1966, and recorded thousands of episodes of children and youth programs for radio broadcast, and active in stage productions and radio plays in the 70's. He is one of the most heard voices in commercials, and narrators for Discovery Channel, Chinese version.


He was speaker of FM 95.8 Capital Radio program “笑谈古今事” about Chinese History- that ran for 1998 – 2000; he recorded an 11-part story-telling series “Journey to the West” for radio FM1003 in 2004, and currently working on FM 95.8 “学 习 成 长 时 段”, sharing on Chinese Culture, Confucian and Taoism thought and the origins of classic Chinese Idioms (2015 – 2018). He was invited to participate in Chingay 2013 for Mandarin recital “正气歌”.


李高丰(阿果)Lee Kow Fong


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阿果,本名李高豐,新加坡绘本作者、插画家、《联合早报》副刊专栏作者、义安理工学院及新加坡教育学院等学府兼职讲师。新加坡国立大学中文系毕业,考获南洋理工大学翻译专业文凭,后负笈英国攻读童书绘画硕士学位。平时喜欢涂涂写写,创作图文与读者分享美的喜悦。自2010年,已在新加坡出版近20本绘本及文集,并分别举办过4场画展,包括 “静色”(2013), “听风的歌” (2014), “在梦里” (2016)及 “好日常” (2017)。其最新绘本作品《寻找》获颁2016年新加坡书籍奖最佳童书殊荣,而图文集《说好的,重逢有期》也获选入2016《联合早报》书选榜单。

Lee Kow Fong, or Ah Guo, graduated with a BA(Hons) in Chinese Studies from National University of Singapore and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Translation and Interpretation from Nanyang Technological University. He received his MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, UK in 2011. Since then, he has been actively involved in the promotion and creation of picture-book in Singapore. Presently, he is putting in full-time effort in pursuing his passion in illustration, writing and picture-book. He is also a regular columnist on Lianhe Zaobao and provides adjunct teaching at several institutions including Ngee Ann Polytechnic and National Institute of Education.


A prolific painter, Kow Fong has held several exhibitions showcasing his digital and water-colour illustrations in recent years, including “The Colour of Silence” (2013), “The Songs of Wind” (2014), “Dreamscape” (2016) and “Wonderful Day” (2017). To date, he has published close to 20 books in Singapore, among which majority are Chinese picture-books for young readers. His latest picture-book “The Search” was awarded “Best Children’s Title” in 2016 Singapore Book Awards and has ventured into overseas market including China, Korea, Hongkong, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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