FOM's very popular Monday Morning public lecture series focuses on the history, art, religion, philosophy and culture of the region. Speakers are experts in their subject and are drawn from both FOM and the community.

These free public lectures are held in the auditorium of the Asian Civilisations Museum. Everyone is welcome to arrive at 10:30 am for coffee or tea before the lecture, which begins promptly at 11:00 am. For safety and fire hazard reasons, there may be times when we cannot admit all those who wish to attend our lectures. Please take your seat early to avoid disappointment. For general enquiries please email

6 February, 2017

Speaker: Bruce Lockhart

The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was Thailand's longest reigning monarch. During his 70 years on the throne, he oversaw the revival and strengthening of the Thai monarchy after a period of weakness and decline following the ‘revolution’ of 1932. This talk will provide a historical overview of his reign and what it has meant for modern Thailand.

13 February, 2017

Speaker: Jeffrey Say

In May 1943, a prisoner-of-war (POW) named Stanley Warren completed the last of five murals in a hospital chapel in Changi Camp. The murals had been ‘lost’ and then ‘rediscovered’ in 1958. They have since been restored three times by the artist. The Changi Murals, as they are popularly known, are arguably the most historically significant works of art executed by a POW in Singapore. While focusing on the famous Changi Murals, this lecture will also discuss the category known as POW Art and highlight other notable artistic personalities interned at Changi: men such as Murray Griffin, Ronald Searle and Richard Walker who, despite adversities and inhumane conditions, managed to produce a body of works that is remarkable as much for the ingenuity and sense of humour the works reveal, as for their brutal realism.

20 February, 2017

Speaker: Abha Kaul

Come listen to the telling of a powerful and transfixing ancient story, but not just any story – translated as 'The Great Epic of India’, the Mahabharata is one of India’s two most famous and revered works of sacred literature. A national epic and a defining text of Indian culture, the Mahabharata has been told and retold countless times and in many forms over two thousand years. It narrates mesmerising tales, contains philosophical truths, offers spiritual guidance and also straddles myth and reality.

27 February, 2017

Speaker: Dr. John van Wyhe

This talk tells the true story of Ida Pfeiffer (1797-1858), the most remarkable female traveller who ever lived. She was the first woman to circle the globe alone. Along the way, she had some incredible adventures: she survived storms at sea, parched deserts, plague, malaria, drowning, earthquakes, robbers, head hunters and cannibals. It is the tale of a stubborn tomboy, of lovers torn apart, and a miserable housewife who decided to follow her dreams despite the disapproval of society.

6 March, 2017

Speaker: Pia Rampal

The Buddha told his faithful follower, "Ananda there are four places for those who are confidently treading on the path of dharma to visit, which may further inspire them”. Join Pia as she visits the places the Buddha was born, gained enlightenment, first taught and attained Nirvana...and discover, that indeed, there is something very special there.

13 March, 2017

Speaker: Dr Ong Jin Teong

Dr Ong Jin Teong will talk about Penang heritage food from a Nonya/Baba perspective. The predominantly Malay and Hokkien influences on Penang heritage food will be mentioned and also the South Indian and Thai influences. The latter two distinguish Penang food from the Nyonya food found in Melaka and Singapore. He will also provide insights into the Thai, Hainanese and English influences on Penang heritage food and explain the background to and origins of traditional Nyonya dishes. The talk will be illustrated with interesting old photographs of food, family members and friends, and the traditional utensils used for cooking.

20 March, 2017

Speaker: Mrs Tan Shook Fong

In the last two years, the art scene in Singapore has grown by leaps and bounds. Recently we celebrated the fifth edition of the Singapore Biennale. We now have contemporary art talks, interviews with contemporary artists, contemporary art workshops and contemporary art publications. With so much attention on this, we have almost forgotten the magnificent Chinese paintings of yore. For this lecture, the speaker Tan Shook Fong has selected some famous classical Chinese brush paintings to refresh the audience’s memory. She will also introduce the artists behind these works. The selected paintings will showcase the different genres of ink and brush painting, covering the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

27 Marchy, 2017

Speaker: Marina Thayil

Art in India serves the purposes of life. It was never art for art’s sake, but was always created in response to demand. It was not love of art, but a love of life that was expressed in this incredible aesthetic tradition from early civilisations to modern times. This lecture provides a glimpse into the world of Indian paintings on walls, cloth, palm-leaf and paper and the stories they tell about gods and kings, artists and patrons, lovers and thieves.

3 April, 2017

Speaker: Melissa Diagana and Jyoti Angresh

In many ways, the story of Fort Canning Hill parallels the transformation of Singapore from a small trading town to today's vibrant, cosmopolitan city. From 14th century gold jewellery to 19th century paintings to 21st century sketches, from stone bas-reliefs to the ASEAN sculpture garden to temporary art installations, all manner of art relating to Fort Canning Hill can be found and help to tell its captivating story. Jyoti and Melissa fell in love with history and plant-filled Fort Canning Hill during their frequent outings there, and decided that only by writing a book could they satisfy their curiosity and shine a light upon this wonderful place.

10 April, 2017

Speaker: Ann Wee with Mandakini Arora

A Tiger remembers. Ann Wee shares her observations of Singapore gleaned from 66 years of living and working here. Ann was born in England in 1926 (the year of the Fire Tiger) but is, as Janadas Devan says in the foreword to Ann’s book, “made in Singapore”. Her micro-histories, engagingly told, bring colour and depth to Singapore's past.

24 April, 2017

Speaker: Tara Dhar Hasnain

In this talk, Tara will explore the strong links ancient Kashmir had with Gandhara, Central Asia, even China and Tibet/Ladakh. This led to (or resulted in) its syncretic culture and heritage, shaped by a confluence of Buddhism, Hinduism and the tolerant Sufi version of Islam. See rare pictures of ancient archaeological sites, especially from the first millennium, such as the venue of the Fourth Buddhist Council, Hindu temple structures that show Graeco-Hellenic influences and old Sufi shrines from the time Islam arrived in this fabled land.