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

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.

1 May, 2017
NO LECTURE May Day, Public Holiday

8 May, 2017

Speaker: Dr Vidya Schalk

For over 500 years (1392-1910) the epic Joseon Dynasty ruled over a united Korean Peninsula and left behind a lasting legacy that shaped and continues to influence society even today. Modern-day Korean dramas pale in comparison to the actual political intrigues that took place during this dynastic rule. Neo-Confucianism became the state ideology and rituals and ceremonies were of great importance. The cultural landscape was not only influenced by the king and his court, but also by local artists, artisans and common people.
Today’s lecture will focus on the background and details of this intriguing dynasty and its cultural legacy, providing insights for visitors so as to better appreciate the special exhibition currently at the Asian Civilisations Museum: Joseon Korea - Court Treasures and City Life.

15 May, 2017

Speaker: Jean-François Milou

The National Gallery Singapore opened to the public a year ago, to widespread acclaim and admiration not only for its superb art collection, but also for the architectural innovations introduced in the renovation of two of Singapore’s national monuments, the buildings housing the collection. This presentation by Jean-François Milou will focus on how Studio Milou's approach combines a deference for existing structures and local contexts with classical traditions, to create enduring, widely appealing and elegant design.

22 May, 2017

Speaker: Tan Siok Sun

Are leaders born or made?  Author Tan Siok Sun will attempt to answer this question by focusing on Dr Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s first Deputy Prime Minister (1980 to 1984): his childhood, his motivations and the times. Tan Siok Sun is Dr Goh’s daughter-in-law and she will share the process of how she went about researching and writing his biography: Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait.

29 May, 2017

Speaker: Gretchen Liu

What happens when you go in search of family history? Or in this case the history of your husband’s family? Is it possible to find traces of the past in a city as complex as Shanghai, one that has rushed to modernity? And what about friendships formed almost a century ago?   Gretchen Liu shares her adventures in research as she tracked down Singapore pioneer artist Liu Kang’s fascinating Shanghai experiences in art and friendship in ‘the Paris of the Orient' 1926-1937.

5 June, 2017

Speaker: Aravinth Kumarasamy with Apsaras Arts

Apsaras Arts are planning for their next adventure with a mega dance production on the Anjaneyam, Hanuman’s Ramayana, co-produced with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. The production, premiering in November, features dancers and musicians from Java and Indonesia, as well as Apsaras Arts’ dancers and musicians. The audience will go on a spectacular journey as the tale of the Ramayana unfolds through the life of Hanuman, the revered monkey god. A During this lecture, you will hear about the concept from the artistic director, Aravinth Kumarasamy, and catch a sneak preview of both Javanese and Indian dance sequences through an exclusive talk-preview performance.