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Keynote Speaker

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Dr Tan Lai Yong

National University of Singapore


About Tan Lai Yong

Upon graduation from NUS in 1985, Dr Tan Lai Yong worked as a 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 (eg 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, Lai Yong 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. Lai Yong 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 Lai Yong as one of the “Good Citizens of Kunming”(昆明好人)Lai Yong has written several books and his first book, “Biting the Bamboo” – Experiences of Work and Life in Yunnan, is in its 5th printing. He also wrote the book, “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 Tan Lai Yong was invited to be the co-chairperson of the SG 50 Education and Youth Committee. He also completed a 3 year term as the Chairman of the MOE Advisory Panel for Outdoor Adventures Learning (2016 to 2019).

Dr Tan is the first CAPT Fellow to be awarded the Honour Roll for being awarded the Residential College Teaching Excellence Award for 3 academic years. He enjoys mentoring students and staff members as evidenced by guiding CAPT students and junior teaching staff to having 3 presentations at the recent World Education Research Association‘s conference in Cape Town (2018) . Dr Tan continues to pioneer community engagement and experiential learning activities – having launched the CAPSLAM program of mentoring students from Normal Technical stream and also leading NUS STEER Trips to Botswana, Myanmar, India and China


Excelling, Testing, Listening...Lessons from Slowing Down

Dr Tan L Y will share insights from his years as a rural doctor in Yunnan and fresh views from his role as a lecturer at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

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