Tay Kheng Soon will trace Singapore’s formative politics from the Cold War period in which independence was predicated on alignment with the consolidating Anglo-American global order while tackling the local Hard Left by the Soft Left resulting in the establishment of the train of events that leads right up to the present. In the process, Meritocracy morphed into Elitism augmented by education via the Stick and the Carrot. Social values were  thus constructed and education confined to skill and competency. Courage and creativity languished as Singapore is being forced by rapidly changing global conditions. Many standardised methods of governance and planning resist change so Singapore is in a slow motion self-destruct mode. Tay Kheng Soon urges that we challenge this situation by thinking beyond the limits of current imagination. He suggest that we can become the “Boston of Asia” by being the education centre for the region’s best and brightest to live and learn with ours, thus forming friendships for life and the future. Only then can this little red dot cast its glow to benefit the region and also itself. Casting aside the minority complex, Singaporeans will thus regain our authentic selves to make use of all our strengths, financially, connectively, scientifically, educationally  innovative, compassionately to make a brand new world all around us.  As an Educator and Innovative Thinker, Tay Kheng Soon will challenge our thinking.


Tay Kheng Soon has been a practicing architect since he started Design Partnership in 1967. Among its landmark designs were the People’s Park Complex and the Golden Mile Complex. He worked in KL for sometime and upon his return to Singapore he continued practicing under his new firm Akitek Tenggara where he designed the KK Woman’s & Children’s Hospital. He was Chairman of the Singapore Planning and Urban Research Group or SPUR from 1967 to 1976. In early 2000’s Kheng Soon was invited to be a Member of the Asian Dialogue Society of Asian Intellectuals for his ideas on rural urbanization to which he coined  “Rubanisation”. He also pioneered the “Tropical City Concept” at Kampong Bugis.  In 2010 he was awarded the Singapore Institute of Architects Gold Medal for his significant contributions to architecture during his lifetime.

Kheng Soon was the founding chairman of Substation with Kuo Pao Kun which is an experimental centre of the Arts Community. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science (which was established by Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell); He is also a Member of the World Ekistics Society; a Member of Advisory Panel of Institute of Policy Studies; formally a Member of Inter-Ministerial Committee on Housing & Land Use Policies under chairman Feedback Unit, Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.

He was Adjunct Professor of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and also the External Examiner at University Teknologi Malaysia. Today Kheng Soon is Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture, NUS.