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Regional Studies Programme

The Regional Studies Programme (RSP), an initiative of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally 2007 speech, aims to equip future leaders with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding of Southeast Asia, in particular, Malaysia and Indonesia. The programme is designed to cultivate in our students an appreciation of the rich diversity of Southeast Asia's physical and cultural landscape, as well as the unique regional characteristics that bind the nation-states together. Seminars and field trips (both local and overseas) provide opportunities for students to engage with experts in the field and develop meaningful and lasting relationships with their regional counterparts.

Key Understandings
  • The rich and diverse physical environment influences the way people live in Southeast Asia, which in turn, produces a culture that is unique to the region
  • Culture is not static – amidst the changes that take place in Southeast Asia, there are continuities in the form of customs, traditions and institutions
  • Southeast Asia lies at the crossroads of major trade routes which facilitate contact with foreign elements and results in exchanges of ideas and cultures.
  • The past strongly influences the development of the region and shapes the present and future of Southeast Asia
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • Converse, read and write in Malay
  • Appreciate Malay culture, customs and traditions
  • Demonstrate cultural awareness and empathy when dealing with people of Southeast Asia
  • Explain the historical and geographical factors that have influenced the social, economic and political development of Southeast Asia
  • Discuss major contemporary issues, including the impact of race, religion, political institutions and interest groups in nation-building 
The Regional Studies Programme consists of 4 components

  • The Malay Special Programme (MSP), a graded component, will develop proficiency in the Malay language from basic to advance level
  • Understanding Southeast Asia (USEA) module, an enrichment-based component, will provide an understanding of the geography, history, culture, economics and politics of Southeast Asia
  • Local and regional field trips and immersion programmes, an important element where authentic learning and interactions take place in a real world situation
  • Enrichment programmes and symposiums, an avenue where knowledge is applied and shared

From Year 3 onwards, RSP students will be given the option to do Area Studies (Southeast Asia) as one of their Humanities subjects.


  • What is Southeast Asia?
  • The physical environment of Southeast Asia
  • Syncretism: religious influences and multiplicity of beliefs
  • Cultural landscape of Southeast Asia
    - Food 
    - Arts 
    - Architecture


  • The Malay and Malaysian culture: customs, traditions and worldview
  • Malaysian culture and identity: Exploration of Food, Arts and Architecture.
  • Defining the Malaysian Nation: Exclusive or Multicultural?
  • Globalisation & disappearing cultures
  • Language and Cultural Immersion Trip to Malaysia


  • Unity and Diversity: Exploration of culture in Southeast Asia
  • The role of religion in Southeast Asian society.
  • Indianisation and localisation
  • Indigenous political systems in Southeast Asia
  • Overseas Immersion trip to Indonesia/Malaysia


  • Emergence of nationalism in Southeast Asia
  • Independence and Nation-Building in Southeast Asia
  • Contemporary Issues: Economic Development, Democracy and ASEAN
  • Overseas Immersion Trip to Central Java