Singaporeans and Malaysians collaborate for a third year to explore ‘Arts and Healing’ at Causeway EXchange (CEX) 2018

The Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF), ‘Arts and Healing’ component of CEX attracted an audience of close to 200 Singaporeans and Malaysians over an art-filled weekend.

Colouring and stand-up comedy may not appear to have much in common with hospitals, but increasingly the arts are being leveraged on as a powerful tool to help patients heal. This transformative power of the arts underpinned the recent CEX and its ‘Arts and Healing’ component held in Singapore from 14 to 16 September 2018. This component is part of the SIF’s Arts for Good initiative, which seeks to promote awareness of social issues, share best practices and enable action for positive social impact through the arts.

The fun-loving audience at CausewayEXchange (CEX) Appreciation Night prior to the screening of ‘You Mean the World to me’ by Malaysian director Saw Teong Hin.

The benefit of using art therapies for emotional and psychological healing was explored during a panel discussion on the topic: Healing through Arts: Pragmatics and Benefits Behind the Arts. Malaysia-based music therapist, Ms Lim Kar Gee, MT-BC, who spoke on the panel, commended the value of such bilateral exchanges. She said, “Having this cross-cultural sharing is definitely beneficial for both patients and healthcare practitioners in both Singapore and Malaysia. The more creative arts therapy is widely understood, the more awareness there will be in both our communities that there are alternative therapy options available which can help patients and improve lives.”

The weekend of activities also included therapy workshops, bedside art activities in hospitals, stand-up comedy and a sensory-friendly theatre performance. Partners this year included Republic Polytechnic, Jurong Health and LASALLE College of the Arts.

SIF Executive Director, Ms Jean Tan who spoke at the annual arts festival’s Appreciation Night on 27 September 2018 at The Arts House, added, “At the Singapore International Foundation, we believe that a better world begins with better understanding. And such cross-cultural interactions provide insights that deepen mutual respect. But more than just connecting communities, we like to encourage collaboration between communities in the arts for positive social change.”

The festival is now its ninth year and the director and founder, Mr Shawn Lourdusamy found the ‘Arts and Healing’ component of the festival especially moving. “Taking art into hospitals, engaging, interacting and even sharing comedy with patients was something very meaningful and special to witness,” he said.


By conducting art activities within the hospital wards and at the patients’ bedside, the art therapy students interacted with patients in a relaxed and intimate manner. This allowed for a more trusting and engaging relationship to be formed between both parties to enhance patients’ emotional wellbeing and contribute towards their rehabilitative process.
Muntoh Fong, a Malaysian comedian who goes by the stage name, Monti, provided some Friday evening laughs to patients at the Jurong Community Hospital. Performing in both Cantonese and English, Monti entertained the audience with stories about Malaysia and Singapore.
On Saturday 15 September 2018, the ‘Healing through Arts’ forum was held at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. Close to 100 attendees participated in a panel discussion and four concurrent breakout sessions.
A sensory-friendly theatre performance allowed the audience to talk and move around freely during the show. The actors and crew adapted to different audience reactions making every single performance unique!
Festival director and founder, Mr Shawn Lourdusamy, presenting Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, with a token of appreciation during the CausewayEXchange (CEX) Appreciation Night.


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