Two Cultural Medallion recipients, sitcom stars and an arts administrator who raised Singapore’s international profile

ArtsEquator remembers the artists and cultural workers from the Singapore we lost in 2022.

Singapore lost a number of prominent pioneers in 2022. Santha Bhaskar, a dancer, choreographer and educator who played an influential role in promoting multicultural practices in Singapore passed away after the opening of a show celebrating Bhaskar’s Arts Academy’s 70th anniversary. Fellow Cultural Medallion recipient, poet and novelist Mohamed Latiff Mohamad passed away in October. Two actors from popular 90s sitcom Don’t Worry be Happy, Mak Ho Wai and Roni (Khaironi Salleh) passed away just months apart from each other.  Perhaps most shocking was the sudden passing of prominent curator and Executive Director of Arts House Limited, Tan Boon Hui, at the age of 54

When an artist or cultural worker passes away, the loss is felt by their families and loved ones and by the wider arts and cultural community in the region. As we mourn their passing, we remember, and are comforted by the legacy of their creativity and their contributions to their local and national arts communities, as well as to Southeast Asian arts practices.

 In the first of an annual series, ArtsEquator commemorates the artists and cultural practitioners lost across Southeast Asia in 2022. This year, we focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines, with plans to expand the series to other countries in Southeast Asia next year.

Image credit: Bhaskar’s Arts Academy

Santha Bhaskar

Dancer, educator

5 October 1939 — 26 February 2022

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Image credit: Screengrab from Netflix

Mak Ho Wai

Actor known for role of “Lao Hero” in sitcom Don’t Worry, Be Happy

7 January 1946 — 14 April 2022

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Image credit: Facebook/Headquarters official

Eileen Chan (Cats on Crack)

DJ, nightlife pioneer, music promoter

18 June 1989 — 4 May 2022

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Image credit: Lianhe Zaobao

Aileen Chan

Film producer, actress

1966 – 13 May 2022

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Image credit: Screengrab from

Roni (Khaironi Salleh)


1964 – 19 June 2022

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Image credit: ST Photo/Kua Chee Siong

Tan Boon Hui

Arts administrator, curator, festival organiser

1968 — 7 July 2022

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Image credit: Lianhe Zaobao

Lai Kui Fang

Renowned oil painter

21 January 1936 — 12 August 2022

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Image credit: ST Photo/Desmond Wee

Andrea Teo

TV show producer (Creator of Under One Roof, Phua Chu Kang)

1966 – 25 Aug 2022

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Image credit: Berita Harian

Mohamed Latiff Mohamed

Cultural Medallion-winning writer, poet

20 March 1950—13 October 2022

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Image credit: CNA

Eugene Loh

Radio host and CNA938 presenter

1975 – 19 November 2022

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While we have done our best to be as comprehensive as possible, if there are artists or cultural workers we have missed in our list, please do add their names in the comments section, with links where possible, and we will update the article accordingly.

The layout for this series and the image treatment was designed by Jun Kit.

About the author(s)

Aditi Shivaramakrishnan (she/her/hers) works as an editor, writer, arts manager and speech-to-text-interpreter in Singapore.

She has been published in ArtsEquator, gal-dem, The New Paper, Portside Review and SINdie, and has conducted qualitative research, edited art books, comics and young adult fiction titles, developed educational programmes, managed marketing and communications, created content, done live note-taking, and moderated events for organisations including AWARE, Difference Engine, Epigram Books, Equal Dreams, Facebook, National Gallery Singapore, Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, and the Singapore International Film Festival.

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