September 21, 2023

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Monday, January 23, 2023 | Daily Bulletin

Mathematics remembers Ken Seng Tan

A message from the Faculty of Mathematics.

We are very greatly saddened to announce that our beloved friend and colleague, Professor Ken Seng Tan, passed away on January 1, 2023. 

Ken Seng Tan completed his BMath, MMath, and PhD in Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo. His 1995 doctoral thesis won an award for Oustanding Achievement in Graduate Studies. It also marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship and collaboration with his supervisor, Phelim Boyle. 

Ken Seng joined the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science as faculty in 1998. He held a Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Risk Management from 2005 to 2010, and a University Research Chair from 2010 to 2015. From 2006 to 2015 he was Associate Director of the Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance and its successor, WatRISQ. Ken Seng also held a longterm visiting position at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, where he was active in supporting Chinese actuarial education and research.

Ken Seng Tan speaks at a podium. 

Between 2015 and 2020, Ken Seng was the Chief Actuarial Advisor of the Risk Management, Economic Sustainability, and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia (READI) project. This was a major venture, based in Waterloo and largely funded through Global Affairs Canada. The project worked with universities, regulators, and insurers to develop actuarial science education, research, and practice throughout Indonesia. The success of the READI project was a direct result of Ken Seng’s tireless leadership. In 2017, Ken Seng was awarded the Sun Life Fellowship of International Actuarial Science, in recognition of his work in Indonesia and China. 

In 2019, Professor Tan joined the Nanyang Business School in Singapore as Professor and Director of the Insurance Risk and Finance Research Centre. In 2021, he was awarded the President’s Chair in Actuarial Risk Management at NTU. In his short tenure at NTU, Ken Seng built a thriving centre of excellence in actuarial science and risk management. 

Professor Ken Seng Tan speaks in front of a blue screen.

Ken Seng was a brilliant scholar. He published over 140 research papers and book chapters. He was active on the editorial boards of several major journals. He was awarded both the Hachemeister and the Redington Prize by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), who also named him as one of twenty-four inaugural Chartered Enterprise Risk Analysts for his thought leadership and pioneering achievements in the field. 

Above all, Ken Seng was a compassionate human being, with a unique capacity to form lasting friendships with people from all walks of life throughout the world. He was an inspiring mentor and role model to hundreds of students and colleagues. 

Ken Seng loved Waterloo and continued his connection after moving to Singapore, as an adjunct professor and frequent visitor. His wife Jennifer, and his sister Yuki, are both UW alumni. A memorial event to celebrate his life will be announced later. 

Consent Culture banner image.

A message from the Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office (SVPRO).

Consent Week is upon us, running from January 23 – 27. It is an opportunity for the UWaterloo community to engage in conversations, activities, and events focused on consent and building consent culture.

Talking about consent and building consent culture is work that is conducted throughout the year but consent week enables us to intentionally normalize dialogue about consent, enhance nuanced understandings of consent, explore how to engage in healthy, supportive, respectful relationships with one another, embed consent in our daily practices and highlight the support services available for students, staff and faculty.

Consent culture is a culture built upon mutual respect, understanding and support. Consent culture ensures no one is forced into anything, respects bodily autonomy, and is based on the belief that a person is always the best judge of their own needs and wants. When we create consent culture, we respect the emotional, the personal, and the physical needs of others we interact with professionally, casually, intimately, and sexually.

The Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office – SVPRO, is planning consent week workshops and events to continue the building of consent culture on campus, including a consent slogan contest. SVPRO is reaching out to students to decide on a new consent slogan to be used for the remainder of 2023. The slogan may be used for resources, promotion, social media, websites and t-shirts.

For a full list of consent week events and to enter the consent slogan contest follow this link.

SVPRO supports all students, staff and faculty on the UWaterloo campus who have experienced or been impacted by sexual violence.

You can contact SVPRO by email at [email protected].

For more information visit their website.

Waterloo athlete represents Canada on national sitting volleyball team

Athletes sitting on a floor with a volleyball net between them as part of a sitting volleyball game.

By Jon Parsons. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

A second-year undergraduate student in the Recreation and Sport Business program is a rising star in the sport of international sitting volleyball.

Nasif Chowdhury represents Canada and helped bring the men’s national team near the pinnacle of the sport in recent competition.

“I was at the Paralympic qualifiers for Tokyo in 2019, and unfortunately we just missed the qualification,” Chowdhury says. “In November 2022, we were in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Sitting Volleyball World Championships.”

At the recent World Championships, Chowdhury and the Canadian team ended up finishing eleventh, after a hard-fought win over Poland.

A disability-specific sport

As a paralympic sport, international sitting volleyball is for disabled people and has restrictions around which disability categories are eligible to play.

“My specific disability is a limb differential,” Chowdhury says. “I do have both my legs, but one is about eight inches shorter than the other. Because of that, I wear a prosthetic device that a lot of amputees wear.”

The sport has many similarities to volleyball in terms of the rules and gameplay. Some of the key differences are the size of the court, the height of the net and of course that the athletes are sitting on the ground.

But the word “sitting” should not convey the impression that the players are stationary. The athletes are never still, but instead constantly and swiftly shifting along the floor to dig up the ball, set hits and look to block.

Nasif Chowdhury putting in a serve at an exhibition event at the Waterloo Physical Activities Complex.

Nasif Chowdhury putting in a serve at an exhibition event at the Waterloo Physical Activities Complex. Dr. Christopher Taylor (AVP of EDI-R office) interviewed Nasif Chowdhury and Joyce Barlow on a recent edition of The Curve podcast.

“One of the main rules is that you have to keep your butt on the ground, but there’s some leniency,” Chowdhury explains. “There can be situations where your butt might be off the ground, but your whole lower back is on the ground. That’s totally fine. And you can move on the court by getting up slightly off the ground.”

Sports culture and camaraderie

As with many sports, sitting volleyball has a specific culture and sense of community among athletes. As Chowdhury describes it, the Canadian men’s national team is a group that welcomed him as family.

“We all have disabilities, and we all have amputations or prosthetics,” he says. “And we can all kind of laugh about it and have some fun with it. It’s something you don’t necessarily get with regular sports, but we all know each other, we accept it, and we’ll make jokes.”

Nasif Chowdhury (in red shirt) and other participants at an exhibition of sitting volleyball at the University of Waterloo.

Nasif Chowdhury (in red shirt) and other participants at an exhibition of sitting volleyball at the University of Waterloo.

Asked to elaborate, Chowdhury recounts something that he’d never heard before getting involved with the sport but that now he’s heard countless times.

“Pass me my leg,” he says with a smile. “Say your teammate is coming off the court and hopping over to the bench, and he’s just like, ‘pass my leg.’ And you grab his prosthetic for him and hand it over.”

Chowdhury and other members of the Canadian men’s sitting volleyball team hosted an exhibition of the sport at the University of Waterloo as part of International Day for Persons with Disability in early December 2022.

Students can let their voices be heard with Voices 2023 zine

Voices 2023 banner image.

A message from the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA).

Do you know of Waterloo undergraduates who are passionate about photography, poetry writing, drawing, or painting? The Women’s Centre is launching their Voices 2023 zine this March. It’s their annual publication that showcases student creations and allows readers to view the world through an intersectional lens. Students can submit art pieces, like poetry, photography, paintings, drawings, etc., to capture their artistic expressions and student experiences.   

 Please share this opportunity with them. Submissions can be emailed to [email protected] from now until Friday, February 10.  

Learn more about Voices at

Here’s the first of this week’s Consent Week Tips of the Day, supplied by the Sexual Violence and Prevention Response Office (SVPRO).

When thinking about consent it is important to reflect on the power and privilege you hold in various spaces. When someone has more power and privilege than someone else, it makes it difficult for the person with less power and privilege to say no.

Tip: Think about the power and privilege you hold in the various spaces you inhabit (e.g. on campus, in your home, socially with your friends). If you hold power think through how you can make those with less power feel more comfortable and confident making the decisions that are right for them (e.g. tell them you won’t be upset if they say no, set clear boundaries for yourself and ask them what their boundaries are, respect their boundaries).

This is just a reminder that the University’s emergency communication system will be tested today around 1:15 p.m. Emergency communication channels being tested include:

  • Tweets to @UWaterloo and @WatSAFEapp;
  • WatSAFE mobile app;
  • The ‘WatSAFE Desktop Notification’ on-screen pop-up for desktops and laptops; and
  • Portal alerts and push notifications.

More info about the test is available on the Watsafe website.

Curlers holding trophies pose with President Gerald Hagey in this undated photo.

Speaking of reminders: registration is now open for the 49th Annual UW Hagey BonspielThis event takes place on Saturday, February 25 at the Ayr Curling Club.

“No experience necessary! Fun is mandatory!” says a note from organizers. “Lessons and pairings with experienced curlers are available.”

You can register online as of now. The registration fee is $45.00, which gets you two games of curling, morning and afternoon snacks, a sit-down luncheon and prizes.

Payment is by e-transfer or cheque, made out to Hagey Funspiel, and can be posted dated to February 17, 2023.

You can ask questions, drop off or send payment to Jim Howard, Human Resources, East Campus 1, X36451, [email protected].