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Politics & International Relations

Politics & International Relations

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SINGAPORE, DISRUPTED “The future is here, and I fear we are not yet ready.”
Singapore is in a state of disruption. Change is here – disorienting, disturbing, sometimes distressing change. Disruptive technologies are displacing jobs and dislodging workers. Society is showing signs of splintering. The gap between the “best” and the rest is growing. In establishment circles, members are breaking ranks. People are searching, probing, asking: what’s happening?
Change is also unequal. While shaking up many quarters at an alarming rate, it is not happening fast enough in the areas that truly matter, observes Chua Mui Hoong, political columnist and Opinion editor of The Straits Times, in this volume of fresh essays and published articles.

As a journalist who writes from both the head and the heart – and often from a heartlander’s perspective – she takes on issues such as joblessness and safety nets, meritocracy and elitism, marketplace upheavals and leadership transitions, and persuades us that in this new age of disruption, what Singapore needs is a new order.

But how can Singapore reorder itself? What can it do better? How must it move, and how can all the motion be translated into real change and advancement?
Singapore is at a crossroads. How it responds to this state of disruption will determine its place in the disrupted world.


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The Loner : President Yudhoyono ’s Decade of Trial and Indecision
The Loner tells the story of President’s Yudhoyono’s decade in power, describing in detail the many challenges he faced and why
Indonesia is still struggling with its past.

• The first comprehensive review of President Yudhoyono’s decade in power.
• Why a leader of Yudhoyono’s abilities failed to fulfill his undoubted promise.
• A description of Indonesia’s emergence from the 1997–98 financial crisis and the many missed opportunities that came with the 2004–2012 commodity boom.

The Loner is not only a warts-and-all assessment of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s legacy as Indonesia’s sixth and first directly-elected president, but also reflects on the many interesting issues of his decade in power which did not receive the sustained media attention they deserved. In this regard, it is as much a record of those years as it is of Yudhoyono’s leadership itself, covering everything from natural disasters and fuel subsidies to terrorism, corruption, resource nationalism and a bank scandal that, for many people, marked a significant turning point in the retired general’s once-promising presidency.

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THE MALAYSIA THAT COULD BE
“There is no doubt that we (Malaysia) are on a slippery slope. Intolerance is growing and there is no firm guiding hand, no leadership to lead us back to the right path.” ...so begins Dato’ Seri Kalimullah Hassan in the introduction to this compilation of columns written over the years and published in the New
Sunday Times in Malaysia.

In them, he fondly reminisces the Malaysia of yesteryear when ordinary Malaysians lived modestly and harmoniously together. He also bemoans the decline in ethnic and religious tolerance in recent times, amidst a rise of rhetoric of racism and bigotry.

Having been friends with former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since 1980, and part of the team who helped with Abdullah’s speeches at the annual Umno General Assembly, Kalimullah also gives an insider’s view of Abdullah’s years in power and the events which led to his resignation.

The Malaysia That Could Be tells of one man’s belief in his country – and how it can be so much more than what it is today. It also reflects the stories and sentiments of many who care deeply about the country.

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UNQUIET KINGDOM - Thailand in Transition

From exuberant rallies on Bangkok’s shopping streets to tear-gasfilled alleyways echoing with gunshots, from democracy-debating farmers to kitten-fostering Buddhist nuns, Unquiet Kingdom is a gripping portrait of Thailand’s many faces, revealing the complexities of a country that is far more than its tranquil tourist-brochure stereotype. When the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in October 2016, a nation united in mourning. Yet the decade or so before had been one of prolonged turmoil, with red-hot clashes at the gates of government and bloody encounters in the jungles of the south. Coinciding with a dramatic rise in online activism and social media use, the tumult spurred a new political awareness that cast a light on the country’s internal contradictions, exposing the fault lines of an essentially feudal nation in extended and halting transition to egalitarian democracy. 

The period saw the army return to power with two coups d’état. It saw five elections – two failed and three successful – and seven prime ministers. It saw street battles in Bangkok; a still ongoing armed insurgency in the deep south; and the great flood of 2011. Veteran journalist Nirmal Ghosh takes readers past the serene facade of Thailand’s steadily-cruising economy and undaunted tourism industry. He exposes the uncertainty of a country in the throes of transition, a deeply-divided land that has just lost a father. The military seems resolved to clamp the lid on a restless country – but how long it can do this remains an open question.


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