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Politics & International Relations

Politics & International Relations


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Elections In Singapore 1948 - 2011
This is a brief history of political elections in Singapore. It is especially timely as a general election has to be held about five years after the 2011 general election. The book sets the backdrop for the forthcoming general election. How will the political process evolve in the post-Lee Kuan Yew era?

This book is written for the citizens, voters, students of history and politics, and all who have an interest in the governance of Singapore. It traces the evolution of the political process in Singapore after World War II, from Crown Colony to self-governing state, to a state within Malaysia, to an independent and sovereign Republic, up till the two
elections in 2011. It discusses the reasons for the PAP’s dominance in Parliament.

The author is a former historian and elected Member of Parliament who co-edited We Also Served: Reflections of Singapore’s Former PAP MPs, published in 2014.

Our price: US$12.00
SINGAPORE IS NOT AN ISLAND Views on Singapore Foreign Policy

“Diplomacy is not about being nice, polite or agreeable. It is fundamentally about protecting and promoting the country’s interests, preferably by being nice but, if necessary, by other appropriate means.” —Bilahari Kausikan

Small states are always vulnerable. It is this sense of vulnerability that keeps Singapore alert. As a small country in Southeast Asia seeking to survive and prosper, Singapore cannot be ordinary. It must be extraordinary. Otherwise, why would anyone want to deal with Singapore rather than with larger countries? Herein lies the central challenge for Singapore in every area, including foreign policy.

Singapore is Not An Island: Views on Singapore Foreign Policy is a compilation of essays and public speeches by Bilahari Kausikan over the last 25 years. His is a frank and is passionate assessment of the geopolitical realities to date, and the uncertainties that have emerged. It is for anyone interested to know about protecting Singapore’s interests, nicely or otherwise, in a rapidly changing and complex world.

Our price: US$24.00
What dark secrets lurk in Singapore’s basement?

Are Singaporeans a weak people?

Do Singaporeans really deserve their wages?

Who is more out of touch – the people or their leaders?

Why did founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew change his mind about writing his memoirs?

Han Fook Kwang, the former editor of The Straits Times, provides provocative answers to these questions and more, in this collection of 40 commentaries.

It draws from some of his best works in Singapore’s main newspaper in which he writes regularly since stepping down as its editor in 2012.

Among them are pieces on his reading of the watershed 2011 General Election and the equally surprising GE in 2015, new challenges facing the economy, what ails the medical profession and the public transport system, and the importance of a vibrant civic society.

The book also features a selection of his writings on Lee, whom he worked closely with on three books, including the bestselling Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going and One
Man’s View Of The World.

Our price: US$25.00
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.

Our price: US$30.00

"India Rising describes key aspects of the country’s development in the last 10 years, expressing fresh hopes but also new fears under Modi. Each chapter cuts a different slice into the complex reality which is India. Like a CT scan, the slices combine to give the reader a composite sense of the unfolding Indian drama. Importantly for Asia, it also looks closely at the strategic sweet spot India has found itself in, wooed by every major power. India is too big to be ignored." — GEORGE YEO, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore

"Insightful, accessible, thoughtful and entertaining — all at once. … To know what has brought India to this point, and its place in the world today, Velloor’s book is not only timely but essential." — ZOHER F. ABDOOLCARIM, Asia Editor, TIME

"With one fascinating story after another, Velloor lifts a veil on India’s complexities and makes it more comprehensible. He has provided an enjoyable path to understand the world’s fastest rising new great power." — KISHORE MAHBUBANI, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West and the Logic of One World 

"Ravi Velloor’s connections in India gave him access into the Delhi Darbar that was the envy of foreign correspondents." — SANJAYA BARU, Director of Geo-Economics, IISS and author of The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh

In an Asia caught in rapid transition, no country is as fascinating to report on as India. Big, noisy, bulging at the seams, India’s economy and society move much like the traffic on a New Delhi road – states and sections of its people advancing at varying speeds and levels of discipline. For every high horsepower engine on the road, there is the cycle rickshaw and the humanly powered pushcart slowing movement and frustrating those who seek to travel more quickly. Meanwhile, a few nimble riders do weave ahead, often by breaking the rules of the road or fixing rules to their advantage. But behind its warts and obvious confusion, a pattern is discernible of an India that warrants optimism. This is the India of resilience, of improvisation, a nation of multiple ethnicities in 29 states jelling as one, even as they steadily and confidently embrace the world outside. … 

INDIA RISING tries to chronicle that India, alongside its convulsions. It is a collection of anecdotes and observations of the significant events that marked the decade of Congress Party rule under Manmohan Singh, culminating in the rise of Modi… It is built around the access the writer enjoyed with some of the key decision-makers of the time. It is targeted at the person who has a general idea of India, and perhaps is curious to know more. The reader is invited to begin anywhere, because the chapters are very nearly self-contained – like the traditional Indian village community that only needed to reach out of its territory for salt and matrimonial alliances.

Our price: US$35.00
Neither Civil Nor Servant : The Philip Yeo Story
“Don’t call me a civil servant. I consider that an insult.” – Philip Yeo

Philip Yeo is unlike any civil servant. He prefers action over talk, cartoons over words and speed over due process. The maverick was blunt, direct and not afraid to challenge the status quo, earning him a reputation not only as one of Singapore’s most accomplished government officials, but also among its most colourful bureaucrats.

Neither Civil Nor Servant captures the half a century career of the former Economic Development Board chairman, telling the stories of brilliant achievements almost unparalleled in the history of the Singapore civil service. Yeo was the man who turned Batam into a household name in Singapore, created Jurong Island from seawater and put the country on the biomedical map globally with its iconic Biopolis. The famous rule breaker bulldozed his way through the bureaucracy he was a part of, blazing new paths in a manner more akin to an entrepreneur than a civil servant. In the process, he offended more than a few and was never afraid to challenge naysayers publicly, regardless of status and background.

In the hands of acclaimed journalist and author Peh Shing Huei, this authorised biography brings out Philip Yeo the private man behind the public figure and uncovers the behind-the-scene stories of some of Singapore’s biggest post-independence military, economic and political adventures. Neither Civil Nor Servant is an engaging and enthralling book, offering fascinating insights into one of Singapore’s most unconventional pioneer civil servants.

Our price: US$35.00
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.

Our price: US$35.00
“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.” 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.

Our price: US$37.00
“Barker was not a natural politician – he lacked raw political ambition and the consuming passion of the ideologically driven. He was a natural leader – in sports, in school. He also had a
first rate mind; he was a Queen’s Scholar. He was a renaissance gentleman and a human being comfortable in his own skin – no chip on the shoulder, nothing to prove and not one to seek out the political limelight.

As such, one tends to forget how much he was a crucial element in our birth as a sovereign nation – this reluctant politician was the legal mid-wife of Singapore’s Separation and birth
as an independent nation; the man who as Speaker shaped the conventions and order of a new Parliament; the man who as Minister was behind some of our most important nation-ilding endeavor like public housing, reclamation etc.

Many remark how we remember the man that Eddie Barker was and forget he was a Minister because the human being in him was always so much larger and deeper and real than any
institutional role he played at any one time.

This book attempts to piece together the story of Eddie Barker – his deeds, his accomplishments and the extraordinary life he led being the man that he was – and just how much Singaporeans and Singapore have been the beneficiaries of it.”

– Mr Benny Lim, former Permanent Secretary for National Development and former Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, who retired in April 2016

Our price: US$45.00