Non-fiction & Biography


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Every time we use a Singapore bank note, we see his face – the face of Yusof Ishak, the first President of Singapore.

But did you know that he had to overcome challenges in his life and was also a champion in sports such as weightlifting and boxing?

And not many people know that when he got married, in 1949, he and his wife lived in a kampung house with no electricity – the
couple used kerosene lamps for light.

This book, which is targeted at upper primary and lower secondary pupils, will make this icon of Singapore come alive. It is suitable for
anyone who wants an overview of the life and background of the first President of Singapore.

General readers will come away with a better appreciation of him as a leader, a newspaperman and a family man, and will enjoy the
many photographs of Yusof Ishak, at formal occasions and in less formal moments.

About the series
This is the first book in a series on the Presidents of Singapore, beginning with the first three Presidents:
• The Presidents of Singapore: Yusof Ishak
• The Presidents of Singapore: Benjamin Sheares
• The Presidents of Singapore: Devan Nair

All three books come with facts about the Singapore Presidency, such as how the President is chosen and what his or her duties are.
The books will be of interest to all Singaporeans and are especially relevant in light of the Presidential Election, to be held in September.

With pages to scan for additional material
To make the books more interactive and exciting for young readers, Straits Times Press has for the first time teamed up with a Singapore headquartered
company that runs an app called SnapLearn.

Users who download the free app on their mobile phones will be able to scan certain pages in the books to access additional material including videos. Each book comes with a page of simple instructions, and the pages to be scanned have an icon for easy recognition.

About the author
Edmund Lim is an educator and the author of Where’s Grandm, which won the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award in 2013.

Our price: US$9.00
The Quah Kim Song Story
“What made Quah Kim Song such a great football star? I think it was a combination of talent, hard work, discipline, courage and great team spirit. He also had a great coach in Uncle Choo Seng Quee. I like the story told by Kim Song.” – PROF TOMMY KOH, Honorary Chairman, National Heritage Board

“I especially loved Kim Song’s portrait of his carefree youth. I could feel, smell, hear, touch those Quah family Sundays at the Sembawang seaside bungalow! What a family, what a lost way of life! ” – ILSA SHARP, Editor/writer and former long-time Singapore resident

“I witnessed first-hand how good the Quahs were at the ‘beautiful game’. They were football artists as well as artisans, and born with natural talent and impeccable skills that were admired by fans in Singapore and beyond.” –GODFREY ROBERT, Consulting Editor, The New Paper, and former Straits Times Sports Editor

The Quah Kim Song Story is about football in Singapore and the region, told in Kim Song’s colourful football vernacular to Jacintha Stephens. This book, she says, “is of a special time and place in Singapore’s social history. Of a moment in time when a young nation suddenly found a common goal and identity – and roared their allegiance as their football team played their hearts out. This was the birth of the great Kallang Roar.”

For almost three decades, there was a Quah in the national team. A legacy started by Quah Kim Beng in the late 1950s ended with Quah Kim Song in the early 1980s. In between there were Kim Swee, Kim Siak and Kim Lye, and three sisters, Theresa, Doreen and Rosa, who also donned national colours. In his book, Kim Song delves deep into what the Quahs were all about. His anecdotes and experiences, particularly on the football pitch, added to his lively sketches of crucial games, teammates, coaches and competitors, make this a rich memoir of the Kallang Roar era. Prof Tommy Koh, in his Foreword, writes that “When the Singapore national team was playing at its peak, the whole nation was proud of it and followed each match with bated breath. …Every great team must have an inspiring striker. Quah Kim Song was our inspiring striker in the 1970s.”

CONTENTS: Foreword by Prof Tommy Koh • Baptism of Fire • “He’s My Brother!” • Kicking Around in My Backyard • Serving School and Country on the Field • Meeting My Mentor • The Cup Whisperer • Breaking Hearts – and Legs • Gearing Up for Battle • Ending the 12-year Drought • After the World Cup • So Hard To Say Goodbye

Our price: US$14.00
Thinking Allowed? Politics, Fear and Change in Singapore

Must politics in Singapore be taboo? Need political discussion engender fear? Is the Singapore system averse to change? Can it be remade? These are among the questions confronted in this book by one of Singapore's leading political commentators, a unique ringside perspective of the politics of this country quite different from any that has been told before.

Political observer Warren Fernandez draws from first-hand experience covering politics for the Straits Times for over a decade. He has witnessed the heat of the hustings, sat through countless parliamentary debates, trailed politicians on constituency walkabouts, travelled with and interviewed the country's top leaders... From the cost of living to censorship to Chinese education in schools, he tackles issues in his clear, no-nonsense style - just thinking aloud, but also always insisting that thinking should be allowed on the critical affairs of the day.

Drawn from the "Thinking Aloud" columns on Singapore politics and society that have appeared in The Straits Times since 1991, the book includes new essays that kick off the chapters and delve into the recurrent issues that Singapore has been grappling with for years, and is likely to do so for a long time to come.

Our price: US$16.50
When the Party Ends - China's leaps and stumbles after the Beijing Olympics
Peh Shing Huei’s provocative book captures his harrowing, humbling and sometimes hilarious experiences in China when he was China bureau chief from The Straits Times. As he documents the rise of China, he also uncovers the problems beneath its sinews. Peh visits the bustling factories of Guangdong wrestling labour woes; strays into the line of fire during the bloody ethnic riots in Urumqi; journeys to the forgotten museum of the Cultural Revolution on a remote mountain top. When the Party Ends chronicles vivid accounts of questionable processes against the voiceless and the powerless. Peh gives voice to their battles with the Chinese Communist Party and errant companies over rights and resources. He shakes off officials so as to meet an environmentalist who was tortured for wanting to save a river from pollution. He speaks to a man who was jailed simply for posting an intemperate tweet. He interviews an ageing former Red Guard undertaker who still cries when he recalls the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution.

These and other vignettes are counterposed against Peh’s riveting narrative of the“palace intrigues” of the powerful communist leaders in the lead-up to the epochal leadership change in late 2012. It culminates in the dramatic downfall of princeling Bo Xilai – the latest in China’s complex political machinations. When the Party Ends is an absorbing and remarkable work of journalism, offering a fascinating insight into a changing China, one where the status quo is being reinvented with each passing day.

Our price: US$22.00
Winning Against The Odds

Winning Against The Odds covers the critical years 1961–1965, when battle raged between NTUC and the pro-communist unionists for the hearts and minds of Singapore workers. This period was a turning point in the broader struggle against militant forces out to destroy Singapore’s way of life. NTUC’s foundations were laid then, a fact not well known to many people, not even to members of today’s labour movement. In Winning Against The Odds, S R Nathan relives that period, telling in his typically direct fashion, what he remembers about the events that took place then, to give a sense of the harsh realities that he and his colleagues were confronting. In simple language he also relates the conflicts he had with union leaders, civil servants and the man he deeply admires, C.V. Devan Nair. 

Our price: US$21.50
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Writing Your Autobiography

Everyone has one book that they are qualified to write – their own life story. But not everyone knows how to go about doing it. Now, with this little book, which will have them chuckling as they read it, they can get expert advice and finally get started.

Writing Your Autobiography is a blueprint for the would-be autobiographer. It takes you step by step through all the issues, from literary styles to practical matters such as how to get published.

Our price: US$9.50
Zheng He and The Treasure Fleet

Seven grand armadas. Thousands of ships. Legions of men. Exotic cornucopia. Historical, religious and cultural relics. Beauties of China and concubines for foreign potentates.

This was scale and magnitude of Ming dynasty Admiral Zheng He's Treasure Fleet's expeditions from the Middle Kingdom to the Arab, Occidental and Oriental worlds of antiquity.

This truly Renaissance explorer championed new cartography, new shipbuilding technology; founded colonies and outposts; left flora, fauna, religious, historical and cultural artifacts; and transformed the face of Asia and the world.

From China to Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, the Treasure Fleet explored and documented an ancient world. Their exploits are only recently being discovered and researched by present-day historians, the generating worldwide interest and controversy.

Retrace the admiral's voyages and revisit his ports of call. Experience their moments of history and culture, and discover their present-day legacy.

  • Full colour illustrations
  • Old maps, old prints
  • Archival and contemporary pictures documenting the then and now.

Our price: US$19.90