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Singapore Places its Bets (buy direct from Amazon.com)

Singapore Places its Bets sketches out some of the transformative bold changes that have occurred in Singapore society since the late 1990s. It focuses on Singapore’s ambitious efforts to re-orient its economy to take on the challenges thrown up by the competitive pressures of globalisation, and how in the process it has had to “remake” itself. The advent of casinos is a part of that remaking process. Once repeatedly rejected by a socially conservative government that has ruled the city-state since its independence in 1965, casinos, as part of two “integrated resorts”, will now become a fixture of the Singapore landscape. The likely economic benefits and social consequences of casino gambling in a densely populated city-state are examined at length. Singapore’s relatively liberal policy of allowing foreign nationals to live, study, work and take up permanent residency and citizenship will also be scrutinised largely in terms of its impact on social cohesion and national identity. Have the transformative economic and social changes that have occurred in a small country over such a short space of time, and at such breakneck speed, unwittingly morphed it from being a nation-state to being purely an economic entity? This book will provide a few answers to that and other questions.

WHEN THE PARTY ENDS China's leaps and stumbles after the Beijing Olympics (buy direct from Amazon)
Peh Shing Huei’s provocative book captures his harrowing, humbling and
sometimes hilarious experiences in China when he was China bureau chief for 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.
THE AUTHOR: Peh Shing Huei is a journalist for The Straits Times and the
newspaper’s deputy news editor. He was based in Beijing from 2008 to 2012, when
he served as the China bureau chief of the Singapore daily. He is also the co-author
of Struck By Lightning, a collection of essays on Singapore politics. The graduate
of Columbia University in New York and the National University of Singapore lives
in Singapore.