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GE 2020: Books we’d vote for
1. The Singapore Story: Memoirs Of Lee Kuan Yew
By Lee Kuan Yew
It’s hard to fully understand the story of modern Singapore without reading the memoirs of its first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. This book, well as its sequel, From Third World To First, chronicles the country’s birth and development, from its early battles against colonialists, to its transformation into a modern metropolis. Reading both helps one understand how his personal experiences undergirded his brand of leadership, and how his intellect and foresight – together with a team of very capable ministers – helped lay the foundations for the country’s success.
2. Insights on Singapore Politics & Governance from Leading Thinkers
By The Institute of Policy Studies
Published in 2019, it offers a wide range of up-to-date views from 20 important political thinkers. They include politicians from the ruling and opposition parties, academics, journalists and business leaders. There’s PAP’s Heng Swee Keat suggesting a roadmap of Singapore’s future, while WP’s Sylvia Lim asserts the importance of political contest in safeguarding the people’s interests. There’s Cherian George on the evolution of public discourse, while Ong Ye Kung and Ho Kwon Ping weigh in on the idea of a multi-party system. The arguments are concise and compelling.
3. Liberalism Disavowed: Communitarianism & State Capitalism in Singapore
By Chua Beng Huat
Sociologist Chua Beng Huat has long posited the idea of communitarian ideology as the backbone of Singapore’s steady development. Challenging the popular political notion that a burgeoning middle-class would necessarily lead to demands for more liberalism, the Singapore government, he argues, has managed to quell those inclinations through highly-successful national policies such as public housing, multiracialism and state capitalism. Chua doesn’t take everything at face value – he parses the limits and possibilities of communitarianism, and suggests solutions.
4. The First Wave: JBJ, Chiam & The Opposition in Singapore
By Loke Hoe Yeong
Loke Hoe Yeong is one of the few chroniclers of opposition history in Singapore. His first book was 2014’s Let The People Have Him, a biography of Chiam See Tong in his early years before he became the MP for Potong Pasir (1984 - 2011). Loke’s latest book The First Wave looks at opposition history from the 1980s to the 2000s, from JB Jeyaretnam’s watershed victory in Anson in 1981, to the missteps of various parties in the 1990s, followed by attempts in the 2000s to rectify those errors and regain influence.
Is the People’s Action Party Here To Stay?
By Bilveer Singh
Clickbait title aside, this is also a good primer on Singapore politics, as it examines how the PAP has stayed in power for over five decades, and the unique political culture that has arisen from that. Bilveer Singh is a longtime lecturer on local politics at the National University of Singapore, and has an impressive array of statistics to back up his arguments. The book asks if the ruling party could falter through various factors and what would happen to Singapore then.