Articles: Books/Reviews

Freedom for Sale (2009)

24 March 2009

Why is it that so many people around the world appear willing to give up freedoms in return for either security or prosperity?

For the past 60 years it had been assumed that capitalism was intertwined with liberal democracy, that the two not just thrived together but needed each other to survive. But what happens when both are undermined? Governments around the world -- whether they fall into the authoritarian or the democratic camp -- have drawn up a new pact with their peoples.

Paths not Taken (2009)

24 March 2009

Singapore's era of pluralism between the 1950s and 1970s was a time of extraordinary cultural, intellectual and political dynamism. Students, labour unions, ambitious political contenders, and representatives of the various ethnic communities all stepped forward to offer alternate visions of Singapore's future from across the entire political spectrum. They generated a ferment of ideologies, priorities, perspectives and social visions such as mainstream 'official' Singapore politics had never known before and has not seen since.

Our Thoughts Are Free (2009)

03 March 2009

This compilation of poems and proses is edited by Tan Jing Quee, Teo Soh Lung and Koh Kay Yew. It contains writings of 7 ex-political detainees who were detained under the Internal Security Act which provides for detention without trial: James Puthucheary, Said Zahari, Ho Piao, Tan Jing Quee, Francis Khoo, Teo Soh Lung, and Wong Souk Yee. There are also short biographies of each of the ex-detainees.

From poverty to power (2008)

24 March 2008

From Poverty to Power is essential reading for anyone involved in change processes around the world. A new take on development for the 21st century,

Oxfam International's new book provides critical insights into the massive human and economic costs of inequality and poverty and proposes realistic solutions. The best way to tackle them is through a combination of active citizens and effective nation states.

Why active citizenship? Because people living in poverty must have a voice in deciding their own destiny, fighting for rights and justice in their own society, and holding states and the private sector to account. Why effective states? Because history shows that no country has prospered without a state structure than can actively manage the development process.

Constructing Singapore (2008)

24 March 2008

"Constructing Singapore" studies Singaporean nation-building by focusing on two processes: elite formation and elite selection. It gives primary attention to the role that ethno-racial ascription plays in these processes, but also considers the input of personal connections, personal power, class and gender. It is a study of the progress of Singapore's state-sponsored nation-building project to its current state whereby a Singaporean version of Chinese ethno-nationalism has overwhelmed the discourse on national and Singaporean identity. Based upon archival research and formal interviews, this study unpacks the culture of elite governance in Lee Hsien Loong's Singapore today.

The Spirit of Democracy (2008)

24 March 2008

In his new book, The Spirit of Democracy, Professor Larry Diamond surveys the world wide effort to promote democracy. A senior fellow at Stanford University, Professor Diamond is a reknowned observer of global democracy as well as the co-editor of the Journal of Democracy.

He was an advisor to US President George W Bush in Iraq which led him to author an earlier book Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq.