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What has long seemed the province of science fiction is rapidly turning into reality. Intelligent robots, self-driving cars and automated homes are emerging into everyday life, bringing with them both excitement about the progress of humankind and uncertainty about its continued relevance and role in the future. This compilation of features, first published in The Straits Times – Singapore’s main English daily newspaper – between May and August 2016, explores the trends that are fundamentally reshaping Singapore‘s economy, political landscape and way of life. The first series, Fast forward: disruption and the Singapore economy, takes a deep dive into several major disruptive forces and their likely impact on jobs and growth in Singapore and the world. These span the gamut from technological advancements, including in fintech and digital identity management, to industrial breakthroughs in 3D printing and nanotechnology, and even social shifts, such as the political and economic consequences of an ageing population. The second series, The Straits Times Future Economy roundtable discussions, is the outcome of seven panel discussions that senior editors from the newspaper conducted with industry leaders, academics and government representatives about the future of banking, energy, healthcare, manpower, media, manufacturing, and Asia. Although each sector is grappling with its own dizzying pace of displacement and specific fears about structural transformations in jobs and capabilities, the overall tone is one of optimism. Panellists spoke about how Singapore’s advantages such as its skilled workforce, diverse economic base, global connectivity and hands-on policy-making can help it gain an edge in new industries such as the development of clean energy solutions and advanced manufacturing.
“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
In this entertaining and often touching memoir, well-known plastic surgeon Woffles Wu lifts the lid on his early childhood, his growing-up years in London and his life as a young doctor in Singapore. He also writes
about his role models in life, going on a remarkable “US tour” to talk about plastic surgery, what it is like being famous, and much, much more.
Filled with short standalone pieces covering the different stages of his life, each page of this book takes you deeper into his mind as well as into the past. One section is about his childhood memories of being in London in the mid-60s with his mother, who was there to continue her law studies, and he writes of moving from one cheap rented room to another.
There are tender tales of Woffles’ great-grandparents and his grandparents – from how they met and fell in love, to his great-grandma’s antique cupboard, which had been part of her wedding trousseau more than a
hundred years ago.
His pieces on being in Singapore as a teen and a young adult – with titles like “Cars in the sweltering 70s” and “Dick Lee gila time” – are a delightful ode to that exciting era, when Woffles and his friends hung out at Jackie’s Bowl and Hyatt Bowling Alley until well after 11pm, shopped at Peninsula Plaza, and danced at discos such as El Morocco at Imperial Hotel and Chinoiserie at Grand Hyatt.
There are intimate moments, too: Woffles recalls how his parents’ divorce when he was just a young child affected him, and what it was like being a junior doctor in the then-Toa Payoh Hospital in the 80s.
The book is divided into four sections:
• Life in 60s London and 70s Singapore (his childhood memories)
• My family (tales of his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents)
• Life in Plastic (being a doctor and a surgeon)
• Postscript (other standalone pieces, for example, on suffering the viral
illness Chikungunya in 2008, and finally buying his son a dog)
The book has a 20-page coloured photo insert, with many never-seenbefore photos of Woffles as a child, and of his family.
About the Author
Woffles Wu studied medicine in Singapore and specialised in plastic surgery while working at the former Toa Payoh Hospital in the 80s. A craniofacial surgeon by training, he moved to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in 1989, where he worked as a plastic surgeon for 12 years before setting up his own practice. In 1990, he won the Young Surgeon of the Year award for his research on nasal anatomy. He also gained international recognition for creating a patented non-surgical face-lift in 2002, known as the Woffles Lift.
In 1998, wracked by financial turmoil and political upheaval, Indonesia seemed like a country on the brink of collapse. Yet it has more than turned its fortunes around.
Resurgent Indonesia – From Crisis to Confidence is the gripping inside account of Indonesia’s steep decline after the Asian financial crisis and its improbable recovery and rise in the ensuing two decades.
Giving readers a unique insight into Indonesia’s journey is former journalist Vasuki Shastry, who covered the tumultuous fall of Suharto for The Business Times and continued to work on matters related to Indonesia at the International Monetary Fund. Blending first-rate journalism with in-depth research, the book charts the country’s difficult journey from a failing state to a confident young democracy and a fast-growing economy.
[Contents] Prelude to a Crisis 1.Introduction 2.The Gathering Storm Five Stages of a Crisis 3.Denial 4.Bargaining 5.Depression 6.Anger 7.Acceptance Rise from the Ashes 8.Chindonesia 9.The Asean Way 10.Jokowi Juggernaut 11.Archipelago of Possibility
[About the Author] Vasuki Shastry was a well-known business and economics journalist in India, Singapore, and Indonesia before joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1998. His last assignment as a journalist was in Jakarta, where he was bureau chief of The Business Times between 1996 and 1998, covering the Asian financial crisis and the fall of President Suharto. He worked extensively on Indonesia during his stint at the IMF, starting as Asia Pacific spokesperson and in other roles.
Trade unions hold a special place in Singapore’s history. Occupying different camps on the left and right, unionists’ past struggle for social justice saw the rise of leaders who could move the masses. A dispassionate look is taken at the ideas and impulses of those who defined today’s labour movement. Can unions continue to play a key role in the future as jobs are threatened by technological change and disruption? Some observers think Singapore might have an answer. This book examines the issues critically.
Mr Ignatius Low spent 17 years at The Straits Times, Singapore’s national broadsheet. Starting as finance correspondent at the paper’s Money desk, he eventually rose to become Money Editor, News Editor and Deputy Editor. Prior to joining the paper in 1999, he spent four years in Singapore’s Administrative Service, where he was posted to the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). During that time, he was involved in various aspects of the broad-ranging review of the financial sector conducted by the Financial Sector Review Group chaired
by then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In 2011, he co-authored Sustaining Stability, Serving Singapore – a comprehensive account of MAS, commissioned for its 40th anniversary. Having left journalism in 2016, he is currently head of the Singapore Press Holdings’ integrated media solutions team.
Singapore is in a state of disruption. Change is here – disorienting, disturbing, sometimes distressing change. Disruptive technologies are displacing jobs and dislodging workers. Society is showing signs of splintering. The gap between the “best” and the rest is growing. In establishment circles, members are breaking ranks. People are searching, probing, asking: what’s happening? Change is also unequal. While shaking up many quarters at an alarming rate, it is not happening fast enough in the areas that truly matter, observes Chua Mui Hoong, political columnist and Opinion editor of The Straits Times, in this volume of fresh essays and published articles. As a journalist who writes from both the head and the heart – and often from a heartlander’s perspective – she takes on issues such as joblessness and safety nets, meritocracy and elitism, marketplace upheavals and leadership transitions, and persuades us that in this new age of disruption, what Singapore needs is a new order. But how can Singapore reorder itself? What can it do better? How must it move, and how can all the motion be translated into real change and advancement? Singapore is at a crossroads. How it responds to this state of disruption will determine its place in the disrupted world. “Chua Mui Hoong writes with a brilliant mind, a warm heart and integrity. She is not afraid to praise or to criticise any one, any institution, including the Government. No reasonable person can question her objectivity and fairness. She loves Singapore and Singaporeans, especially our working class and heartlanders. In spite of her success, she has never forgotten her roots. Her gentle voice is a voice of conscience from our heartland.” – Foreword by Tommy Koh Ambassador-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Professor of Law, National University of Singapore
“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.”
…so 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 armoniously 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.
“When I read [Kalimullah’s] newly published collection of columns and recollections, many of those earnest discussions and arguments we had
over steaming cups of teh tarik in the 1990s came flooding back to me. There is his great pride in Malaysia’s ethnic diversity, his deep concern
about the divisive racist rhetoric of contested politics and the corrosive impact of patronage and corruption in high places.”
– Michael Vatikiotis,
former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review
About the Author | Kalimullah Hassan’s career in journalism has spanned close to 20 years, during which he worked for organisations
including Time, Reuters, Singapore Press Holdings and the New Straits Times Press, where he was editor-in-chief and deputy chairman. Currently, he is chairman of the ECM Libra Financial Group and the Board of Trustees of the ECM Libra Foundation, which has helped thousands of disadvantaged Malaysians achieve an education with interest-free loans and scholarships. He is also one of the original investors and founding board members of AirAsia X, Tune Hotels Group and Tune Money.