These books will help you win almost any argument on Singapore

Because they will help you understand what makes Singapore tick.

Chan Cheow Pong | January 17, 2017, 06:39 PM

For all budding scholars, students taking the General Paper, and those who just wish to find out more about what makes Singapore, Singapore, the latest 15 titles in the 50-volume Singapore Chronicles series is a must-have and must-read.

Every volume in the Singapore Chronicles series takes an in-depth look at a particular aspect of Singapore. Included in the newest titles are a range of high-level topics, such as governance and civil society, to the seemingly frivolous, but nonetheless important, topic of food.

Launched in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s Independence, the Singapore Chronicles series has reached its mid-point of 25 titles with the latest release.

Here is an overview the latest books in the series:

1. Central Provident Fund by National University of Singapore (NUS )Associate Professor Dr Chia Ngee Choon

This volume tells the story of how the Central Provident Fund (CPF) has evolved since its inception in 1953 to meet Singaporeans’ housing, investment and retirement aspirations.

2. Civil Society by IPS Deputy Director (Research) and Head of Politics and Governance Cluster Dr Gillian Koh and Research Associate Debbie Soon

The history of civil society in Singapore is documented in this book. It explores the interaction and contestation between social movements and the government.

3. Demography by IPS Principal Research Fellow Dr Yap Mui Teng and Senior Research Fellow Mr Christopher Gee

Trends and developments in Singapore’s population from pre-Independence to the recent past are discussed in this volume. Included in the book are examinations of the periods of population control in the past and the need for population growth in the present.

4. Emergency by S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Associate Professor Dr Kumar Ramakrishna

The Communist Party of Malaya's (CPM) origins are traced in this book. It covers the party's beginning from the inter-war years to its subsequent development against the wider backdrop of the Cold War.

5. Energy by NUS Energy Studies Institute former Chief Economist Dr Tilak K Doshi and former analyst Lin Fangjun

The development of Singapore’s oil industry from 1870 to the present is discussed in this volume. Critical policy issues facing government planners in energy security, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are also covered.

6. Environment by National Parks Board (NParks) CEO Kenneth Er, NParks Deputy CEO Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Centre for Liveable Cities Executive Director Khoo Teng Chye and National Environment Agency (NEA) Principal consultant Joseph Hui Kim Sung

NParks and NEA's experiences and expertise are drawn upon to discuss the past, present and future of environment policies in Singapore in this book.

7. Food by food writer Sylvia Tan

Singapore’s reputation as a food paradise reflects its position at the intersection of four culinary cultures: Chinese, Malay, Indian and European. This book discusses these influences and traces changes in cooking practices and eating habits that have produced a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city.

8. Gateways by NUS Associate Professor Dr David Ho Kim Hin and Singapore Institute of Arbitrators Fellow Dr Ho Mun Wai

This book examines how Singapore, as a global maritime, aviation and logistics hub, needs to raise the bar to remain a strategic gateway to the region and the rest of the world.

9. Governance by Civil Service College Singapore (CSC) Senior Fellow Peter Ho and Lead Researcher Anuradha Shroff , Assistant Manager Codey Tan, Senior Manager Hazel See Lei Chia and Deputy Director and Principal Learning and Development Specialist Lena Leong, also from CSC

The key principles of Singapore’s governance is chronicled in this book. The authors also discuss how institutions, policies and strategies combined to play a critical role in Singapore’s transformation from a Third to First World nation.

10. Language by Professor Emeritus and Founding Dean, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University Eddie C.Y. Kuo and Singapore Management University adjunct faculty Dr Brenda Chan

This book reviews and discusses the changing patterns of language use within Singapore society, particularly how they have been influenced by and, in turn, shape the state’s language policies.

11. Opposition by South China Morning Post Chief News Editor Zuraidah Ibrahim and Former political correspondent, The Straits Times Andrea Ong

The history of Singapore’s opposition parties from the post-World War II period to the present is traced in this volume. It tells the story of these parties, which is one filled with personalities, setbacks and ideals. It also discusses the opposition movement’s challenges and prospects.

12. Social Services by NUS Lecturer Ho Chi Tim and NUS Professor Ann Wee

This book presents a historical overview on the topic of personal social services. It examines how the post-colonial Government had addressed many issues of social welfare in a systematic and sustainable fashion.

13. Theatre by NUS Senior Lecturer Dr Robin Loon; Drama Box Artistic Director Kok Heng Leun; Playwright and Theatre Director -- Zizi Azah Binte Abdul Majid and Vadivalagan Shanamuga

This book examines the beginning, evolution and current state of English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil theatre in Singapore. It also covers the issues of regulation, cultural-linguistic imperatives, and the use of theatre for reflection in Singapore.

14. Transport by Nanyang Technological University Senior Research Fellow Gopinath Menon

The development of Singapore’s land transport system since its modern founding in 1819 is covered in this book.

15. Water by PUB Chairman Tan Gee Paw

Singapore's water story is chronicled in this book. It tells the story of how Singapore was almost entirely dependent on the Malay peninsula to quench its daily thirst and how it has now become almost self-sufficient.

For readers who aspire to become otakus on Singapore, is giving out a set of the 15 new titles of the Singapore Chronicles series. In order to get this free set, you will need to write us a short story that uses all 15 words of the new titles in the Singapore Chronicles series. All entries must be sent to us via [email protected] before the closing date of January 24, 2017.

The books are also available for purchase at and in leading bookstores. Each book costs $16 (inclusive of GST).

Top photo by Henedick Chng

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