SINGAPORE - What makes Singapore special? Singlish? A love for acronyms? High ministerial salaries?
The answer, according to a new book by The Straits Times, is all of the above, and more.
Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times editor, said: "We wanted to do a book to celebrate Singapore's 50th anniversary, as well as the 170th anniversary of The Straits Times. So I picked one of my best writers, Susan Long, and gave her this challenge."
"She came up with the idea of doing a love note to Singapore. It tells you the story of Singapore's joys and pains. Its highs and its lows. So it is like an insider talking to a friend," Mr Fernandez explained.
Ms Long roped in 22 of the paper's beat reporters to come up with 50 essays on all things Singaporean. The topics in the 248-page book are not new, but the essays invite readers to look at Singapore from a fresh, and often quirky perspective.
For example, why the insistance to use initialism?
"I mean, all my colleagues say WP, instead of Workers' Party, when it does not actually save any time in terms of syllables," said The Straits Times journalist Janice Heng.
And why do people here like running so much?
Senior writer Rohit Brijnath said: "This being a very hot country, and not necessarily, to be fair, an athletic country. Then I looked around and I suddenly see more and more and more runners. And I go to shops and you can buy any type of shoes and any type of running gear.
"I thought, this is a nice subject to write about because it appeals to all people of all ages, all sexes, anything. Anybody can run."
And to better illustrate each point, the team came up with the idea of using everyday subjects to anchor each topic, some of which came from Ms Long's own home.
Ms Susan Long, editor of "50 Things to Love About Singapore", said: "My running shoes are in the book, and you can see a lot of my kids' toys from the toy cabinet, like windmills and tool belts.
"My kids actually said hey mum, what is all my stuff doing in your book?"
"50 Things to Love About Singapore" is available for $25 at all leading bookstores.
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