More SG50 books in the works

More than 200 scholars, politicians and experts are coming together to pen chapters for a series of books to showcase the Singapore story.

The series of at least 20 books will be published throughout next year to mark Singapore's 50 years of nation-building.

"These books are a permanent record of Singapore's achievements in different areas," Dr K.K. Phua, chairman of the series' publisher World Scientific, said yesterday.

Each volume will focus on one area, from Singapore's urban planning and international relations to social issues and transport, added Dr Phua.

There will also be three books written in Chinese on the Chinese community and Singapore-China relations. The book on the Chinese community will have a chapter penned by The Straits Times' senior writer Leong Weng Kam.

The authors include major figures who have played a role in Singapore's nation-building, such as Ambassador-At-Large Tommy Koh, former chief of the Housing Board Liu Thai Ker and former chief defence scientist Lui Pao Chuen.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also the minister coordinating economic and social policy, will write a foreword for a volume on social issues such as population and inclusiveness.

The volume's editor, Singapore Management University psychology professor David Chan, said: "Why did the editors, in spite of being busy, agree in a short time to do this? Because it documents our accomplishments since independence. If you do not know what was done in the past, it's very hard to plan for the future."

The idea for the series came nine months ago, when former foreign minister George Yeo suggested to Dr Phua that the publishing company do something to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday.

The books will be distributed globally, including to the British Library in London and America's Library of Congress, said Ms Doreen Liu, World Scientific's group managing director.

"We're telling the whole world what Singapore has achieved in the last 50 years," she said.

Each book will be between 250 and 500 pages and about 1,000 to 2,000 copies will be printed. They will be sold in all major bookstores as well as in digital format.

The series comes amid a backdrop of several moves to mark Singapore's golden jubilee, including a mega concert and a 8km heritage trail.

This article was first published on Nov 14, 2014.
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