Saturday, April 18, 2009

Diplomacy of a Tiny State by Lee Khoon Choy

The Author is the first elected politician since Singapore's independence to be sent overseas as an ambassador halfway through his elected term. In his book he narrates his experience as the ambassador of Egypt, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.

Lee Khoon Choy is frank in the sharing of his experience. It was not an easy task for a diplomat of a young country. It was not as glamorous a job as what Ministry of Foreign Affairs is right now.

This book is a good read for anyone who wants to understand how it's like to be an ambassador and the many little details that could affect diplomatic ties positively or negatively.

Overall Rating: 10/10

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Beyond the Age of Innocence by Kishore Mahbubani

Beyond the Age of Innocence is a book that explains how America benefits the World and has harmed it concurrently. The Author, Kishore Mahbubani, is a Singapore's former Ambassador to United Nations.

By exploring into the topics of America and Islam, America and China, the nature of American Power and Managing American Power, Kishore Mahbubani writes about the unintended consequences of American policy actions.

He then wraps up by suggesting the direction for the way ahead.

The book is simple to read and good for Political Science dummies.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Monday, April 6, 2009

March 8 The Day Malaysia Woke Up

Kee Thuan Chye is a noted dramatist, poet and journalist. His high level of enthusiasm in the March 8 event is evident in his compilation of writings and interviews in this book.
So what happened on March 8?
For the first time since 1969, the rakyat (citizens) denied the ruling coalition (Barisan Nasional) the two-third majority in Parliament. With the absence of a two-third majority, the ruling coalition would not be able to amend the Constitution at will.
March 8 The Day Malaysia Woke Up is highly biased against the Barisan Nasional. With articles contributed from Malaysians, most of them were filled with emotions. Some even had expletives.
Even the interview questions were posed in a way to put BN at a negative light.
This could be a good reading material for people who share the same grievances towards BN. Otherwise, time could be better spent understanding Malaysian politics from other books.

Overall Rating: 3/10

Across the Causeway: A Multi-dimensional Study of Malaysia-Singapore Relations

Across the Causeway is a compilation of essays by Singaporean and Malaysian academia, edited by a Japanese, Takashi Shiraishi.

This is an ideal book for anyone who wants to learn more about the history between Singapore and Malaysia and how history had played a dominant role in present bilateral relations between both states.

Not to fret if you do not have prior political knowledge as the book starts with the history of both states, focusing mainly on the merger and separation. It then proceeds on to essays pertaining to more current bilateral boons and banes.

It is a good read, and I personally can't put it down once I read it.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Make it Right for Singapore by Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam

Make it Right for Singapore is a compilation of Parliament speeches made by Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam (or more affectionately called JBJ) when he was a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament. JBJ was the first opposition leader to break the dominant one party system when he won the Anson by-election against a PAP candidate.

He was disqualified from being an MP when he insulted the judiciary and was charged in court. In the 1997 General Elections, he was the best loser in the Cheng San GRC ward and thus was appointed as NCMP.

After reading this book, I feel that he had made many repetitive speeches regarding political freedom in Singapore. The speeches were very rhetorical in nature and lacked focus on the bread-and-butter issues concerning most Singaporeans.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mao Zedong by Delia Davin

There has been many books written about the great revolutionary figure, Mao Zedong. This book focuses on the family aspect of Mao Zedong.

With about 150 pages, it is impossible for the book to completely cover the nitty-gritty details of Mao's life. Hence this book makes a good starter for people to understand this revolutionary leader and take a look a little in depth into his marriages and love life.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Singapore's Authoritarian Capitalism - Asian Values, Free Market Illusions and Political Dependency by Christopher Lingle

Author Christopher Lingle was previously a lecturer in National University of Singapore. After he wrote an article, in which alleging that the judiciary of Singapore is not independent, he was interviewed by the police. He later fled Singapore in fear that he would be heavily penalised by the government.

In Singapore's Authoritarian Capitalism - Asian Values, Free Market Illusions and Political Dependency, Christopher Lingle sought to expose the fallacy of Asian Values and how the region is vulnerable in the near future.

The book is severely biased against Singapore's government and the reader would easily detect how the author routinely attempts to defend himself by condemning Asia Pacific states.

Overall Rating: 4/10