Culture & People

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Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore's First LadyPuan Noor Aishah: Singapore's First Lady by Tan, Kevin Y L

Noor Aishah Mohammad Salim was all of 26 years old when she became Singapore's first First Lady in 1959 as the wife of Yusof Ishak, Singapore's Yang di-Pertuan Negara and later first President. Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore's First Lady tells the story of how this shy, quiet girl who grew up in Penang was catapulted into the public limelight and into the role of 'mother' to a new state and nascent nation. Filled with a wealth of archival and private photographs, many of which have never been published before, Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore's First Lady traces the lives of both Yusof Ishak and Noor Aishah: from their younger days before and after the Second World War, to their first meeting in 1949, their happily married life in Kuala Lumpur, and then Yusof Ishak's call to duty in 1959, when he became Singapore's Head of State - and Noor Aishah became the first First Lady.

Sundays With SumikoSundays With Sumiko by Tan, Sumiko

Sumiko Tan wrote her first personal column as a young reporter in 1994. Over the next 22 years, her fortnightly column in The Sunday Times gathered a faithful readership and made her a household name. This is a collection of her most representative columns over the past two decades, exploring family, love, friends, career, dogs, death, and marriage. The book follows Sumiko's journey from horizon-broadening travels and singlehood woes of the Nineties, to musings about romance and ageing in the Noughties, to an exciting reunion with a junior college friend that culminated in marriage. In the last section of the book, Now, Sumiko explores married life, negotiates her new role as a stepmum, and reaffirms the importance of everyday moments of happiness. Her columns also explore the lighter side of things: whether it is learning to swim as an adult, waxing nostalgic about Yaohan supermarket, finally getting Lasik eye surgery, or the woes of having different air-conditioning preferences from her husband.

Penniless Boy, Chew Joo Chiat, APenniless Boy, Chew Joo Chiat, A by Chew, Philip

A direct descendant of Chew Joo Chiat, Philip Chew was born in 1935 and is a pioneer of Singapore in his own way. A Penniless Boy, Chew Joo Chiat tells the story of a forgotten pioneer of Singapore. It shows how Philip's fact-finding exercise becomes a search for roots, unearthing lost relations and strengthening the family bonds of the Chew family. His example will inspire you with the desire to uncover, safeguard and pass on your own family stories.

Remembering S R Nathan: A Mentor For All SeasonsRemembering S R Nathan: A Mentor For All Seasons by Mushahid Ali; Kumar Ramakrishna

This is a collection of essays commemorating the life of Singapore's sixth President, the late Mr. S.R. Nathan. The book aims to give greater insights into the wide-ranging roles he had in his various contributions to Singapore. It reviews his leadership and influence, his distinguished civil service career, and his commitment to social service. The organisation of the sections in the book reflects the extensive footprints Mr. Nathan has left in many different sectors: foreign service; security and intelligence; community building and social welfare; labour and trade unions; media; and research and academia. This book also contains views on his remarkable career from foreign observers.

M Quotient, The - From Muar To Singapore: Extraordinary Stories Of Resilence, Drive And LoveM Quotient, The - From Muar To Singapore: Extraordinary Stories Of Resilence, Drive And Love by Low, Lilian

This book celebrates the lives of 13 prominent personalities who had migrated from the small town of Muar in the Malay peninsula to Singapore, where they were able to pursue their dreams and attain prominence. They include the late former President of Singapore S R Nathan, renowned architect Liu Thai Ker, historian Chiang Hai Ding and his dramatist brother, Michael Chiang, and leading psychiatrist Professor Kua Ee Heok. The author tells the fascinating stories of her fellow Muarians who shared the same unique Muar spirit, culture and values - the M Quotient - that were to serve them well in their later years as they went on to achieve noteworthy success in their chosen fields. This book extols their resilience and perseverance, which saw them through great odds in life.

What Was I Thinking?What Was I Thinking? by Singh, Gurmit

If Phua Chu Kang's yellow boots and permed hair are all you know about Gurmit Singh, you need this book. The actor, host, singer and now entrepreneur, shares not just his funny moments in life but also bares his personal moments in this book and proves that the funnyman image is just one of his many Real facets. Read about the first car he drove as a child, the neighbour with the EYE, the rat that almost ate his finger when he was a baby, how he dealt with the loss of his parents and many more stories. Caution: This is not a how-to book on being a better entertainer, but you will walk away with a better understanding of this man.

17A Keong Saik Road: A Personal Story17A Keong Saik Road: A Personal Story by Leung, Charmaine

17A Keong Saik Road recounts Charmaine Leung's growing-up years on Keong Saik Road in the 1970s when it was a prominent red-light precinct in Chinatown in Singapore. An interweaving of past and present narratives, 17A Keong Saik Road tells of her mother's journey as a young child put up for sale to becoming the madame of a brothel in Keong Saik. Unfolding her story as the daughter of a brothel operator and witnessing these changes to her family, Charmaine traces the transformation of the Keong Saik area from the 1930s to the present, and through writing, finds reconciliation. A beautiful dedication to the past, to memory, and to the people who have gone before us, 17A Keong Saik Road tells the rich stories of the Ma Je, the Pei Pa Zai, and the Dai Gu Liong-marginalised, forgotten women of the past, who despite their difficulties, persevered in working towards the hope of a better future.

Hospitales: Theatre Of Another KindHospitales: Theatre Of Another Kind by Tan, Gilbert Y.L.

Not many people can claim to live through an 11 month-long hospital stay. Gilbert Tan not only did that but also survived deadly infections, multiple surgeries and near-death moments to recount the tales as told in Hospitales. Dotted with cutting wit that is doused with hearty humour, Gilbert's medical stories will tickle a funny bone, draw a tear or two, or make you shake your head in disbelief. Ride this journey-with its ups and downs, twists and turns, and an ending yet to be written-from the view of a wheelchair user.

Inside The Middle Kingdom: Insights Into Modern China - A Collection Of Personal StoriesInside The Middle Kingdom: Insights Into Modern China - A Collection Of Personal Stories by Geldart, Jonathan

China remains an enigma to many. It is suspended in limbo between media reports and the filtered reality of friends and family visits. This enormous and complex country is either vilified for its shortcomings or praised for its vibrancy, culture and heritage. The truth lies somewhere in between. The stories in this fascinating book unearth the modern-day truths of China, in all its complexity, through the words of those who live there. It is a beguiling series of insights and nuggets of knowledge that will educate, inform and surprise you.

IndiaIndia by Naipaul, V.S.

V.S. Naipaul first visited India in 1962 at twenty-nine. His most recent visit was in 2015 at eighty-two. The intervening years and visits sparked by an inquisitiveness about a country he had never seen but had been a dream of his since childhood have resulted in three books: India: An Area of Darkness, A Wounded Civilization and A Million Mutinies Now. India is the collection of all three, introduced by fellow traveller and writer Paul Theroux.

Dear Ms Expat: Inspiring Tales From Women Who Built New Lives In A New LandDear Ms Expat: Inspiring Tales From Women Who Built New Lives In A New Land by Sushmita Mohapatra; Savitha Venugopal

Dear Ms Expat is a collection of 10 real-life stories from women who have made tropical Singapore their home. They each left their comfort zone in search of adventure, following a partner or in pursuit of a bright new career for themselves.

White Crocodile's Tears, The: My MemoirsWhite Crocodile's Tears, The: My Memoirs by Hughes, J.M.B.

These are the memoirs of J.M.B. Hughes, a celebrated teacher and headmaster who taught in the schools of Malaya from 1948 to 1963. Hughes (1917-2011) was born in Oxfordshire, the son of a vicar. He studied at Oxford University and served in the British and Indian Armies in South Africa, Pakistan, Kashmir, India and Burma during World War Two. After the war he accepted an overseas teaching post, and it was in Penang that he met his wife Jean Wright. As a teacher at the Penang Free School and the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in Perak, and then as headmaster at Ismail English School (subsequently Sultan Ismail College) in Kelantan and finally the Penang Free School, he educated a generation of young Malaysians destined to play leading roles in post-independence Malaysia.

My Little Nyonya DiaryMy Little Nyonya Diary by

Selamat datang or welcome to the ornately beautiful world of the Nyonya, a graceful, decorous hybrid of two very old traditions. This pictorial journal represents the author's loving expression of the Nyonya world from which she continuously derives much inspiration for her work. It is Koh Tze Yin's third publication, having completed the Penang Passion Cookbook which was released in year 2007 and Nostalgic Penang in year 2008.

Singapore: Country Of Many FacesSingapore: Country Of Many Faces by Lam, Jimmy

This book presents a rich, diverse, complex and vibrant portrait of Singapore and its people beyond the tourist sites and provides an intimate look into the various segments in society today. Lam captures the deep cultural roots of the native Malays and the early Chinese and Indian migrants even as the economic, physical and human landscape was transforming rapidly in this small country. Despite its small land area and short history are since independence, the book shows many faces of Singapore that will surprise and fascinate many. It is an important visual record of the country and its accomplishments over the years.

Life Is A MixtapeLife Is A Mixtape by Low, Ignatius

When Ignatius Low quit his civil service job and joined The Straits Times as a business reporter in 1999, never in his wildest dreams would he have thought that he would end up writing fortnightly personal columns in the Sunday newspaper on music, love, life and his many trivial obsessions. This is a collection of his best columns from over more than a decade, telling the story of a Singapore boy who grew up in the '80s. From pirated cassette compilations to second-hand vinyl records, shady Sim Lim Square shops to Zouk's dancefloor, Ignatius takes readers on a nostalgic tour of familiar memories. He muses about old friends and growing relationships, ponders Singapore society and the meaning of travel - and waxes lyrical about Bras Basah's bookstores, a history of Nokia phones, and the annual Club 21 sale.

Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming PoolsGreat Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools by Lau, Jocelyn; Lucien Low (Eds.)

Every child who is "physically fit" should learn to swim by the time he or she leaves primary school, said Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in the 1970s. Swimming, now practically a national pastime, appeals to young and old, amateurs and elite athletes alike. However, little has been documented about the genesis of our aquatic aspirations and reminiscences: the swimming pool. Evoking nostalgia, Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools pays tribute with delightful illustrations, lovely old photographs and cherished memories.

Parsis Of Singapore, The: History, Culture, CuisineParsis Of Singapore, The: History, Culture, Cuisine by Kanga, Suna; Subina Khaneja

When Suna first moved to Singapore, there were barely forty Parsis; today there are well-over 350 Parsis in the country. During her four decade-long stay in Singapore, she was often asked, "Who are the Parsis?" This sparked the idea for a book to highlight the distinctive culture and cuisine of a notable but diminishing Indian community that settled in Singapore in the 1800s. The Parsis of Singapore: Heritage, Culture, Cuisine documents the history and heritage of this unique community.

Sam: A Mother's Journey Of FaithSam: A Mother's Journey Of Faith by Lim Soo Hoon

Monday, 6 September 2004, turned out to be one of the most harrowing days for our family. So begins Lim Soo Hoon's journey as she discovers that her elder son, Sam, is suffering from Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Over the course of two years, amidst numerous trips to the hospital and the everyday details of Sam's treatment, Soo Hoon wrote a fiercely honest series of updates to family and friends, chronicling her struggles and deepest fears. This book is a story of unexpected blessings and small mercies, of how faith can sustain us when hope seems most unlikely, and is a testament to the redeeming power of personal belief and familial love. Sam: A Mother's Journey of Faith was first published in 2006 and reprinted twice in that year. This edition contains a 2017 preface by the author and an update on Sam, who is now a trained teacher in a secondary school, teaching English Literature and English. All royalties from the book go to the Singapore Cancer Society.

Making Sense Of Life @ / & Smu: A Partial Guide For The CluelessMaking Sense Of Life @ / & Smu: A Partial Guide For The Clueless by Pang Eng Fong (Ed.)

This extraordinary volume provides unexpectedly heart-warming and heart-breaking insights into the interior lives and thoughts of SMU business graduates. It is both a paean to and an indictment of Singapore's education system and its excessively powerful formative impact on individual lives, family relationships, and Singapore society as a whole. Their intensely personal reflections, unleavened by humour, lay bare the contradictory liberating and homogenising effects of an undergraduate business education (not peculiar to SMU or Singapore only), while refreshingly engaging the too-often-taboo topics of race, religion, sexual orientation and social class.

Europe In The RenaissanceEurope In The Renaissance by Aikema, Bernard; Peter Burke Et Al.

The Renaissance experienced some of the most important advances in human history. All the discoveries and creations would have been unimaginable without cultural exchange. The Renaissance was an era of dialogue and new horizons in thinking over great distances and time. Based on numerous examples - works of art, instruments and everyday objects - this substantial publication invites readers to trace the various paths of transference. Renowned authors take us to antiquity and the Orient, to Italy and through half of Europe.