at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Diversity in Singapore


Our Lives to Live: Putting a Woman’s Face to Change in Singapore
Kanwaljit Soin and Margaret Thomas

Our Lives to Live: Putting a Woman’s Face to Change in Singapore explores and documents how women’s roles, choices, and voices in Singapore have changed in the last 50 years; how women, from all sectors of society, have helped to shape the Singapore we know today. The 31 chapters, some with a more academic slant, others with a distinctly personal tone, reflect the rich diversity and depth of women’s contributions to Singapore’s evolution in the last half century, and also point to the problematical areas that still need attention.

The perspectives in this book are provided by three generations of women, and they put a human face — the woman’s face — to the tremendous changes in Singapore society over the past 50 years. The authors include some of Singapore’s most accomplished women in many different fields — Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, political scientist and diplomat Chan Heng Chee, global women’s activist Noeleen Heyzer, sociologist and politician Aline Wong, food ambassador Violet Oon, sports legend Pat Chan, law lecturer and playwright Eleanor Wong, and novelist Meira Chand.

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Majulah!: 50 Years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore
Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Dr Norshahril Saat

The Malay/Muslim community, comprising approximately 13% of Singapore’s population, is an integral part of modern Singapore’s formative years. The community has come a long way and accomplished plenty. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong lauded the community’s growth and its efforts in nation-building in the 2015 National Day Rally,

“The Malay/Muslim community is an integral part of Singapore … and they have contributed significantly to our nation’s harmony and progress.”

50 Years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore highlights the progress, the contributions and the challenges of the community for the past 50 years since Singapore’s independence in 1965. While progress is significant, challenges remain an uphill battle towards a comprehensive community development. As the book narrates stories from the past — the successes and the challenges — it is also important for the community to reflect and to look ahead — Majulah!

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50 Years of Indian Community in Singapore
Gopinath Pillai and K Kesavapany

From Tamils to Malayalees, from Bengalis to Punjabis, the diverse Indian community in Singapore has played a large part in building the country. To understand the Indian community, one must know certain basic facts about them. First is their love for culture which transcends religious and linguistic differences. Some of the best classical Hindustani singers are Muslims. The best Malayalam singer of Hindu religious songs is a Christian.Second is their love of debates. Argument is part of Indian tradition because of the belief that truth can only be arrived at vigorous debate. The third characteristic is the community’s respect for education. Indians, across castes and religions have always venerated knowledge and learning as being a value in itself. The fourth characteristic of the Indians is their devoutness: they take their religious duties seriously and perform them regularly.

This celebratory volume highlights the progress, contributions and challenges of the community for the past 50 years since Singapore’s independence in 1965.

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Managing Diversity in Singapore: Policies and Prospects
Mathew Mathews and Wai Fong Chiang

Singapore society is increasingly becoming diverse. During the first few decades of nation building, policies were designed to homogenise aspects of Singaporean society while enshrining principles to allow restricted amounts of diversity. Fast forward to the present, and fifty years after independence, the number of areas where diversity is profoundly apparent remains copious, and its manifestations more varied.

This book provides an updated account on the tensions posed by diversity in Singapore and how this is being managed, primarily by the state through policies and programmes but also by communities who attempt to negotiate these tensions. Such an enquiry is crucial especially at this juncture when the nation is finding ways to embrace the different forms of diversity brought about through external impetuses, as well as manage internal reactions from the various communities. The book chapters highlight important considerations if Singapore’s diversity management strategies will hold promise for the future.

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