Susan Long (ed.)
Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2014
As Singapore marks 50 years of independence, The Straits Times (ST) has put together a book about love. This intimate study of the things we know and love about Singapore is written by some of ST's most authoritative beat reporters.
It is a dossier of modern Singapore halfway through her first century, an often surprising composite portrait of the little quirks, incongruities and rhythms of life in Singapore, which we chortle, ruminate and worry over, with familial affection but sometimes also exasperation.
It delves into the ironies of nanny state policies and political instincts that die hard among rulers and ruled alike, pricey cars and real estate, a land-scarce city which prizes greenery to the point of fashioning vertical gardens, Singapore's prowess at the most oddball sports and penchant for setting all manner of world records, her own brand of guided multi-racialism, her citizens' preference to complain rather than protest, the fast-growing global cult that is Singapore maths, and the skilful code-switching that makes it so natural for Singaporeans to eat across many cultural and culinary cost divides.
But enduring love is not blind. The writers do not flinch from looking at where Singapore is showing her age and what she has had to leave behind in the quest for her next edge.
There is much to love about Singapore at 50. But this has been no easy ask-no-questions, take-her-as-she-is love.