Singapore Shelf

POETRY

UNFREE VERSE

Edited by Tse Hao Guang, Joshua Ip and Theophilus Kwek

Ethos Books/Paperback/352 pages/ $25/Books Kinokuniya, MPH, selected Times bookstores and www.ethosbooks.com.sg

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This anthology charts the history of English formal poetry - poetry written within the restraints of form - in Singapore. It features poems spanning 80 years, from extracts of Francis P. Ng's 1937 epic F.M.S.R. to Alfian Sa'at's Pantun As Haiku from two years ago, passing along the way through sonnets, stanzas and sestinas, in what is likely to become a valuable reference for students of local literature.


FICTION

LIEUTENANT KUROSAWA'S ERRAND BOY

By Warran Kalasegaran

Epigram Books/Paperback/ 384 pages/$26.64/Major bookstores and shop.epigrambooks.sg

During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II, a young Tamil boy is separated from his father, given a Japanese name and forced to work for the kempetai, the Japanese secret police. This historical debut, longlisted for last year's Epigram Books Fiction Prize, questions how reconciliation can be possible amid the ruthlessness of war.


NON-FICTION

LIBERALISM DISAVOWED

By Chua Beng Huat

NUS Press/Paperback/240 pages/ $34.24/Books Kinokuniya, Times, Popular, Newslink and NUS Press bookshop

In this book on political economy, sociologist Chua Beng Huat examines the rejection of Western-style liberalism in Singapore and how the ruling party has forged a communitarian ideology, looking at the areas of public housing, multiracialism and state capitalism.

US-SINGAPORE RELATIONS, 1965-1975

By Daniel Chua Wei Boon

NUS Press/Paperback/304 pages/ $40.66/ Books Kinokuniya, Times, Popular, Newslink and NUS Press bookshop

Chua, who is assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, traces the relationship between the United States and Singapore in this academic treatise, arguing that Singapore's post-independence success might not have been achieved so rapidly without the involvement of the US.

HOW TO FORGE A FROGMAN

By Max West

Marshall Cavendish/Paperback/ 208 pages/$24.98/Major bookstores and www.marshallcavendish.com

Half-American and having never attended a local school, the Singapore-born West was the odd one out when he was posted to the elite Naval Diving Unit during his mandatory national service. In this first-hand narrative, he recounts what it takes to become a "frogman".

MEE SIAM MAI HUM

Edited by Edmund Wee, illustrated by Jacqueline Goh

Epigram Books/Hardcover/96 pages/ $15.94/Books Kinokuniya, localbooks.sg and shop.epigrambooks.sg

Have you ever needed a run-down of the funniest things Singapore politicians have said over the years? Epigram has put one together for you, along with comic illustrations.

Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore Shelf'. Print Edition | Subscribe