Two books on Chinese in S'pore to be launched

Former journalist and diplomat Pang Cheng Lian gathered the 21 writers for the book in English, titled 50 Years Of The Chinese Community In Singapore.
Former journalist and diplomat Pang Cheng Lian gathered the 21 writers for the book in English, titled 50 Years Of The Chinese Community In Singapore.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

They cover the community's historical role, organisations, language, culture and the arts

Two books on the Chinese community in Singapore, aimed at informing people about its historical role, organisations, language, culture and the arts, will be launched next week.

One is in Chinese and the other, in English.

The Chinese book gives a comprehensive account of the Chinese who have settled here since the 13th century. Titled A General History Of The Chinese In Singapore, the 823-page tome will be launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong next Monday, at the 30th anniversary dinner of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations at Resorts World Sentosa.

The federation published the book as a gift for Singapore's golden jubilee. The book of essays by 37 local and overseas writers was edited by Singapore history researcher Kua Bak Lim, 67.

The book in English, titled 50 Years Of The Chinese Community In Singapore, will be launched next Thursday by former Cabinet minister Ong Pang Boon, who is among Singapore's pioneer generation of leaders. It will be held at Ee Hoe Hean Club in Bukit Pasoh.

Former journalist and diplomat Pang Cheng Lian, 72, who gathered the 21 writers for the book a year ago, said: "Many of my English-educated friends are considerably ignorant of the Chinese-speaking Singaporeans."

Added Ms Pang, who was a long-time special assistant to United Overseas Bank's chairman Wee Cho Yaw until she retired two years ago: "What is perhaps even less well-known are the contributions of the Chinese community leaders, the institutions they built and their role in nation-building."

The book's 16 chapters include the evolution of the Chinese language, Chinese religious traditions here and Chinese Singaporeans' interactions with Chinese communities in the region. World Scientific published the book as part of its 50 Years of Nation-Building series.

The book in Chinese was put together over three years by Mr Kua, who edited the nearly 50 essays.

The topics include the history of the early Chinese migrants here, the community and business groups they formed and their impact on society as well as Singapore's education, economy and politics.

The first print run of A General History Of The Chinese In Singapore has all been taken up. The second run will be out early next year. To pre-order, call 6354-4095.

50 Years Of The Chinese Community In Singapore will be sold in major bookstores at $72.76 (hardcover) and $34.25 (paperback) after its launch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Two books on Chinese in S'pore to be launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe