Singapore bicentennial: An island’s journey

10 books on Singapore

The Sunday Times picks works on the Republic's history that you can read to impress party guests

• Silverfish Books/207 pages/National Library call number English 959.51 SEJ

That story about Sang Nila Utama and the lion sighting that inspired the name Singapura? This is the source. While there has been some debate about historical accuracy, this is one of the most important texts about the origins of the Malacca Sultanate. The pages describing royal marriages are intended to establish the divine rights of rulers, but what makes it an engaging read are the fables. Some stories are familiar to Singaporeans, such as the tale of the swordfish attack. But it is the lesser known myths that will engage contemporary readers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline '10 books on S'pore '. Subscribe