When I was notified about Barr’s new book, I jumped at the chance to read and review it.
This book will probably take you more than a couple of hours to read, if you’re reading it carefully. I like to keep in mind that it takes the author/scholar/historian far more than 10x that amount of time to research, write, and edit the book!
I posted a review of Michael Barr’s other book, The Ruling Elite of Singapore, back in March 2014. Holy Smokes, that’s a solid half decade ago.
Anyway, on to the review proper…
The opening line of this book is as follows:
“Singapore’s economic success masks some uncomfortable truths about life in this city-state.”
The dedication of Dare to Change is a memorable one:
“Dedicated to: all the political detainees who struggled for democracy and all Singaporeans who long for openness, humanness, and justice for our nation.”
An online blurb describes this book as “a penetrating analysis of the policies and predilections of [this] controversial leader.”
* Featured on TRS, SG Daily.
When I was growing up in Singapore, I remember coming across a couple of Straits Times articles which pretty much branded Dr. Chee Soon Juan as a troublemaker.
It was only after my mid-twenties that I first surfed into the SDP website, of which Dr. Chee is the Secretary General of.
Towards the end of Once a Jolly Hangman, Alan Shadrake shares some details about his arrest in Singapore. There is one paragraph where he says:
“Was I in danger of being arrested? I consulted well-known Singaporean Francis T. Seow, a former president of the Law Society. His advice: as long as it’s all correct, you have nothing to fear.”
* Also on The Online Citizen and The Real SG.
The contents of this well-researched book were so depraved and disturbing, that it took me several weeks to (1) finish reading the book in its entirety, and (2) gather my thoughts about it in order to write a cohesive review.