By Phyllis Lee
Over the span of five years, a group of students from Singapore Management University (SMU) took it upon themselves to write and publish a trilogy of primers to inform the general public about Singapore’s political landscape.
Titled ‘A Guide to the Singapore Presidency’, their latest primer seeks to present an introduction to the Elected Presidency in an objective and easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive manner.
Editor of the book and president of SMU Apolitical, Ng WenQi, told The Independent:
“The presidential elections is a topic that a lot of people commented on, but a lot of people also don’t really understand it. Through this primer, we’re hoping to make it easy for people of all ages and background to understand it.”
The primer explains the election’s historical background, functions of the President and his or her advisors, his or her role in the Government, and the Presidential Election process. It also provides comparisons with other jurisdictions for a better understanding of the uniqueness of Singapore’s system.
“We were really careful in selecting the type of content that we wanted to present. We had to make it simple to understand, yet put in enough information so that people will gain value from reading it,” Ng explained.
The latest book was completed by a team of 11 undergraduates from the SMU School of Law, School of Social Sciences and Lee Kong Chian School of Business.
It was produced with advice from SMU Associate Professor of Law Eugene Tan, Dr Jack Lee, a former faculty member of the SMU School of Law, and SMU School of Law alumna Grace Morgan – who was also the editor for the previous books in the series.
The team started on the primer in April, and published it just after this year’s walkover was announced last month.
This book completes the trilogy of three primers, which is a project of student political association SMU Apolitical.
When asked about how he feels after completing the trilogy, Ng said:
“It was a very fruitful journey. As a club project, this is something different from what other clubs would do. Along the way, we’ve learnt a lot about the subject ourselves. At the end of the day, we just hope that everyone will gain value out of it.”
The series began in January 2014, when the club launched ‘The Singapore Constitution: A Brief Introduction’ with then Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob as the Guest-of-Honour.
The club then launched ‘A Guide to General Elections in Singapore’ in August 2015, ahead of the 2015 General Elections.
In 2016, the club produced a revised edition of their first book, titled ‘A Guide to the Singapore Constitution (2nd ed.)’.
Free electronic versions of the books in this series are available at SMU Libraries’ online resources.
The team also published 1,000 hard copies of the latest primer to distribute to junior colleges, tertiary institutions and public libraries.
Interested parties may write to email@example.com to request for complimentary hard copies of the book, subjected to availability. Priority will be given to educational institutions and community organisations.
For more information on the trilogy, click here.