Former Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong is among a group of well-known Singaporeans who have endorsed Workers’ Party (WP) member Yee Jenn Jong’s new book, Journey In Blue, which is scheduled for release next month.
The book looks at the WP through Mr Yee’s eyes and aims to provide readers with a better understanding of the nature of work opposition politicians in Singapore take on.
On Friday (4 Dec), Mr Yee said that fifteen individuals read and endorsed his book, including Mr Yeoh. The prominent economist had showered praise on Mr Yee and called his book “a gem of a political biography.”
Opining that the book is “delightfully well-written with a simple, modest, yet penetratingly pithy and hard-hitting candour,” Mr Yeoh said: “It tells the inside stories of Jenn Jong’s political career with the Workers’ Party over the last 10 years and three general elections.
“Both the author’s and the WP’s experiences are covered including key successes and failures, the historical euphoria of the first opposition victory deposing two PAP ministers in Aljunied GRC in 2011, the travails of AIM and AHPETC, dark days post-2015, the WP’s controversial yet distinctly successful leadership transition, and finally its hard-won electoral vindication in GE2020.”
Mr Yeoh said that Mr Yee’s humble yet incisive analysis, remarkable entrepreneurial ability, steadfast bipartisanship, and pragmatic objectivity shone through as he took readers through his political journey.
Explaining that the book will shed light on what makes the WP so prominent, Mr Yeoh said: “This gives the reader a clear-eyed, yet first-hand insight into the hardships and resolute behaviour under fire of the home-grown, deeply grassroots connected political leadership and values that have made, and will continue to make, the WP such a formidable opposition party.”
He added: “This volume is a finely detailed and hard-nosed account of the real political struggles undergone by Jenn Jong, WP veterans, and the promising volunteers-turned-politicians who in the end and in spite of all odds, rose to the occasion to create a more democratic polity.
“And in the course of their trial by fire, one can discern the motivation and mettle worthy of leading a future government of Singapore.”
Former ruling party parliamentarians Inderjit Singh and Teo Ser Luck also endorsed Mr Yee’s book. Prof Singh acknowledged the challenges opposition politicians face and commented that being critical of policies is not equivalent to being disloyal to Singapore, in his endorsement. He also called Mr Yee a politician Singaporeans should know about.
Mr Teo said that Mr Yee’s book provided a learning opportunity and highlighted the value of listening to different perspectives.
Others who endorsed the book include WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, former Permanent Secretary (Education and Community Development) Er Kwong Wah, and former Nominated MP Faizah Jamal.
Academic Kenneth Paul Tan also went through Mr Yee’s draft and wrote the foreword to the book. Read an excerpt from Prof Tan’s foreword here:
“…And that is one reason why I welcome Yee Jenn Jong’s book, which promises a peek into a party whose every move is calculated and calibrated. But it delivers more than just a peek.
“Jenn Jong’s account of what he saw and what he did over his decade-long involvement in the party, particularly the five years when he served as a non-constituency member of parliament (NCMP), opens the reader’s eyes not only to the backstage of political theatre, but also to the on-stage stories and myths that both attract public fascination for current affairs and politics, as well as degrade the ideals of democracy to crude notions of disloyalty to Singapore when considering the meaning of opposition and opposition-supporters. The book helpfully seeks to dispel many such myths that have arrested Singapore’s political development.
“Jenn Jong candidly shares some very revealing impressions he has had of many key figures in the WP leadership as well as his parliamentary and constituency colleagues. Along with rich descriptions of the mechanics and dynamics of opposition-party life, these impressions form a valuable collection of character sketches that may help explain the reasons and motivations behind what have sometimes seemed rather surprising, and at other times even frustrating, turns of events….”
Journey in Blue is currently being printed and is expected to hit bookstores in a few weeks. Mr Yee is accepting pre-launch orders with a discount on the sale price and free shipping. Pre-launch orders can be made through his website. /TISG
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