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Lee Kuan Yew on America

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, is celebrating his 90th birthday today. I like to read his books and speeches because he can be so perceptive. In his latest book, One Man’s View of the World, he rightly praises America for its resilience and dynamism.

Anthony Burgess on Malaysia

Malaysia celebrated its 52nd independence anniversary recently. So how much has it changed since Anthony Burgess wrote about it in The Malayan Trilogy? The book is based on his experiences as an education officer in Malaysia in the 1950s. In his introduction to The Malayan Trilogy, he writes: “The Malays […]

The Ascent of Money and Chiamerica

The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson The next time anyone blames Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve for the global economic downturn, throw the book at him. Not just any book but Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money. This excellent, immensely readable history of banking and finance published […]

Jhumpa Lahiri and Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri writes about Indian Americans. But this is really literature of globalisation and the immigrant experience — at the opposite end of Monica Ali's Brick Lane and Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss. Lahiri writes about highly qualified, professionally successful immigrants. But there is the aching loneliness of the […]

Shakespeare and his women

It’s a pity Shakespeare (1564-1616) is no longer compulsory reading in Singapore schools. So many girls here have the perfect figure to play the boy-girl roles of Shakespeare’s comedies. No offence meant. It’s just that Shakespeare is taken so seriously it throws people off. Lighten up, please, Shakespeare wrote for […]