- About the Editors
This is the historical memoir of Dr Poh Soo Kai, a man of medicine and a founder member of the People’s Action Party.
Hong Lysa formerly with the History Department, National University of Singapore, continues with her research interests independently. She is co-author of The Scripting of National History: Singapore and its Pasts (2008). She is a founding member of the e-journal s/pores: new directions in Singapore studies (www.spores.com), now into its eighth year, and comments on minimyna.wordpress.com when matters relating to history are raised in the Singapore press. She co-edited The May 13 Generation: The Chinese Middle Schools Student Movement and Singapore Politics in the 1950s (2011), and The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore: Commemorating 50 Years (2013).
Wong Souk Yee holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She taught at the Hong Kong Baptist University from 2005 to 2008.
Since 2009, she has been a part-time lecturer at the National University of Singapore. Choosing to hold a part-time day job in order to participate more actively in civil society, she strives to be a productive member of the social enterprise, Function 8.
She is the author of Death of a Perm Sec, which was Shortlisted for Singapore Literature Prize 2018.
“This is a powerful, well-researched history of Singapore that will be invaluable to scholars and ordinary citizens alike. For those of us aspiring activists, hoping for a more democratic and just Singapore, the work is both inspiring and cautionary in the ‘post-knuckle duster’ era. Dr Poh describes the release of the ISA detainees as ‘accompanied by the endeavour to imprison us within a narrative in which we were villains who had been defeated’. Books like this are essential to the process of the freeing of the Singaporean mind that is only just beginning."
– Paul Ananth Tambyah, Professor of Medicine and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the 2015 General Election
“I think we do have a breakthrough here. This is probably the first time that an account of Singapore’s history in the 1950s and 1960s is pieced together outside of The Singapore Story logic. It will be something that the authorities, scholars and Singaporeans in general must reckon with.”
– Sai Siew Min, Singaporean historian
“Dr Poh Soo Kai shatters the history of Singapore espoused by Lee Kuan Yew and the People’s Action Party. Nine years younger than Lee, Dr Poh exposes the tactics of Lee as a master politician—how he made use of his friends and foes to achieve his goals and how they were discarded or punished when they switched allegiance or were no longer useful to him. Dr Poh’s refusal to let Lee have his way cost him his family and an illustrious career in medicine. He spent a total of 17 years in prison without trial. Singapore today is the result of what Lee Kuan Yew did to his political opponents in the 1960s and 70s. The publication of this memoir more than 50 years after Operation Coldstore is late but exceedingly important to Singaporeans who wish to understand why they are deprived of basic human rights which are taken for granted by people in other first-world countries. I admire and respect Dr Poh for his determination and courage in recalling a painful past.”
–Teo Soh Lung, Director, Function 8