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The First Wave: JBJ, Chiam & the Opposition in Singapore

Publisher: Epigram Books
  • Description
  • Praise
  • About the Author
  • Shorlisted for the 2020 Singapore Book Awards (Best Non-Fiction)

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    Based on extensive interviews and archival material, The First Wave tells the story of the opposition in Singapore in its critical first thirty years in Parliament. 

    Democratisation has been described to occur in waves. The first wave of a democratic awakening in post-independence Singapore began with J. B. Jeyaretnam’s victory in the Anson by-election of 1981. That built up to the 1984 general election, the first of many to be called a “watershed”, in which Chiam See Tong was also elected in Potong Pasir. After their successes in 1991, the opposition began dreaming of forming the government.

    But their euphoria was short-lived. Serious fault lines in the leading Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) rose to the surface almost immediately after the opposition victories of 1991, and the party was wiped out of Parliament by 1997. The opposition spent the next decade experimenting with coalition arrangements, to work their way back to victory.

  • "Let The People Have Him offers an important, if not comprehensive, look into what motivates and forms the political mind of one of Singapore’s most recognisable political icons, but the personal approach of the book would make you believe that he is just an ordinary man."
    —Howard Lee, The Online Citizen

    "Let The People Have Him, a book by academic Loke Hoe Yeong that traces Chiam’s birth to his winning of the Potong Pasir seat in 1984, is a reminder that Chiam’s rise as a national opposition is no easy feat."
    —Martino Tan, Mothership.SG

    "A well-researched and well-articulated study that is a cut above many other writings about Singapore's opposition parties... This book adds to our greater understanding of Singapore's modern political history as a whole."
    —Professor Hussin Mutalib, PhD, author of Parties and Politics: A Study of Opposition Parties and the PAP in Singapore

  • London-based researcher and writer on politics and international affairs, Loke Hoe Yeong was formerly an associate fellow at the European Union Centre in Singapore, National University of Singapore. He is the author of Let the People Have Him: Chiam See Tong, The Early Years, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize for non-fiction.

ISBN: 9789814845427
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 432
Year Published: 2019
Size: 152mm x 225mm